Tips for Using Images on Your Site and Optimizing Google Image Search

In The Official Google Webmaster Central Blog, they've got an article that talks about points that were covered in the Images and Search Engines session at the recent Search Engine Strategies Chicago conference. The panel apparently had some great points about using images on your site, and we're passing these points along to you:

  • Don't put the bulk of your text as images. Search engines can't read text in images, and neither can readers, whether RSS or readers for the blind. If all the text on your pages is graphics, it's effectively unindexable and inaccessible.
  • Use descriptive alt tags for images! “Image1” and “logo” aren't descriptive — use alt tags like “Chart showing the path of stock X” or the name of your company if the graphic is your company's logo.
  • Don't overload your alt text. Be descriptive, but don't stuff it with extra keywords.
  • If your company name, navigation, or other major elements of your pages are in images, alt text becomes especially important. “Consider moving vital details to text to ensure all visitors can view them.”
  • Look at the image-to-text ratio on your page. How much text do you have? Try looking at your site with images turned off in your browser. What content can you see? Is the intent of your site obvious? Do the pages convey your message effectively?
  • Shoppers often use image search to see the things they want to buy. “If you have a retail site, make sure that you have images of your products (and that they can be easily identified with alt text, headings, and textual descriptions).”
  • Opt into enhanced image search in Google's webmaster tools. “This enables us to use your images in the Google Image Labeler, which harnesses the power of the community for adding metadata to your images.”


(Cross-posted to the Tucows Blog)