Archiv für den Monat: Januar 2019

How did the Gillette video impact search traffic?

gillette search traffic over time

Over the past couple weeks there was a lot of media coverage, in both traditional and social mediums discussing the Gillette “The Best a Man Can Be” ad.

The ad has a lot of layers to it.

But for the search engine marketing crowd, we know one of the most important questions is, “What was the impact on search traffic?”

What impact does creative like this have on a brand and that brand’s search volume?

This is especially interesting as we get closer to the Super Bowl. Brands have sunk millions of dollars into the ad spot and the creation of the ad itself.

Why do they make these investment choices? What is the impact to search traffic and volume?

In case you haven’t watched, here is the original video from Gillette.

Also worth watching, Saturday Night Live parodied the video using Kool-Aid as the brand.

Now that we’ve seen the ad, let’s look at the corresponding searches.

How did the Gillette video impact search traffic?

I started by looking at Google Trends for the term “Gillette.”

As expected, it spiked over the past 90 days and was the highest since 2004.

Okay, maybe this is just people looking for the commercial, or information about the Patriots since they play at Gillette stadium.

So, I took a quick look at “Gillette Razor.”

Boom! Highest search traffic volume in 5 years, and not just be a little bit, but a massive spike.

So people were also specifically driven to look for the product by branded name.

This is where the magic really happens.

Taking a look at forecasted metrics from Google’s Keyword planner over the last 12 months, you can see that the average CPC is ~$1 less per click.

If you stack that up over the course of any given day or week you will save thousands of dollars.

CPC comparison between branded and unbranded keywords

Gillette is probably like a lot of us and read the articles about Nike and the Colin Kaepernick ad.

This ad had a similar affect. It was divisive and took a stand, but the end goal impact to shareholders was a 31% increase in sales.

The ad launched on September 3 and the Times published an article about it on September 10.

As you can see, Nike stock was on its way to a 52 week and all-time high, and has outperformed the Dow Jones over the past 12 months.

Nike search trends over time following Kaepernick ad

This is the type of impact that powerful branded ads can have on people.

The challenge for many of us is that we don’t have big branded budgets. We don’t work on brands that have the ability to take these types of risks.

So what information can we apply to this work in our own world?

Here are three things to consider when creating branded ads that might drive search traffic

1) Focus on quality

It doesn’t have to be a branded controversial TV ad, it just needs to be good.

Look at what Dollar Shave Club has done. They came from nowhere on the back of a quality YouTube spot which now has over 25 million views.

This is true for so many other brands who have launched themselves on Facebook, or driven significant sales on a purely direct response budget to start.

Dollar Shave Club search trends over time

2. Are you filling a consumer need with value?

Here is where a lot of brands have stepped in to challenge legacy brands, or leveraged their ability to solve problems by taking the friction out of something.

This is a big focus now with “digital transformation,” but there is a lot of truth to this when thinking about what value your ads are driving for customers.

Value can simply be selling them something they need like an iPhone charger, or removing friction from something that was previously painless, such as Uber/Lyft, or Pop sockets for phones.

Focus on the value your product is bringing and the corresponding ad space where that value is to be transacted.

This could be as simple as providing location extensions when someone is searching “running shoes” so your store can quickly and easily be found.

Help consumers get to the answer they are looking for quickly. Provide value by removing friction.

3) Are you monitoring attribution?

Watching how consumers move between tactics, and branded and non-branded keywords, is a great way to understand the impact of your advertising.

There are even some great ways to measure foot traffic now to help with “traditional” mediums like TV or Billboard. Doing your best to understand the measurement and inter-connectivity of your advertising will help justify these types of branded ads.


Overall, it doesn’t really matter if you liked or didn’t like the Gillette ad. The fact is it worked. It got people talking, and it drove up search traffic. Even if it has half of the impact that a similar ad had for Nike, the sales will follow.

So as much as we in search rely on consumers searching, remember there is still a lot of value in branded advertising, big and small, across mediums.

The post How did the Gillette video impact search traffic? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


YouTube SEO: Optimizing your channel in 5 steps

youtube channel optimization, example of channel art

Here at Search Engine Watch we have written quite extensively over the years about how to optimize your YouTube videos to make sure they really stand out.

Ann Smarty’s top 5 tips from last year is a handy list. And for YouTube best practice, Pius Boachie’s post is a great read too.

