Image SEO used to be a highly effective strategy companies used to drive traffic to their websites from Google’s Image Search.
In 2013, however, Google released an update that added a “view image” button that users could click and be brought directly to a page containing only the image rather than to the site actually hosting the image.
After this change, companies across the web experienced a massive drop in site traffic and eventually image SEO was pushed to the backburner, but now, all that just might change.
Recently Google began to make some changes to their user experience and search algorithm and its starting to look like image SEO may once again be an extremely viable search tactic. .
If you’re feeling a little rusty, fear not! The team over at Visme.co, an online presentation and infographic tool, put together a presentation outlining the major changes in image SEO and some simple ways you can stay ahead of the game.
My biggest takeaways from the presentation include:
The Removal of the View Image Button
The removal of the “view image” button from search is the spark that re-lit the fire of image optimization.
Image search no longer relies on just keywords and metadata, now users have the ability to use an actual image as their search query to help find what they are looking for.
This is immensely helpful for someone that’s shopping for a specific product, looking for places to travel, or even trying to figure what that weed is growing in their backyard.
This means you now have to also optimize your images for visual based searches.
The main way of doing this is through the use of rich snippets. These snippets affect the way your site appears in search engine results pages. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper tool can help you with this process.
Quality is Still Important
It’s been harped on for years now - blurry or generic stock photos are not going to help your company build a brand and they’re certainly not going to help you in image search.
Google’s algorithm automatically excludes images that are pixelated and visual search works through the recognition of faces, colors, shapes, and text.
This makes it even more important to use unique, high-quality images. If you do need to use a stock photo, try making it unique to your company by adding a filter or some custom text .
These recent changes definitely suggest that Google is putting renewed focus on image optimization and companies can no longer let this area of SEO live on the backburner.