10 SEO Techniques and Tips For Website Images and Better Sales Conversion

July 30th, 2009 | by BillEgan |

One of the most overlooked aspects of SEO is images. Most websites and particularly e-commerce sites  have lots of images but few actually optimise them for search engine indexing. However the images should also be optimised for human visitors to help drive more sales conversions.

Google not only looks at the text on your blog in order to rate your site, but that Google bot will also take a look at the code you use in your image files.

1. Use Meaningful Image and Folder Names

Many content management systems and ecommerce platforms have a default setting which applies meaningless image names and folder names to pictures that are uploaded. Keep images on a folder level rather than a subdomain so sitename.com/images/ is better than images.sitename.com

Be sure to change these to natural human readable descriptions – that is a key factor in achieving better image search engine optimisation.

2. Increase Your Image Size And Density:

Many images are too small and poor in quality to persuade shoppers to click on them. It is better to have fewer choices and larger images since too many choices can lead to inactivity and the shopper pressing the back button on that page. This is not relevant for seo but is a practical tip to get more clicks.

Berghaus Glissade IA Jacket in Blueberry / Eclipse

For some products, clothes and shoes particularly, you can’t expect customers to make a decision to purchase based on one simple photo; they have to be able to see the detail.

So, enlarged images are essential here, as in this example from Webtogs; the enlarged version of the photo allows shoppers to get a good idea of how the jacket looks, the material etc:

3. Show your products in Context:


In her post on Product Images and Conversion by Linda Bustos she highlighted the fact that online   retailers can go a step further and use photos that show products in use, or “in context.” The significance of this is quoted by a Future Now client, who claimed that images can lift conversion rates by 147% by showing products “in context.” Showing products in context, as well as giving users an idea of scale, can answer customers’ questions about how a product works, how it will look on them etc. This is one area where video can be very useful.

4. Use Descriptive Alt Tags:

Convenient Hand Held Electronic Translator - Ideal For Your Next Trip to Spain

Convenient Hand Held Electronic Translator

Alt tag or alternate tag is a text alternative to an image. It is the best way to describe an image to those who can’t see the image. The most important job of the alt tag is to explain to a bind user what an image is displayed on the page. Search engine spiders are also blind at images, they can’t read the text or object that is printed in an image. The alt tag deciphers what the image is for or what it is representing.

If you have a blank alt tag on your html it is considered as invalid and it is not following the Google webmaster guidelines. It is recommended to “use text that fulfills the same function as the image”.

See the Electronic Translator example on the right.

5. Use Descriptive Anchor Text

Use relevant text around your images, It is recommended that be descriptive text with your targeted keywords in bold be placed immediately before or after the image itself. Also Use anchor text keywords in links to images pages. 

6. Use Title Case

This is a tip for increasing sales conversions as opposed to seo. If you think about product descriptions as headlines you will get the idea.

So for this reason, I also recommend using title case for all your product descriptions. (That’s where the first letter in each description is capitalised).

7. Optimise Images for Social Media

Stick to jpg format and make sure the images can be resized to 160Ă—120 or 160Ă—160 pixels (Unless you have an image that can be resized that way Digg will not offer the submitter a thumbnail to go with the post).

8. Use Video Where Appropriate

Product videos can capture more angles and have a proven ability to boost product sales by answering customers questions and concerns.

In a Future Now post by Jeff Sexton he points out that for some products only video will do. For example, with this baby ‘travel system’ on Mothercare, the video can show how it folds up, and the range of different seating positions it can be adjusted to, something that could not be achieved without a lot of product images.

9. Use jpeg Image Format

David Leggett advises that when possible save the image as jpg format.The .jpg image format is best suited for images that have a wide range of colors where there aren’t sharp transitions or fine edges. Because of it’s compression algorithm, it works very well for Photographs. It’s possible to significantly reduce the file sizes of photographs using JPG while keeping image quality very high.

With jpeg you can make pages load faster, and make the user experience feel much better. Page load time is a huge factor in retaining users. In one recent online poll, 51% indicated that slow load times were the number one element that drove them away from a web page.

10. Use This Free Tool To Identify SEO Image Problems

Image Analyzer by Juicy Studio, will highlight images without alt text, long image names and much more. Because image optimisation is essential for successful SEO, image analysers are an absolute must.

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  1. 35 Responses to “10 SEO Techniques and Tips For Website Images and Better Sales Conversion”

  2. By amall business seo on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    Great post I’ve basically overlooked seo in images, thanks for the tips

  3. By small business seo on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    Does google return an image result in the top ten of a regular search? Do people only find your images if searching images only??

  4. By Website Design Wexford on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    Hi Bill,

    Would you suggest using more video these days, as Google seems to be returning results that have video clips in them, especially from YouTube?


    Dave Jordan

  5. By Cal on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    How do you get away with using images and not some copywriter coming after you?

  6. By james wood on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    I will try the image analyzer by juicy studio and see what difference it could make.

    James Wood
    HD Productions
    Online Web Video Marketing

  7. By Ryan on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    These are all great tips!

    If you’re looking for a content management system that actually coaches you on how to build your content for search engines, check out http://www.preation.com .

    Preation’s Eden Platform optimizes your website for the search engines with no technical or web marketing experience required at an affordable price.

  8. By Website Traffic on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    Very Informative Post!
    I bookmarked this page for my future reference. Thanks for sharing the information..

  9. By BillEgan on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    Good questions,
    Does google return an image result in the top ten of a regular search?

    Yes it does. Try typing “Jicama” into a Google regular search and you will find 2 of the top 10 results returned are images.

    Do people only find your images if searching images only??

    Yes, again type “Jicama” into a Google image search and only images will be returned.

  10. By BillEgan on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    Should you use more video?
    Yes – here are 5 reasons to use video:
    1. Videos make material more believable since the viewer can see it in action
    2. Video also grabs the viewers attention.
    3. Now, more than ever, almost anyone can make and upload a video.
    4. A video is far better in explaining or presenting information and products than plain text or still pictures and graphics.
    5. Make your video more than just information, add a bit of humour and it will spread like wildfire through viral marketing.

  11. By BillEgan on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    How do you get away with using images and not some copywriter coming after you?

    Good question.

    I would make 3 suggestions:
    1. Do a Google search for free photos, there are losts of good sources.
    2. Check Out Flickr Commons area. In most cases you can use the pictures with a link attribute. See http://www.flickr.com/commons/
    3. Look at Wikipedia public domain image resource area

  12. By BillEgan on Jul 31, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks for the tip about the seo friendly CMS

  13. By Tykhon Dziuban on Aug 5, 2009 | Reply

    Hey guess would you be so kind to review this site – http://tykhon-ua.com

    Its dedicated to content generation based on Youtube content

  14. By agnes on Aug 11, 2009 | Reply

    Thanks for providing the very nice and useful tips.

  15. By Web design seo services delhi on Aug 19, 2009 | Reply

    A mere online presence won’t serve the purpose of reaching out and impressing your target audience, to beat the competition you need a well designed website with a good search rank and for that you need help of companies which provide complete solutions in website designing and development and search engine optimization.

  16. By search engine optimization service on Sep 1, 2009 | Reply

    googlebot only sees in your website is ‘text’ for them to categorize and indexed your website…they dont really care how good your design is…and of course the ‘relevancy’ of the content. Therefore, put great information in your content for them to hunt you down

  17. By John on Sep 10, 2009 | Reply

    An insightfull post. Will definitely help.

    Apart from traditional marketing, these days most of the marketers use viral marketing. I came across a website called http://www.how2talk2.com. It allows people to write articles about their products and services for free in a fun way. You write an article in the form of how to actually talk to someone and you can include links on all of your websites in your articles.

    Also, thanks for the great post!”

    John –

  18. By SEO Traffic Spider on Sep 15, 2009 | Reply

    Very interesting tips, especially the ALT tag optimization.

  19. By Doug Boisvert on Nov 10, 2009 | Reply

    Googles Image Results can provide some quality traffic that could be missed without image optimization..

  20. By Tim on Nov 10, 2009 | Reply

    Be VERY careful using “free” images from google searches. You can very bady caught out this way and lose your business.

    Flickr Creative Commons pictures are generally only released for non-commercial use, so again be VERY careful how you use them. A link back is not the same as payment for a licence to use.

    Your safest assumption is that images on the web are ALL copyright. If in doubt, contact the image owner. If you can’t find out who that is, leave the picture well alone.

  21. By BillEgan on Nov 10, 2009 | Reply

    Tim, all my images are paid for or are creative commons licenses with accredited link so I don’t understand what you are saying, can you please clarify

  22. By BillEgan on Nov 10, 2009 | Reply

    Jeremiah, I agree with your point, I was using the example to illustrate the point I was making

  23. By Anonymous on Dec 8, 2009 | Reply

    Of course, what a great site and informative posts, I will add backlink – bookmark this site? Regards, Reader

  24. By SEO Sheffield on Dec 21, 2009 | Reply

    Great post. Although I can’t say that I agree with the Title Case bit. As a trained journalist and headline writer, I would never capitalise every noun in a title. It’s annoying to readers and is grammatically incorrect. But will definitely by trying out the image analyser

  25. By Daniel on Mar 23, 2010 | Reply

    One other thing to consider with images is to make sure they are compressed. With Google seemingly now taking into page load time when considering page rank, it’s just a smart move to make sure you don’t have any excessively large images on the site. Compressing all of your images can go a long way.

  26. By Vickie Tisdale on May 3, 2010 | Reply

    Google not only looks at the text on your blog in order to rate your site, but that Google bot will also take a look at the code you use in your image files.

  27. By pralki opinie on May 26, 2010 | Reply

    This is great material. Keep it up it is helping us all.

  28. By Federico Caramella on Jul 20, 2010 | Reply

    Very useful tips, guys!

  29. By Branko's Seo Techniques on Aug 7, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks for these seo tips for better image optimization!
    It is another way to use free organic traffic and spread out your keyword at key places on website page.
    In this case you can get more traffic when someone search for images.
    I will start to implement this strategy!
    Thanks again! Best wishes!

  30. By News on Apr 6, 2011 | Reply

    Very useful tips

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