As 2019 gets going, video is still growing as a great way to ensure visibility online and to provide web users with useful and engaging content.

It is also an increasingly competitive medium.

YouTube doesn’t disclose how many creators use the platform. And there’s obviously quite some difference between someone who posts daily and has 100k+ followers, versus anyone who’s ever once uploaded a video. Estimates, though, range from 50m to upwards of 150m.

We do know that YouTube has more than 1.8 billion monthly users — nearly rivaling Facebook’s 2.27 billion.

Optimizing your YouTube channel, then, should not be an afterthought.

Those who are really succeeding on YouTube have great channels. They look good, they showcase their best videos and they connect with others in their niche. They are a destination in their own right.

And they promote better engagement and more views of the videos there. This is massively important when it comes to having your videos rank in YouTube’s (and Google’s) SERPs.

Here are five pointers for ensuring your YouTube channel is optimized.

  1. Add channel art

Channel art in the case of YouTube refers to the banner that stretches across the top of the page in-between the search bar and the title of the channel.

It goes without saying that this should be eye-catching and on-brand – as well as being sized to the optimal 2560 x 1440 pixels – but it can be so much more.

It can also be a place to share important information about the channel, such as what day of the week videos are uploaded. Sam The Cooking Guy is a good example:

As you can see, this banner is prime real estate for getting some key information across with Sam telling us what days of the week he posts new content. He also has a Call To Action (right hand side) for persuading us to subscribe, as well as links to his merch store, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter right in the banner too.

  1. Featured video or channel trailer?

YouTube also gives you the option to have a featured video or – for users who aren’t yet subscribed – a channel trailer.

Many successful channels opt to place a video they see as good example of the rest of their content. But, of course, it is possible to have more success with getting users to subscribe by making a for-purpose trailer about your channel.

example of using a description box for youtube channel optimization

Either way, be sure to use the description box to full effect by including around 100 words (or about 500 characters) to signal to visitors and the Google/YouTube algorithm what your channel is all about.

In the above example, Binging with Babish is very kindly linking out to Vulfpeck. But I would also recommend there being a CTA with links out to your website from here – it’s a really visible part of the page.

  1. Playlists

Once you really start building up your YouTube content, playlists certainly help make things more navigable.

Grouping together popular videos or those with a similar theme are good options. You will know your content best when it comes to working out what videos work well together. There’s no hard and fast rule here.

Remember, from an SEO point of view, videos which are getting good traffic and engagement tend to rank better.

So, make videos as easy to find by grouping and linking out to other similar videos/playlists in your channel from each video description. This will make things easier for viewers.

Don’t just rely on YouTube to get your content next in-line after other similar videos.

Be bold with playlists and link to them.

  1. Don’t forget the ‘About‘ tab

It’s not the most visible page, but YouTube does provide an ‘About‘ tab for you to add a description for your channel.

By the looks of things, you can be as wordy as you like here. You can also add a business email and links to website/social media/etc.

Links within the body text there aren’t clickable – but there’s a designated link area at the foot of the page.

  1. Link to other relevant channels

Linking out to the competition might seem a little odd, but it is in keeping with the community spirit of YouTube.

I find it best to think about it in terms of giving value to you visitors/subscribers. Make it easy for them to browse other great and relevant content.

Be part of the conversation.

Make sure you are uploading the best content that you can. And you might just find other channels start linking to you.

Takeaways for YouTube channel optimization

YouTube channels can really be used to great effect to ensure your video content is as visible as possible.

Good channel art, putting your best content front and center, and making your growing collection of video content more navigable via playlists and links are really important.

Graham Charlton points out in his piece How to optimize your videos for better ranking in YouTube that there are a great number of ranking factors that go into YouTube’s algorithm.

I’d argue a well-optimized channel is a good way for pushing up some important ones.

Other YouTube ranking factors

  • View Count – “Still an important indication of popularity,” according to Graham. Better visibility in a well-optimized channel may give a new video a view boost before having too much time to rank. This may help keep the counter ticking up well after the video is established. In turn, this signals to YouTube that it’s still important.
  • View Density – Graham says: “View density matters to YouTube. If your video receives a lot of views in a short space of time, it’s more likely to be pushed up the rankings.”
  • Likes – “These provide an indication of the engagement around a video,” Graham says. And, simply, the more visible your video is thanks to your channel, the more potential there is for likes and positive sentiment. (Assuming your content is brilliant!)
  • Comments – “A way for YouTube to gauge the authority and relevance of videos,” according to Graham. And more likely to give you the opportunity to respond, generate buzz, and keep YouTube’s community spirit alive.

