Boosting your Google image search hits

Pearsonified recently wrote another great post addressing a topic I wanted to cover here on my blog, he beat me to it though.

The topic of discussion is “Google Image Search”. Last month I received my highest number of site visitors. After carefully studying my web stats I noticed I was getting a lot of site visitors through Google image searches. More specifically, the Google image searches were landing my new site visitors on this page, my Christmas wallpaper I designed in December 2005.

Google Image Search HitsDoing a Google Image Search for “Christmas Digital Art” you will see that my site comes up number 3. That my seem a rather random keyword search, and nothing to be proud of, but it’s obviously not as random as you might think, as take a look at the web stats I attached.

Even though the bounce rate was high, meaning people visited my site and left it within a few seconds, some of those people did stay and had a good look around.

What is the point I am trying to get to; the importance of labeling your images correctly.

Every standards-compliant, Google-sensitive image reference should contain 5 key items (source: Pearsonified):

  1. A src attribute specifying the URL of the image
  2. A width declaration in which the width of the image is specified in pixels
  3. A height declaration in which the height of the image is specified in pixels
  4. An alt attribute that describes the content of the image—this is the #1 element of image-oriented SEO
  5. A title attribute that contains text to be displayed when the user hovers his/her mouse over the image

I must mention, before any of you readers point it out, that I do not strictly comply to these guidelines set out by Chris, for example, I rarely specify a width and height attribute, and I usually only leave an alt tag. However, I always save my images with a suitable, descriptive name, for example, if I was posting a photo I took at a Robbie Williams concert, I would label the image “robbie_williams_at_milton_keynes_concert.jpg“.

More specifically my code, up till now, would read:
Correctly validated image tagging

After reading Chris’s article, and seeing my web stats, I think I may take even more consideration into tagging my images. So should you, it might be worth the extra effort.

4 thoughts on “Boosting your Google image search hits”

  1. Hey Mark, thanks for the post, a great insight. Whilst we are on the topic of SEO, I’d like to run a couple of questions by you specifically with regards to .co.za domains. Firstly, when it comes to Google is one worse off having a .co.za domain rather than a .com? More specifically, what I mean by that is, is one likely to score lower in the ranks on Google i.e. will Google give preference to .com .net .org etc. before country specific domain names? Secondly, where do you host, do you host with an SA provider or do you host offshore? I read somewhere that if you host offshore Google may not crawl your .co.za domain name and index the results under Google.co.za, would you know if there is any truth to that? This is a real mouthful, hope it makes sense!

    Cheers,

    Phil.

  2. Hey Philip,

    I think a .com address would be more suitable if you were targeting an international market for your site. Alternatively, if it is aimed more towards South Africans then I would say go with a .co.za.

    I have heard that debate about South African search engines searching only South African hosted sites too. To be honest I don’t get many hits from the South African search engines anyways, most come from Google or Yahoo, therefore I wouldn’t worry too much about that. The main thing to worry about is speed. Obviously hosting locally means Saffas will be able to access the site quicker than if it were in America.

    I do host locally, as my company resells hosting space. Giving our supplier’s name away wouldn’t be a smart move on my behalf 🙂 We are definitely not the cheapest around, but we do offer good support and efficient service. Our hosting packages are more for businesses who will pay for quality service.

    There are loads of other South African hosts to choose from, just search though helkom.co.za to see the best packages available.

    Alternatively, I have found MidPhase in America to be very affordable with loads of space! Access speeds seem to be pretty good.

  3. Hey Mark, thanks for the quick response. A dilemma I regularly have is that I want to target both International and SA markets, which always leave me wondering a .co.za or a .com? One thing I have considered is doing both and replicating the content. I’m not sure at this point, whether this would be a wasted effort and if it would actually be worth the headache of having to maintain two domains.

    At the moment I have a hosting agreement with bluehost.com which is ridiculously cheap for what you get, it almost seems crazy to host locally.

    I agree most hits would probably come from Google, however, I’m still not certain if your site was hosted offshore if Google would index your site under Google SA or lump it in with International domains. I mean if you search for some content that you know is specific to your website, do you find it if you search google.co.za or do you find it if you search google.com?

    Phil.

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