Most search engines find it too expensive to “read” pictures and convert what they see into search terms that would be useful to their users, so it’s up to you, as the owner of your own website, to maximise what YOU can do to get your images found. (This applies especially to websites which rely heavily on images, with little or no text to support the images.)
The easiest way to make your images visible to search engines is to help describe them in a “language” that the search engines understand.
- Use a file name that describes the image in detail e.g. “pet portrait painted by Mary Smith”.
Use hyphens to separate words in the image’s file name eg, “pet-portrait-by-mary-smith.jpg“; this makes identifying keywords a bit simpler for the search engines.
- Use a descriptive image “alt” tag to describe the image.
Make the “alt” tag 2 to 5 words long, and include keywords related to the pages core topic. (This is not the place for a long list of keywords, however!)
- Use a descriptive image title to describe the image. This field is typically less important than the “alt” tag, so it can be a bit longer and read more like a sentence.
Each of these tips helps search engines better understand what your images are about.
The majority of web pages are coded in HTML (hypertext markup language). Here is an HTML source code view of what a descriptive image presentation may look like for a picture of a pile of pebbles:
<img title=”picture of pile of pebbles” src=”pile-of-pebbles.jpg” alt=”pile of pebbles on thesimpleblogcompany.com” width=”241″ height=”300″ />
And here’s a picture of a pile of pebbles … (and see the Title tag pop up when you hover over the image)