Note: the YouTube Creators Academy is also a great resource. Check it out!

YouTube is quite generous in what it allows you to do.

If your video content is strong and well optimized – you owe it to yourself to make sure the channel in which it resides shines too.

The post YouTube SEO: Optimizing your channel in 5 steps appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


Measure for Success: 7 Secrets of Actionable Content Marketing Dashboards

Elements of an Actionable Content Marketing Dashboard

Elements of an Actionable Content Marketing DashboardHey, content marketers. Imagine this: You’re sitting in a marketing meeting and you hear the following:

  • Our conversions are up 50% year-over-year!
  • Our blog traffic is down.
  • We saw a big spike in traffic this month to our primary service page!
  • Our bounce rate is all over the place.
  • This blog post about “X” had 2,000 page views last month!

What are the first thoughts that come to mind? For many, the first thought would likely be: Why? Followed by a: Is that good or bad? And then finally: What do we need to do next?

If you’ve ever experienced a similar scenario, you’ve come face-to-face with insight famine. The statements above simply relay data points and lack the insight needed to take any sort of action. And this is why an actionable content marketing dashboard is so incredibly important.

When properly set up, an actionable dashboard marries data and insight, helping you quickly see how you’re performing against your benchmarks, goals, and key performance indicators (KPIs), and where you have opportunities to improve results or need to dig deeper.

What makes a dashboard actionable? What key data and insight elements should be included? Let’s dig in.

What Makes a Marketing Dashboard Actionable?

For a content marketing dashboard to be actionable, it has to answer two simple questions:

  • Is what we’re doing working?
  • Why is it (or is it not) working?

In order to answer those questions, there are specific metrics to include based on your overall objectives. For example, if your objective is to drive qualified leads for your sales team, you might measure the amount of inquiries that resulted from a piece of content, how many of those inquiries turned into MQLs, then SQLs, then ultimately customers.

If you apply those metrics to each piece of content, you’ll quickly see which content is hitting the mark, and what needs to be adjusted. And if your objective varies by topic cluster or funnel stage, you’ll need different sets of KPIs for each.

7 Essential Elements of an Actionable Marketing Dashboard

So, how do we answer those two simple questions posed above? There are several key components to consider including in your dashboard:

#1 – Content Benchmarks

Benchmarks are essential for understanding how different types of content have performed on average over a specific period of time. Your benchmarks can and should be different based on the content type and its objective.

For example, a top-of-funnel blog post meant to drive traffic will have a different benchmark than a middle-funnel infographic meant to engage. By keeping these front-and center in your marketing dashboard, you can compare at-a-glance.

#2 – Goals

More than likely your goals are to beat your benchmarks every single time. But it’s important to document your goals so you can gauge success. By adding your goals to your marketing dashboard, you can quickly determine whether you’re on pace to hit your goal and if you’ve been able to surpass it.

And ultimately, keeping that data within your dashboard will help you course-correct where needed and celebrate wins as they occur.

#3 – Real-Time KPI Monitoring

Depending on your objective for the content you’re creating, there could be any number of KPIs to watch. Automating those reports in a dashboard will help you report to your internal team and leadership in an easily consumable way.

For example, if your KPIs are pageviews and asset downloads for a specific campaign, pull those into an executive summary that’s easy to digest with an option to drill down into more specific sources of traffic and conversions.

#4 – Traffic Trends

While measuring specific pieces of content is helpful to enhance performance, it’s important to keep your eyes on overall performance as well. Knowing whether overall website or blog traffic is trending up or down versus the previous year or month will help you inform the types of content you need to create next.

For example, if you notice your organic traffic is trending down month-over-month, you will want to dig into your content report to determine why that is and what needs to be done to repair the situation on a more granular level.

#5 – Performance by Topic and Persona

If you’re trying to reach a specific persona, or increase visibility around an important topic, segmenting your data within a dashboard can be hugely valuable. You’ll be able to tell if your content is more or less visible for your target, or if your content marketing strategy needs to shift to meet a different type of demand for that topic.

