Google has revamped its image search. Now, when users type keywords into the search bar and select the image search option, they will be presented with a whole new layout that includes more meta information about the image results. The change hasn’t gone into effect for all users yet but should be available to everyone soon.
The new search is much more user friendly. It allows users to see image details without having to go to a new page, meaning they can more easily browse and more quickly find what they are looking for. But, the changes aren’t just good for users; they can also benefit brands and site owners.
Looks and Speed
The new look is much cleaner and makes it much easier for users to browse pages of images and view choice photos close up. Initial search results look the same as the old version, but when a user clicks on an image, a dark grey background appears and images line the top and bottom of the window.
According to Google, the new Google Images is faster than the old version because it doesn’t load source pages behind graphics, the way the old version did. The new layout also makes it easier for people to browse images faster because users can now see a preview of the image on the search page, instead of having to click to a new page to see it.
More Ways to Get Traffic
With some good planning, you could leverage the new Google image search and bring more traffic to your site. If you optimise the images on your site, using meta tags and descriptions that are keyword rich, they could rank on Google Images. Depending on the type of business and site you have, this could be an excellent way to get more traffic to your site.
Your Domain Name is Visible
In the new image search layout, your domain name is more visible and there is “Visit Page” button viewers can click on. This means that when your site’s images show up as search results you may see more Google image search referrals to your site.
More Ways to Reach Your Site
With the old Google image search, there were only two ways for users to get to your site via an image, now there are four. With more options, users may be more likely to click a link that takes them to your site.
The new search has four, instead of two, ways users can access your site from one of your images.
A More Convenient Experience
With a more user-friendly interface and experience, more people may begin using Google Images as a search option. Your company can take advantage of this by making sure all your site’s images are optimised and that your future SEO plans include strategies for ranking images.
Images have always been a part of SEO. However, with Google Images’ new features and interface, image search may become a more viable way for site owners to get more traffic.
Facebook Timeline is now in the final stages of rolling out; those who have spent a long time resisting will now have no choice but to make the switch. With everyone now using the same style profile it’s more important then ever before to make sure that you optimise your social media images for the right social media network.
How often have you visited a page timeline and seen a promotional image cut off like this? It adds an extra barrier to entry, as the user will have to click the image and wait for it to load before they understand the offer.
I can’t help but wonder if this contest would have been more effective if the correct image dimensions had been used when planning this give-away. Although images are generally unaffected when viewed in the news feed, don’t forget to make sure your Page is looking good too!
So what can you do to optimise your images?
If you’re planning a promotion like the one above, you may need to come up with similar images in a variety of sizes to ensure effective cross-platform promotion. If you don’t have a graphic designer on-hand, consider investing in a program like Photoshop to make image manipulation infinitely easier. Otherwise, a free program like Gimp will provide adequate results.
Get to know your image sizes for all social networks. This cheat-sheet from Luna Metrics will help you get your bearings on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Bookmark this image for future reference as it also includes things like profile picture sizes, and cover photo sizes – this will save you from scrambling around searching for it on Google.
If possible, you should add the text over the image, rather than including it as additional text when you post it. Adding text to images gives you a wealth of opportunities to get creative; experiment with font pairing to create interesting looks. Or consider handwritten fonts next to interesting typefaces add a personal touch. Your image will be instantly more sharable, be more easily associated with your brand, and retain the original message even after it’s been shared by friends of your fans.
And finally, don’t wait for your fans to share your images across different social media sites; give them a boost by adding it to your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter accounts.
This method of optimising your images for social media can work for anything: product descriptions and updates, company news, competition announcements, holiday cards, and announcing blog posts. Just let your imagination run wild, but remember to keep the image size low!
What do these three images have in common? Sites like Pinterest have proven that they’re all incredibly share-able; between them they’ve amassed over 4000 repins and 900 likes.
This demonstrates the incredible ability for an image to become a viral force in your search engine optimisation strategy. Images are just as important as your written content for capturing and engaging your audience. If a good image is the hook used to reel in your audience, then the content is what keeps people around.
Image optimisation is an often over-looked area of SEO, but with the explosion of social media in the past few years, and the increased importance of social signals to search engine algorithms, now more than ever images are vital to increasing your traffic.
Optimising an image for search is incredibly simple to achieve, it simply requires changing your habits and developing some new best practices. Once learned, you’ll never return to your old ways again!
Step One: The first step is to learn to take good pictures. If you’re selling a product, find the best possible way to present it; look to Etsy stores for some artistic and inspiring ways to showcase your items. It helps if you think of a theme for your photos which you can use in different ways to develop your online image and brand.
Step Two: Remember to re-size your images and convert them to .jpg before you upload them. Larger images will slow down browsers and increase bounce-rate as users won’t stick around to wait for them to load.
Step Three: Re-name your images, and be as descriptive as possible. This isn’t the time or place to try to squeeze your company name in, the image will be hosted on your website, or your image sharing account, so no need to worry about users knowing where it came from. