Tips for Editing Images for Google Image Searches

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Google Image Search can be an extremely powerful way to drive traffic to your website, if you know how to set yourself up for success. Believe it or not, Google (and other search engines) can't actually see images or photographs on a website. Instead, Google Images uses the context of those images to determine an image's relevance to a search result. This means that in order for Google to understand what an image depicts, the image's contextual elements must be correctly assigned. If you want to make sure that your website ranks highly in Google Image Search results (who wouldn't?!), keep the tips and tricks below in mind!

Provide as much information about the image as you can

  1. Update Image File Name

When preparing images that you will later upload to your website, the first (and most important step!) is to make sure the files are correctly named. You may be temped to keep the file name as "IMG2287", for example, but this would be a major disservice since it doesn't tell Google anything about the image. Instead, take a moment to assign a descriptive image file name. Something like "Davids-Tea-Flavours-Display" is a much stronger title.

Note: Be sure you update the image file name before uploading the image to Wordpress! 

2. Change the Image Title

The next order of business is to update the image title attribution since this will tell Google about the image you're referencing. It will also improve the accessibility of your website for the visually impaired and/or those using screen readers. This step can be as simple as describing the image with relevant keywords.

Note: This is NOT the same thing as the image title that is shown in the Wordpress Media Gallery (which is essentially used to locate images/files). The image title attribute can be found by inserting an image into your post or page editor, clicking Edit then clicking the Advanced options, as shown in the image below.

Click the little pencil image to Edit [click image to enlarge].

Example of Editing an Image in Wordpress

Example of Editing an Image in Wordpress

Click the Advanced Options and edit the image title in the image title attribute field [click image to enlarge].

Example of editing image title-2

Example of editing image title-2

Now, whenever a reader hovers over the image on your site, the image title attribute will pop up in a small box.

3. Create Alt Text

Along with updating the image title, you must update the image alt text. This is another step that Google uses to best understand what your image is about, so that it can include it in the results for particular keywords. This is also useful for readers who are visually impaired since the image alt text will describe what the image shows.

When filling out this field, it's important to be descriptive. In an action shot, for example, you'll want to outline with detail what the image shows. Something like <img src="runner.jpg" alt"male runner along the waterfront"> would be a good fit to describe an image of a man out for a run in front of the water.

To edit the alt tag, fill in the field in the editor window of the particular image.

Note: Descriptive alt texts can help your image rank in Google Image Searches but it's important not to get carried away with your keywords. Keep in mind that Google will penalize you for keyword stuffing since it considers it spam, and your search result ranking could be negatively affected as a result. Keep it natural!

Keep the Image Relevant to the Page Content

Now that we've outlined three important things to reference when uploading an image to your website, it's also time to keep in mind the relevance of an image to the page its on. Google will crawl the text on a particular page / post and will already have an idea what you're writing about. It will expect to "see" images that make sense given the context and will reward you with high search result rankings. For example, Google would expect to see an image of a tea display on a page that talks about different types of tea.

Once you get into the habit of following these three steps when uploading your images, you'll see positive results in no time!

Did you find these tips useful? If so, be sure to share this article! Feel free to leave a note in the comments to add your thoughts on the subject as well, I'd love to hear from you.

Charlotte O'Hara

Vancouver