#6 – Engagement Metrics

All of the traffic in the world won’t mean a thing if would-be customers are bouncing off your site immediately. Make sure you’re monitoring your bounce rate and time-on-page for each post to determine if the content is resonating and adjust as needed. While these are often bucketed as vanity metrics, that doesn’t mean they can’t provide meaningful insight or should be forgotten.

#7 – Proof of ROI

To be fully actionable, integrate your sales team’s data sources into your dashboard. With the right analytics strategy, you can pull in performance by page or post from visit to sale. This will help you prove the value of your content, and understand which kind of content converts the prospects you’re looking for.

As a bonus, your sales team will be able to share that kind of converting content as a follow-up from an initial meeting or as a pre-meeting email with their prospects.

Take Action to Spur Action

An actionable content marketing dashboard is a pivotal piece to a data-informed content marketing strategy. If your data is accurate and your dashboard is actionable, you’re in the right place to start creating and marketing incredible content that has proven ROI and helps your sales team meet their goals. Talk about a win-win!

And before I go, I’d like to leave you with a few rules for measurement mastery:

  • Setting up a custom and integrated dashboard takes time and patience. You may set it up in one way and realize that the KPIs and metrics you have aren’t the ones you need, and that’s okay. Looking at the data in different ways can tell you different parts of the same story. Edits aren’t rework, they’re character development.
  • Don’t be afraid to spend some quality time with your data. As you create the dashboard, it’s important to dig in and manipulate data from different sources to understand how it’s best pulled in to complement the rest of your data set. Sometimes this means changing the way you have forms or tags set up. The more time you spend digging into data up front and understanding the finer points, the better equipped you’ll be to answer questions and provide insights into remaining questions.
  • If you find yourself asking why, look deeper. Sometimes you’ll put all the data together expecting answers, and you’ll encounter more questions. Questions are good, it means the data is telling you something you need to investigate. Don’t be afraid to dig deep, and ask other departments or SMEs for their perspective.
  • Always, always, always annotate. Did you run a really great campaign that showed a spike in traffic or conversions? Make an annotation. Did you lose tracking for a little while? Make an annotation. Did you implement some major website changes, or do a migration? Make an annotation. Those kinds of anomalies in the data seem major at the time, but easily get lost in the day-to-day management of your world. Annotations will save you from having to dig into your notes, emails or previous campaign data every time it pops up in a report.

Don’t forget: You can’t achieve goals you don’t set. And you can’t optimize performance without measurement. Your content marketing dashboard can hold you accountable to both and more.

Are data challenges holding your content marketing dashboard or other initiatives back? Check out our post covering the five top marketing data and analytics challenges, complete with tips to start solving them.

The post Measure for Success: 7 Secrets of Actionable Content Marketing Dashboards appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Hemponade – Branding

Mehr Bilder…

Studio Pona entwickelt den neuen Markenauftritt der Hanflimonade Hemponade.

Hemponade ist natürlich, gesund und macht Spaß! Hergestellt wird die Hemponade aus 100% natürlichen Inhaltsstoffen wie kalt gepresstem Hanfsaft, Trauben, Limette und einer großen Portion Liebe. Studio Pona hat die erarbeiteten Markenwerte in eine unverwechselbare und leicht wiederzuerkennende visuelle Sprache übersetzt. Die Mischung aus natürlichen Bildmotiven mit dem frischen grafischen Elementen lassen die Hemponade aus dem umkämpften Markt der Erfrischungsgetränke herausstechen und sich klar von Mitbewerbern abheben.

Studio Pona


How to Improve Google Image Search Ranking

Google example result with structured data

How to Improve Google Image Search Ranking was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

If you can optimize it, you should. And images are no exception.

The images on your website represent another way to drive organic search traffic. Often overlooked, Google Image SEO can be just as important as optimizing your webpage text.

In fact, you might be surprised at just how much traffic your images are already sending to your site.

TL;DR: Google Images represents another path outside of regular web search for your audience to find your site and discover your content. Google is making significant changes to Google Images that put more emphasis on quality and relevance. To help you drive traffic from image search, we provide a list of ways to optimize images for a website.

