If you have a photoblog and want to gain more traffic and exposure from the search engines, here are some useful tips to optimize your image only website.
The Problems With Image Websites
1. In an image focused website, the main content is an image which the search bots can’t read very easily. Hence it is difficult (not impossible) to optimize a blog post which contains only images.
2. Since the search bots can read your image and understand what it is all about, it is not going to rank well for related searches. You have to provide alternative ways such that the search engines can index your blog post (not the image).
Say you have a page on your blog containing images of Strawberries. The search bots can’t crawl your image and understand whther it’s a strawberry or a jackfruit unless you mention it in “text”. Similarly, a search bot can’t understand whether the image contains a girl or a boy if there is no text mentioning the gender of a person.
3. Since photoblogs rarely have proper anchor texts pointing to the original content (which is an image), it’s very hard to pass Google juice to the image.
4. The problem becomes predominant when other users who find your image – link to it by copying the image file name and not the URL of the blog post.
How to Optimize a Photo Blog or a Website containing only Images
In the following video, Google Engineer Matt cutts describes how you can optimize your image only website so that you get more traffic from Google and other search engines.
Matt suggests the following points:
1. Text, Text, Text: Understanding the content of an image is really difficult, so try to put as much text around the image which the search engines can read, index and rank.
2. Descriptive Title: Put a meaningful title of your blog post – try to define what the image is all about.
3. Include proper keywords and phrases: Think beforehand what the user is most likely to type in the search engines if he was looking for the same image contained in your website or blog post. Then include those words and phrases as text in your webpage.
4. Include Alt text and a proper title to the image: This is very useful not only to the search engines but also to general users. When a user hovers the mouse cursor over an image, the title will give a small description of the picture which may help him understand what the image is all about.
5. Careful with the file names: No underscores and separate words with hyphens. Whenever a search engine tries to index content, it looks at various parameters which include textual content, incoming links, anchor texts, URL, file names and so on.
Hence inclusing a meaningful file name will ensure better crawling of your images.
6. Have a comment box: Try to include a comment box in your webpage where other users can leave comments about the picture they just viewed. When these users comment on your image, it will automatically include relevant keywords and phrases.
The search engines will index these keywords and when other users search for the same keywords, your blog post is most likely to rank above than other websites whose images are not properly optimized.
7. Meta description and keywords: You should add a proper meta description to he blog post containing your image. This is useful because when search engines show your blog post containing the image on the search page, it may show the snippet from the meta description. Users who look into that snippet and find related keywords, are most likely to click through the link and arrive in your website.
Do you own an image only website? How do you optimize it for the search engines?