Get Traffic From Google Image Search

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There are as many upsides to having your website's images found in image search at Google as there are downsides. The good part is that you will see an increase in traffic and exposure for your site and its images, but the downside is that you'll be paying for the extra bandwidth and run the risk of having images stolen by less scrupulous webmasters.

How to Get More Traffic From Google Image Search
This traffic-generating tactic is about as simple as it gets. Simply enable the Google Image Labeler. Google may use this tool to associate the images included in your site with labels that will improve indexing and search quality of those images. All you will need to do is sign into your Google Webmaster Tools account, select the URL for the site you want, click tools and then select "Enhanced Image Search." Once you have opted in to enhanced image search (you can opt out at any time by returning to this page and clearing the checkbox), you should start seeing your images indexed over time.

Tips on Getting More Traffic From Google Image Search
Most webmasters/SEOs/website owners have no idea how to get image traffic from Google. So the good thing is that if you do it right, you will get more traffic. According to Google, the most important thing to have is descriptive alt text in your image tags (but height and width apparently help with indexing as well) and a reflective title for the page containing the image. For example, once enhanced image search is checked with your Webmaster Central account, images in the code of your site might look like the following:

<img src="http://www.yoursite.com/images/Image-Search.gif" alt="Google Image Search Screenshot" width="496" height="211">

Here's how it looks within your Webmaster Central account:

Enhanced Image Search Screenshot

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5 comments

Maclaren Strollers 12-02-2008 4:36 PM

How do you get google to crawl your images? I enabled this and I cannot see any results....??

Peter A. Prestipino 12-03-2008 12:30 PM

Based on my understanding it could take a while before they start crawling your images, up to a few weeks. Give it a while to see if there is any impact and in the meantime, add more images!

TimothyHorrigan 12-05-2008 3:39 PM

My site TimothyHorrigan.com gets most of its search traffic from image searches.

I am not quite sure what the author meant by "the risk of having images stolen by less scrupulous webmasters."  If he/she means that someone might download the images.... well yeah that's a problem any time you publish anything.  If you can't stand the possibility that other people might copy your stuff and use it for their own purposes, you shouldn't let those other people see it. That goes for any type of content you might put on the website.  (Copyright law offers some protection. but not much--- and especially not very much when no one is making any significant amount of money from your stuff.)

One annoying thing which happens from time to time is that another site will link directly to your image files. That is more annoying than when they download the file and host a copy on their own server Usually it's not webmasters per se doing this: it's ordinary bloggers and (especially!) MySpace/LiveJournal/etc. members.  You can complain to the hosting company---- but the best thing to do is to rename the affected image files every so often.  And you can also use the old name for an image which you know will displease the blogger :-)

A new wrinkle I am experimenting with is to host images on Flickr or similar services.  This does mean any particular picture hosted that way can only serve as a hotlink to the  Flickr (or whatever) page for that image, and you won't be able to hotlink to a page of your own choosing--- but 99.9% of websurfers don't intentionally click on images anyway.  Most of them don't even know that your picture COULD even have a hyperlink attached to it, and most of the others aren't at all interested in following that hyperlink.

One final thing I should mention is that sometimes you get hits from people looking for something is not directly related to the text on the page, but which may be related to an image being used as an illustration.  For example, even though I have several pages about the Bush Twins on my site (including www.timothyhorrigan.com/election2004.html) I get many hits on my 2004 Election page (www.timothyhorrigan.com/election2004.html) which happens to have a random picture of the Bush family illustrating it. Remember what I just said about surfers never clicking on hotlinked images.  My pic of the Bush family WAS hotlinked back to the Bush Twins page, but hardly anyone ever clicked through.  Even the text links tended to get ignored.  You may need to explicitly tell people that this page is about whatever it is about, and warn them it is NOT what the picture is about--- and you may have to give VERY explicit instructions on how to get to any pages which are more directly related to the picture.  Or you could just delete the illustration :-)

PeterM 12-05-2008 6:56 PM

There's no Enhanced image search link under Tools when I sign in to Webmaster Central.

How do I get a link ?

RandallG 12-22-2008 9:46 AM

I am starting to research on image seo. According to my research google places emphasis on text near the image and other people linking or hotlinking to the images.

From what I have seen; you do not need to enable image search for your images to show up in image search.

The Enhanced image search is not under tools any more. It is now under settings.

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