How to SEO Images: Table of Contents

First, we’ll take a quick look at the latest news about Google Images:

Then we’ll dive into how to SEO images in 16 steps:

  1. Track Your Image-based Traffic
  2. Create High-Quality, Original Content
  3. Use Relevant Images
  4. Have a Proper File Format
  5. Optimize Your Images
  6. Always Create Alt Text
  7. Make Use of the Image Title
  8. Create an Image Caption
  9. Use a Descriptive File Name
  10. Implement Structured Data if Possible
  11. Consider Image Placement on the Page
  12. Analyze the Content Around the Image
  13. Create Page Metadata
  14. Ensure Fast Load Time
  15. Make Sure Images Are Accessible
  16. Create an Image Sitemap

What’s New with Google Images

Google’s goal over the past year was to make image search more useful to users. We’ve likely all had the experience of finding an image connected to a not-so-great webpage.

Now, images attached to great content can do better in Google Images. So websites have more opportunity to rank images and drive traffic with well-optimized content.

Updates to Google Image Search

Major improvements to Google Images were announced in September 2018. The image-ranking algorithm now weighs these factors more heavily:

  • Authority: The authority of the webpage itself is now a more important signal for ranking an image.
  • Context: The ranking algorithm takes into account the context of the search. Google used the example of an image search for “DIY shelving.” Results should return images within sites related to DIY projects … so the searcher can find other helpful information beyond just a picture.
  • Freshness: Google prioritizes fresher content. So ranking images will likely come from a site (a site in general, but we believe the actual webpage in question) that’s been updated recently. This is probably a minor signal.
  • Position on page: Top-ranked images will likely be central to the webpage they’re part of. (And higher up in placement on the page.) For example, a product page for a particular shoe should rank above a category page for shoes.

Google Images results pages also got a facelift:

  • Captions: Image results now show more context. For example, searchers can read captions including the website and title of the page where the picture is published.
  • Related searches: Google started providing related search terms at the top of the results page. Notice the buttons, which help users narrow their search.

    NOTE: We cannot reproduce this in Google SERPs today, so this may have been a temporary feature.

Related search terms in image results

Related search terms across the top let searchers narrow image results.

Google Hints at More Changes to Come

Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller indicated this week that images are a “bigger topic” now.

People are running transactional and informational types of searches more frequently through Google Image search. We don’t have details yet, but Mueller’s statements (see below) make it a good bet that more UI changes are coming.

There’s nothing specific to announce from my side — it’s just a general observation that images are (once again) gaining importance overall on the web, and a reminder to think of them as a way of enabling users to find your content through Google Images / image search.

🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) January 25, 2019

AI-Powered Results in Google Images

One futuristic feature that Google has already rolled out is its AI-powered Google Lens technology.

Users can now identify objects of interest within images as they look through image search results:

Lens‘ AI technology analyzes images and detects objects of interest within them. If you select one of these objects, Lens will show you relevant images, many of which link to product pages so you can continue your search or buy the item you’re interested in. Using your finger on a mobile device screen, Lens will also let you “draw” on any part of an image, even if it’s not preselected by Lens, to trigger related results and dive even deeper on what’s in your image.

To show this in action, I searched for [diy outdoor grilling stations] and picked out a beverage center sitting in one of the resulting pictures. This revealed a new set of image results:

Google Lens at work

Google Lens at work: searching within a picture.

For now, the Lens feature works only in U.S. English, and only from image search in mobile browsers, not in the Google app.

But we expect Google Lens to be activated across more search platforms soon. It makes image search extremely flexible, letting users pinpoint what they want using visuals instead of words.

This new AI technology increases the population of search results. It also encourages more image-based searches.

Google increasingly understands the contents of even non-optimized images. So your images potentially have much more competition.

Image SEO becomes even more important. It’s time to optimize your images so that they can stand out.

How to Optimize Images for SEO

With all these changes to Google Images, how do you ensure you can get your share of visibility?

In this sense, Google Images search works much like regular web search. Googlebot needs to be able to crawl, index and understand what your images are about. Only then can they rank.

The latest updates to Google Images tell us that relevance and quality are more important than ever. That means providing the search engine with as much context as possible.

Here are 16 important steps to SEO images …

1. Track Your Image-based Traffic

Want to know how many visitors you get through Google Images search?

You can track organic search traffic from Google Images using the Search Console Performance report.

How to track image search traffic:

  1. Log in to Google Search Console for your website.
  2. Click Performance.
  3. Change the search type at the top to Image. This filters the data so you can keep an eye on your traffic from image search.

Google Search Console Performance Report for images

Alternatively, in Google Analytics you can use the Referral report. Google Images search traffic is broken out from other search traffic. The line with the Source/Medium “google organic / images” is where you’ll find that data.

