Google Image search is the preferred tool of many people who wish to find relevant photos on the web. With so much traffic being generated by Google’s search engine, its image search counterpart should not be overlook when it comes to getting exposure for your content.
Google Images was launched in 2001, and indexes images based on three main criteria: the name of the file, the link, and the context the image is posted in such as any adjacent text or captions. These three elements determine the search keywords for which an image will be seen as a relevant result.
When publishing images on a website, attention to detail is important and extra care should be given when adding image information in order to optimise the file for image search – or to make it Google friendly! If the image is imported from a camera, don’t forget to change the file name from the default IMG00000 to something more descriptive.
The alt tag in the link of the image is very important, as this is where the crawlers get their idea of how relevant your image is for a certain keyword. This “alternative text” acts as a description for the visual, so make sure it’s filled in accurately. Another good idea is to include the size of the image in this set of information. This will help the crawlers assess the loading time of the page, and may allow browsers to load text first while still leaving the empty space for your image to load later in the right spot. The rule for web friendly images is that they should be small but don’t compromise quality over this and try to find a middle ground.
Google Image Search has gone through a variety of layout changes throughout its history, but up until 2013 they have all been relatively minor and users could revert to the old styles if they wished. In 2013 Google rolled out a major update which meant the source website was no longer displayed behind the image. This resulted in huge traffic losses for some websites, who lost over 60 per cent of the traffic that once originated from Google Images. Many webmasters are unhappy about the move, as they feel Google is simply using their content without offering anything in return. Some of them are even planning to take legal action against the company over the matter in the future.