Ever see images on Google or Bing and wonder how these search engines pick which to show?

Before I continue on the components that help images be found on Google (or other search engines), do not delude yourself with personal search results. Those results are skewed. I wrote a whole post on it here. Images only show when they might help the query.

seo lies

When it comes to getting your pictures to show up on search engines, there are three areas to focus on.

  • image filename
  • alt tag
  • supporting text

Image Filename

Remember that Google and other search engines are just computers. They cannot tell what a photo is about, so you have to sort of give them hints.

The very first thing is making filenames searchable. Whatever your target keyword is, insert it as part of the filename separated by dashes. For example, “valentine-card-template.jpg” might be one.

google image seo tutorial

Alt Tag

The next step is to add an alt tag. An alt tag is short for alternative tag.

Ever get an email that contains images? Gmail, for example, has a button that says show all images. Well, an alt tag shows up in its place before the photo is revealed. Its purpose is to tell you what the image is about and to define itself to search engines.

So whenever you upload a photo, insert alt tags.

photo alt tag

If you’re not using WordPress or another convenient CMS (content management system like Blogger), you can add the codes by hand.

<img alt=”insert target keyword here” src=”https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1250437/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/image-alt-tag.png&#8221; />

You can check a photo’s alt tag by hovering over the image. A little tag will pop up momentarily.

image alt tag

Supporting Text

Lastly, a photo does well with supporting text. You could do the above steps and be done with it, which is most convenient for photographers. However, if you want to rank well, you have to write.

Text before and after the photo is ideal. This is why the caption feature is very handy.

Other Considerations

Let’s recap. If you have a photo of syrah wine, these are the things you need to do:

  • Name the photo syrah-wine.jpg
  • Add an alt tag “syrah wine”
  • Surround the photo with text about syrah wine

syrah wine

Now, what happens if the tens of thousands of readers on my blog all apply this new knowledge that you just acquired? Well, then it becomes a battle of PageRank and a number of other factors all of which I elaborate extensively in my SEO e-book. Details below.

Don’t underestimate image search. People are becoming more visual-centric. Why do you think Pinterest is so popular?

Kind Words

In 2009, I hosted a nationwide workshop tour for SEO strategies. Since then, search engines have made many updates of which I included in an e-book; coupled with more advanced strategies. Here is a testimonial from my 2009 workshop.


Lawrence Chan

P.S. Last week, I wrote about SEO Basics. And Alicia Candelora left me some kind words šŸ™‚

seo testimonial alicia candelora

Other SEO articles:

Learn how I got into SEO. It starts with a story of how I shot cats and then weddings.
Oh the memories … šŸ™‚

Chapter 1: From Cats to Weddings
Chapter 2: Riding High On Referrals
Chapter 3: TheKnot Frenzy
Chapter 4: Searching For Myself

SEO Book – Found

SEO E-Book for Modern Photographers
Industry’s most advanced and comprehensive 126-pages of successfully proven strategies —

photographers seo book

[price-item item_number=”2″ category=”seo ebook”]