Take a baseline and watch your search traffic grow as you apply SEO to your images.

2. Create High-Quality, Original Content

Search engines want to reward high-quality pages. This applies to the information on the webpage that your image is hosted on, and to the image itself.

In its image best practices help file, Google discourages “pages where neither the images or the text are original content.”

So whenever possible, take your own photos and make your own graphics.

What if you have to use stock photos? There are a lot of ways to modify stock images to make them unique. You can add filters, crop them, overlay text, and much more.

Also remember that when you do use images from elsewhere, you must honor copyrights, license fees and/or trademark laws.

Google now includes metadata support for crediting images to the proper author and rights holder. This is visible by clicking “Image credits” where available.

3. Use Relevant Images

Choose or create images that are helpful to the overall theme of the page. That might be an infographic, a diagram, an appropriate photograph or something else.

Remember that search engines would rather rank a picture if it’s on a webpage that will satisfy the searcher’s intent with more relevant content.

4. Have a Proper File Format

Use an image file format that search engines can index. The three most common are:

  • PNG, good for screenshots and images with graphics or text. Depending on image complexity, PNGs may create larger files than the other formats. The PNG format uses lossless compression, which means the quality is preserved.
  • JPEG, good for most photographs. JPEGs create smaller files by using lossy compression, which means there will be a loss of image quality every time you save this file format.
  • GIF to create animations. GIFs use lossless compression, which means the quality remains the same.

Another type that’s becoming popular is:

  • SVG. This is a scalable vector format. As opposed to the raster types mentioned above, vector graphics can be extremely small files that don’t lose quality no matter how much they’re enlarged.

    Raster vs. vector images

    Notice how the vector does not pixelate as it’s enlarged. (Image credit: Google)

    SVG isn’t right for photos or complex images, but it works well for simple graphics with geometric shapes, such as a logo.

Now, next-generation image formats exist. These formats have better compression, are higher quality, load faster, and take less cellular data:

  • JPEG 2000
  • WebP

WebP has been gaining attention lately. It’s possible to convert existing JPEG and PNG files to WebP.

From the Google Developers FAQ page on WebP:

WebP is a method of lossy and lossless compression that can be used on a large variety of photographic, translucent and graphical images found on the web. The degree of lossy compression is adjustable so a user can choose the trade-off between file size and image quality. WebP typically achieves an average of 30% more compression than JPEG and JPEG 2000, without loss of image quality …

5. Optimize Your Images

There’s no single best way to optimize images. For each one, you need to find the optimal balance between minimum file size and maximum quality. Here are must-dos:

  • Resize and crop images to be no larger (in dimensions) than they’ll be displayed. With raster-style images (the most common type on the web), you might need to save several versions at various resolutions to work for different users.
  • Choose the most efficient file format per image (see my last point). It’s OK to mix different types of images on the same webpage.
  • Use compression to reduce file size. When saving a JPEG, for example, slide the quality bar down as far as you can without losing visual quality. With an SVG file, Google suggests you minify it by running it through a tool like svgo.
  • Consider replacing a picture with a different technology altogether. CSS effects can produce shadows, gradients, and more. Web fonts let you show text in beautiful typefaces, which actually improves your page’s usability and crawlability compared to an image.

I suggest you bookmark Google’s image optimization guide for more technical how-tos.

6. Always Create Alt Text

Accessibility for all users is important. That’s why adding alt attributes to images is part of our always up-to-date SEO checklist.

Alt text describes what the image is about to the visually impaired who use screen readers. It also can give search engines valuable information about the image’s contents.

Only when appropriate, use a relevant keyword you’re targeting to describe the image.

Remember that with linked images, search engines treat the alt attribute as the link anchor text. For example, if you have a question mark icon linking users to your help system, include alt=”Help” in your image tag.

7. Make Use of the Image Title

There’s an optional title attribute that you can give to each image. Some tests have shown that Google does index image titles.

8. Create an Image Caption

Add a little extra context by describing the image in a caption. You can also give the image source here, if appropriate.

WordPress Image caption field

In the WordPress editor, adding a caption is simple to do.

9. Use a Descriptive File Name

This is an often-overlooked step. But I have a quick remedy.

When you save your image file, accurately describe the photo in a few words or less. For example, ugly-christmas-sweater is a better file name than IMG01534.

