I did not intend using Google Images to drive organic search traffic to my website, but one fine day when I was checking my analytics, I noticed that Google Images was in the top ten list of referrers of traffic to one of my websites, not once but thrice!
Several months have passed since then. Have a look at the top ten list of my traffic referrers to one of my niche websites:
Using Google Images is a big deal, and it is only growing in popularity. Results from using Google Images are often shown in search engine search results, especially when you search for proper nouns.
Here is an example on a search for Burj Al Arab (the only 7 star hotel of the world as of 2011 located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates:
Notice how the Google Images results are listed before the relevant websites? Google Images is essentially another search engine, except for images rather than websites. That said, web surfers who stumble upon images of your website that are listed in Google Images may end up on your website by clicking on the image or the accompanying URL.
How can you capitalize on the growing trend of using Google Images? By including at least one image on each web page of your niche website, or each blog post on your blog. Personally, I try to include at least one image per web page (more if possible) on my niche websites. When I do, I typically use the main keyword of the particular page the image is on as the keyword to optimize the image with.
Let’s have a look at an example. The main keyword I am targeting on this webpage is “Dubai 7 Star Hotel”. A related keyword that I am targeting to optimize the images on this page for Google Images is Burj Al Arab. This is how the back-end code of this webpage looks.
As you can see in the source code of this sample webpage, I have named the image file after the main target keyword on this webpage. I have also included the main keyword in the “Alt tag” of this image.
Whether you are using WordPress as your blogging platform, or any other HTML program for your niche website, all programs have a relatively self explanatory process of adding Alt tags to your images. Most programs usually prompt you to enter image description, or the Alt tag when adding images.
Since noticing the increase in traffic from image search engines like Google Images, I went back and included more images on some of my other niche content websites. The results are alarmingly evident. Using Google Images clearly works. Don’t lose the opportunity to take advantage of this easy to implement and increasingly effective SEO strategy.
Readers: Are you using Google Images to drive organic search traffic to your website or blog? What has your experience been like so far? Do you foresee mixing in an image strategy in your broader SEO efforts in the near future?
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That’s interesting – I haven’t really tried to get much traffic from images but it definitely looks like a viable source. I’d be interested to know the bounce rate on this type of traffic?
Haven’t dug deep enough to answer that, but it is a good question worth looking into. Perhaps a part 2 to this post?
For a niche site however that relies on Adsense revenues, a high bounce rate may not be so bad.
True, I guess for Adsense sites its just about traffic
This is a great way to drive search results. I have a photography blog that was not getting any hits from google images. They were all coming from google search queries. Then all hits stopped and all of a sudden, about a week later, image search results started popping like crazy. I now need to do what you’ve done for my other sites.
Welcome Brian. Yes, this particular approach works especially well for photo blogs that host unique and high quality work
I have just started blogging, but I remember reading somewhere that the image filename and the alt tags are important to the search engines when evaluating the page. I always enter a descriptive filename (though I use the CamelType and not dashes) and alt text related to my post.
I’m glad to see that you have good data showing that the images do help bring search traffic. Thanks for the details!
Welcome to the blog Karl.
The proof is always in the pudding. Most of my articles include data/screen shots. In the cyber world we live in today, it’s hard to sift through minutiae and find credible resources. This frustrates me particularly when I am looking for answers. How do I know who has legitimate information?
This is really good information…I will have to get my in-house graphics department cranking out some unique images so that I can work this angle a little bit better…Thanks for sharing… 🙂
You are welcome Shelley
really helpful, informative post………i never really thought of getting traffic from images,t it definitely seems a viable source.thanks for sharing
welcome to the blog Julie. let me know how image traffic works out for you
i think it depends on the site/niche like it can be good for product sites but a lot of google image traffic is scrapers. I’ve read some pretty savy SEO guys like Matt Carter even stopped labeled their images with the keywords because the google image traffic was just poor scaper traffic and just using up server resources. I had a site before that got a page ranked for an unrelated but similar term and the traffic went crazy for image traffic until i learned that it was people looking for a particular girl online. I ended up just deleting the imaged because the traffic was junk
welcome Brian. you make a good point about relevancy. this strategy may not work for all. in my case, some of my travel / holiday sites truly benefit from this because folks are looking for images to/in certain travel destinations
This sounds like pretty good strategy. I know in one of my other sites I made a pointed effort to self host all of my images and give them good keyword laden titles and this did help to bring some people to my site.
in your opinion, is image related traffic “scrap” traffic or meaningful traffic? have you ever analyzed / tracked this?
I love me some image traffic! Great post!
hi Lisa, do you have any data to share with us from your experience?
Hum, I haven’t considered using images to drive search engine traffic, although I do try to include a picture in all my blog entries. (I’ll just have to do a better job naming them to appeal to Google Image, I suppose.)
sure Roger – it’s specifically easier in WordPress as you can input a caption / Alt tags upon uploading the image
That is so true Sunil. As an author and business man, I can relate to how you said “I try to include at least one image per web page (more if possible) on my niche websites. When I do, I typically use the main keyword of the particular page the image is on as the keyword to optimize the image with”. I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!
welcome the blog Daniel. pretty cool book you got there. I appreciate your thoughts, and I too hope more people discover the blog and benefit from my experiences. you can help by sharing and spreading the word!
I just started a series on ebooks. perhaps you can share your thoughts along the way as I post more on the series. the link to the first post is below.
looking forward to interacting more with you here…
Do you upload the image to your site first? I typically use flickr creative commons and link to the image hosted on their site.
you lose the SEO benefit by linking to an external source. so yes, uploading the image file within your website/blog allows you to specify the image’s title, the caption, alt tags, etc.
I haven’t tried using google image to drive more traffic to my website. Maybe I could also try this, it seems like everybody else do this strategy. Thanks for the info
welcome to the blog Stuart. yes, why don’t you give it a shot and let me know how it goes for you? why leave traffic on the table?
Great strategies. Do these work for all kinds of blogs?
welcome Anita, and yes this works for all web properties. the internet works on keywords, and anytime you can leverage that it gives you an opportunity to be found. image search engines are also a viable source of traffic, especially in a highly “visible” niche like you are in.
Would you say this traffic has a lower click through rate that SE traffic that is looking to read content?
I think this is more suitable to tourism content as thisis the first thing people would search for: how beautiful is my destination 🙂
Google is smart enough to know when to display images and when not to based on the search query. the rate therefore may surprise you as the results served are quite targeted. would be interesting to study the visitor clickthrough on the ads on your site though…
For the longest I was getting visitors from google images and didn’t pick up on it. So many times people are interested in an image for a keyword they searched for and land on your site. You may end up with a loyal reader from a image. Make you you have alt and title tags for images related to the topic you are writing on.
welcome to the blog Thomas. did you change anything after you realized this? I assume you realized when you checked analytics?
Thanks for the welcome! yes I changes a lot and I first notice this from my cpanel before I even had GA set up. Once I know what was happening I was a lot more careful about what I would name images and where I got them from. The longer tail the image was the better traffic I got.
good point to note Thomas. image optimization is no different. longer tail always give you a better chance for more targeted traffic / exact match searches
good post. we always recommend maximizing image traffic as well. our clients have logos of their business, which we optimize with their products and services