Search Engine OptimizationOne of the things people don’t really think about when doing SEO is the fact that there is a lot of growth potential when looking at image SEO. Google has an entire section dedicated to searching for images and this can bring traffic to your website or blog. But, because there is such a push for title tags, links and optimized content, people forget that they could be getting interested traffic just by having good, high quality images on the page.

The problem for many sites—bloggers in particular—is actually finding the image. There are the free methods in which you go to Wikipedia or Flickr (make sure the image is free to distribute) and get that image. Then there are the smarter ways where you use programs such as Jupiter Images and Photos.com. These pages provide stock photos for inexpensive. So, if you’re talking about SEO, you might find an image that shows an arrow projecting increased growth. You’re increasing your traffic with SEO, so the image works.

But, just having the image doesn’t help your SEO. There are a few things that you’ll want to do to ensure that you’re ranking properly for the images. First and foremost is the title of the image and the alt text. Imagine if someone came to your website and, for whatever reason, they didn’t allow images to be shown in their browser. The title and the alt text would tell them what the image was. Therefore, if your image is a cat lying on the floor, you might make your title: cat-on-floor.jpg. You then might make your alt-text: Brown cat lying on the floor, fast asleep.

Those two bits tell a search engine—which might not have the resources to actually inspect the image—what the image is all about by reading the text, which Google is very good at. Google became big because they indexed text. Their spider looks at the “text” of the image and that is what helps you to rank properly.

The next thing is the placement. From a user standpoint, make sure that the image is in a good place. This can vary from site to site, but a lot of sites I’ve seen employ images either put them at the top and then have the content underneath it or they left-align the image and have the copy go to the right and then below it. Both of the work, but they do offer an aesthetic standpoint.

Something to remember about SEO is the fact that user experience is a growing part of it. If someone comes to your web page, looks at it and then clicks back, Google looks at that and goes, “Hm, why did someone leave so fast?” If a lot of people are doing that, they might discount your page because so many people obviously aren’t interested. One way to influence that is to have an image. Images entice people to look at the page for a longer amount of time and that might be what it takes to get them reading.

The most important thing to remember about images, though, is that they, like anything else on the web, can be subject to copyright rules. If the image is owned by someone else, they can sue you for damages lost if you use their image. Because of that, I like to pay the five bucks for a stock photo to ensure that I am not going to get dinged in the future for using the image. And, as time goes along, you’ll generate more and more traffic from Google Image Search and because people will come back due to the great user experience.

Guest Post By: Jay is an Internet marketer who has done SEO for coupon sites, blogs, and other big websites. His current blog has the jupiter images promo code and the photos.com promo code. It’s important to get involved in image SEO because that’s a great way to maximize your traffic.