In a webinar with Google’s Gary Illyes at Search Engine Journal, he pointed out that it’s just not feasible for large sites to have accurate file names for all their images (Pinterest, for example).

Illyes says this is more of a nice to have than a requirement for ranking. But, Illyes did explain when the file name can matter:

“I would imagine that it would be something that, all signals considered equal in case of your and your competitor’s images, if you have a better file name, then perhaps you might get ranked better with your image …”

10. Implement Structured Data If Possible

Google Images supports structured data markup for a product, video and recipe.

When you add structured data to your webpage’s HTML, your image results can be richer. Extra bits of information can show along with the image. And that can encourage more clicks and visitors to your site.

Structured data can help Google display things like the price and availability of a product.

11. Consider Image Placement on the Page

Google says in its image best practices page (linked to earlier) that “when it makes sense, consider placing the most important image near the top of the page.”

But in the SEJ webinar, Illyes said that you can put an image “pretty much anywhere on the page” and it can be picked up and shown in Google Images if it’s relevant to the query.

12. Analyze the Content around the Image

Consider the body text around the image. Does it give context to what the reader is looking at?

In the SEJ webinar, Illyes called the content around the image (on the page or in a caption) “critical” to understanding the image.

A$: The big one for me is to get the accessibility right with the alt text, then build around that with good captions and other related text near the image, Then add in a good file name and the image title. #SEOChat

— Paul Thompson (@thompsonpaul) October 11, 2018

13. Optimize Page Metadata

Google shows relevant information about the webpage (where the image appears) in Google Images results.

So don’t skip your metadata, including title and meta description. They give the user and search engine more context — just like in the regular search results.

Title and meta description showing in image SERP

Metadata (page title and description) can now show up in image search results.

There’s no guarantee that Google will use your metadata word for word. But they’re definitely part of its information processing. Google’s image best practices says:

Google Images automatically generates a title and snippet to best explain each result and how it relates to the user query. … We use a number of different sources for this information, including descriptive information in the title, and meta tags for each page.

14. Ensure Fast Load Time

Performance is a huge consideration for SEO in general.

Large images can drag down page load time. Here are tips to avoid that:

  • Keep image files as small as possible (see Optimize Your Images above).
  • Make images responsive. Basically, that means they automatically change size to fit the user’s device. You can read more about responsive images here and in the “responsive images” section of the image best practices page.
  • Specify how much space the image is going to take up. Knowing this enables a browser to load the surrounding page content while the image file is being requested. There are a number of ways to do this, including: with a
    container; in the CSS code; or with height and width attributes in the tag.
  • Consider lazy loading, which Google recommends as a way to combat slowness.

15. Make Sure Images Are Discoverable

Make sure that search engines can access the images on your site. When they can’t, the robots.txt file is often to blame.

Google Search Console’s “Inspect URL” feature can help you test this. You can also use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to discover how your pages, including images, work for mobile.

Also, images have their own URLs that can be indexed. So to preserve existing image rankings, be sure to use a proper 301 redirect if you ever need to change an image URL.

16. Create an Image Sitemap

As an optional step, you can create an image sitemap that lists the image files on your website. This can help Google discover them.

You can create a separate XML sitemap for images. (Learn more about that in our creating a sitemap tutorial.)

In the webinar at SEJ, Gary Illyes said that image sitemaps “help enormously” with the image discovery process.

I recommend including only original images, and not all site images, in your sitemap. Listing images from any external source may be a waste of the search engine’s processing budget. Google will find them on your pages anyhow. Taking crawl time, as if they have changed, is not needed.

If an image is unique to your site and revised or new, then include it in your image sitemap. If it was already crawled and not altered, a recrawl is simply wasting time.


The changes to Google Images are positive for users and for SEOs. Google has once again elevated the standards for websites to create quality content.

Image SEO will evolve — but many of the basics still hold true. The goal is to create the best experience for users visiting your site.

  • Present original, useful content with high-quality, relevant images.
  • Make a fast website that doesn’t make users wait for pages to load.
  • Optimize your images so that search engines can index them properly.

Apply the techniques in this article to optimize images. You may get a leg up on the competition and more eyeballs on your webpages.

(Learn more about how to optimize multimedia content. And check out our search engine optimization tutorial for more best practices.)

I want to know: Have you had good results ranking in the new Google Images? What techniques have you implemented? Let us know in the comments below.