Every digital marketer worth its salt should know by now that long-tail keywords, website SEO efforts, and exceptional and relevant content and blog posts are the bread and butter of an effective content marketing campaign. But what about digital images? “A picture is worth a thousand words,” after all, right? Unbeknownst to many, however, can be a leading source of organic traffic.
Many marketers overlook Google Image Search when seeking to implement leading website traffic generation best practices. By optimizing Google Image Search, the traffic gains can far outweigh the effort that’s been put in.
To put it simply, Image Search is a feature that allows Google users to search for various terms and find images related to that text. And while other search engines provide similar features, Google Images can also help drive website traffic with the images you use.
Statistically speaking, a whopping 27% of all web searches are conducted on Google Images. In addition, Gartner predicted that brands that will redesign their websites to support visual and voice search would increase their digital commerce revenue by as much as 30%. And given the fact that Google holds the overwhelming chunk of the search engine market share, we can begin to understand the potential of Google Image Search.
The Google Image Update
When it comes to innovation and creativity surrounding its services, Google consistently ranks at the top. In terms of Google Image Search, the company has introduced over the years things such as captions to thumbnail images in SERPs, searching within images you find, and related image search, among many other features. These updates share a common goal of helping Google’s users find visual inspiration, increase productivity, and learn new things.
A couple of years ago, Google launched an update that added an entirely new dimension and offered a wholly new way for websites to increase their search traffic with their photos. The latest image update was focused on making visual content more useful in search. This was done by adding more context to images that come up in image searches.
The update works by adding quick facts that give more information to what is being shown in photographs. The information presented about people, places, or things in photos will be acquired from Google’s Knowledge Graph database and displayed underneath photos when clicked.
Google is adding more context to photos in image search results, which presents your website with a new opportunity to attract traffic. Info about people, places, or things relevant to the picture is retrieved from Google’s Knowledge Graph and shown underneath images when they’re clicked on.
How Context Converts to Clicks
Search engine users who conduct image searches can also explore mode detail by visiting the page where the image is featured. With the introduction of the Knowledge Graph to images, businesses can now provide additional context and allow users to go more in-depth on their initial search intent query. This feature increases the traffic potential of each image by making it more likely that visitors will click on the photo and end up on the website.
While some have compared this feature to a meta description, the similarities are only at first glance. Instead of sourcing the information, additional images, and facts that appear underneath from the website itself, these are pulled from all around the web. The corresponding facts for each image originate from the Knowledge Graph database.
Having this feature does come with its drawbacks, however. For instance, it means that website owners have little to no control over what information shows up under their images in the image search results. But the bright side is that Google provides its users with extra information that could pique their curiosity and drive more clicks to the image source, which is your website.
An Additional Site Traffic Opportunity
While some are under the impression that this approach typically favors Wikipedia, this is not true. Google’s Knowledge Panel draws its sources from all over the web but favors those websites that are fully optimized by Google’s latest standards and have claimed a knowledge panel.
Google officially states that:
“Facts in the Knowledge Graph come from a variety of sources that compile factual information. In addition to public sources, we license data to provide information such as sports scores, stock prices, and weather forecasts.
We also receive factual information directly from content owners in various ways, including from those who suggest changes to knowledge panels they’ve claimed.”
An important thing for businesses to emphasize is that they need to claim their business’s knowledge panel if they have not already done so. This especially goes for local companies, since they stand to gain the most from this feature.
Supplementary Tips on Using Image Search to Improve Site Traffic
It’s best to implement several image optimization tactics if you wish to improve the odds of your images appearing as a search result to potential customers. Below are a few best practices to implement into your Search Engine Optimization strategy.
Creating Your Unique Images
While there is nothing inherently wrong with stock photos when writing, for instance, a blog post, it’s typically recommended to use your own unique visual content wherever possible.
It should go without saying that the images used need to be relevant to the topic at hand or have an illustrative purpose that ties into the subject. Be it in the form of a photo, chart, graph, or infographic; the next step is to optimize it for your target audience.
The Landing Page
While you can use the same image multiple times across your website, it’s best to create a standalone landing image for each such image. You should gather all info about that image on this landing page, including descriptive titles and captions. You can also include a comment and rating section on these pages.
Alt Tag Optimization
Also known as an alternative text, alt text, or alt attribute, an alt tag defines the content encapsulated in every image. If the image fails to load for whatever reason, visitors will still be able to see an image box, which includes the alt tag. This lets them know what that image would have been about. The image alt tag also helps increase traffic when used in combination with a target keyword.
The Relevant Keyword List
One of the first things is to do some keyword research and make sure that the target keyword is part of the image’s file name. This will let Google know what the image is about. Also, ensure that the images are associated with the keywords and add the keyword in both the image title and caption.
With the recent massive Google algorithm change, user experience has become more critical than ever. When it comes to visual content on a website, loading times are a significant factor to pay attention to. Photos have a tremendous influence on how fast a page will load. Big delays typically happen when a large image is uploaded on the website but it’s displayed as small size.
Submit the Image Sitemap to Google
Once everything is in order in terms of both website and image optimization, you can send Google a special XML sitemap that contains the location of all site images.
Image search traffic depends on multiple factors, but probably none of them outweigh the effect these images have on your website’s overall user experience. When it all boils down to it, if you want to take advantage of what your images can do for your marketing strategy, you should ensure that your website is fully optimized and running smoothly in accordance with Google’s UX specifications.
If you want to know the health of your website, take your free page audit and website quality report. This information will tell you precisely what needs to be addressed to improve your rankings and drive website traffic like never before!