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How to SEO your images for ‘long tail’ searches

If you post images to your blog/site then this little tip will give your ‘long tail’ Search Engine rankings a boost. Note: Though this tip is about optimising your images, this will boost your rankings in the normal Google Web Search - not just Image Search.

You should already be adding ‘alt’ and ‘title’ tags to each of your images. This tells the search engines what the picture is about. However the picture information has to compete with all the other content on the page - so why not give the pic it’s own page?

Say, for example, that you have a picture on your page (cartalk.html):

<img src=’Pics/FERRARI-SCAGLIETTI.jpg’ title=’Black ferrari 612 scaglietti’ alt=’Black ferrari 612 scaglietti’>

Add another page to your site:

<title>Black Ferrari 612 Scaglietti</title>
<h1>Black Ferrari 612 Scaglietti</h1>
<img src=’Pics/FERRARI-SCAGLIETTI.jpg’ title=’Black ferrari 612 scaglietti’ alt=’Black ferrari 612 scaglietti’>
<a href=’cartalk.html’>Back</a>

Save the page as ‘Black-ferrari-612-scaglietti.html’.

Go back to the image on cartalk.html and change it to this:

<a href=’Black-ferrari-612-scaglietti.html’><img src=’Pics/FERRARI-SCAGLIETTI.jpg’ title=’Black ferrari 612 scaglietti’ alt=’Black ferrari 612 scaglietti’></a>

So what have you done here?

  • » You’ve added a highly-optimised page for the keywords ‘Black ferrari 612 scaglietti’.
  • » Courtesy of the ‘Back’ anchor on the new page, when a visitor finds the new page through the search engines they can easily find the attached content page.
  • » You’ve added more content to your site, and SEs love new content & big sites.

The new highly optimised page is a bit bare, and you might be tempted to ‘wrap’ it in your site’s template - but I’d hold off on that. If you add the same wrapper to all your image pages then you have a good chance of Google thinking that all the image pages are the same (as the image & description HTML will be small compared to the site template). Then you can get canned by the duplicate content filter.

You might also be thinking:

Well, that’s terrific for the search engines, but my site visitors don’t want to keep clicking the images and get basically the same pics back at them.

2 choices

  1. Give them a high-res version of the pic to look at on the optimised image page. Not always possible, so;
  2. Hide the fact that the image is actually a link.


<a href=’Black-ferrari-612-scaglietti.html’>


<a style=”CURSOR: default” onMouseover=”window.status=”; return true” href=’Black-ferrari-612-scaglietti.html’>

That way when your visitor hovers the mouse over the image the cursor won’t turn into a hand and the status bar won’t show the href location. You could even disable the anchor through javascript if you don’t mind the extra work.

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