Have you noticed when you do a search on Google, or any of the other search engines, how often the first few results are a mix of images, Google maps and of course the usual text based links that we normally expect to see.
The images and Google maps are also a completely different set of results to the text based ads that they are listed with i.e. they are not duplicate results for the text links.
This brings up two key points:
- are you making use of the business listing facility that is a free service provided by Google – Google Maps Local Business
- are you properly naming and labeling any images you upload to your blog or website
Because if the answer to both these questions is no, then you are missing out on a great opportunity to get yourself on the first page of any search results listing.
Google Maps Local Business Listings
Getting yourself listed on Google Maps Local Business is really easy, especially if you are already registered with Google. Just go to Google Maps and click on Put your business on Google Maps You will need to register if you haven’t already and then you can add your business details and submit it for inclusion on the Google listing for local businesses.
Now I appreciate not every blog and website represents a business, but where it does and you are particularly interested in finding local traffic; then this is a very powerful tool. The areas to pay special attention to, from a keyword perspective, are the description of the business and secondly the categories you choose for your business; you can include keyword phrases in both these areas. You will have to use at least one predefined category for your listing, but after that you can add custom categories and it is these, if you have done your keyword research, that you can make your primary keywords or keyword phrases.
With respect to images, you have to remember that for the most part the search engine algorithms presently rely on text to discover content. So the way to ensure they can recognise what the graphic is illustrating is both in the naming of the file that gets uploaded to the site and the use of the ‘alt tag’ (used in the ‘html’ code); which for a blog is usually called the ‘alternative text’.
The ‘alt tag’ was originally created as a website feature used for communicating to people with disabilities, effectively a text based description of a graphic illustration that allowed a special browser to identify the contents of the graphic. For a normal browser it’s the text that pops up in a little yellow box when you hover over the graphic.
The rules for keyword stuffing are the same for images as they are for normal content so don’t overdo it, just use the keywords as appropriate and in a natural way that fits with the rest of the content of the page. It also helps to have a consistent naming convention for the files, a good idea is to separate the words of your keyword phrase with hyphens or underscores e.g. ‘google-images-advanced-search.jpg or google_images-advanced_search.jpg. Which ever you choose make sure you stick to it and be consistent.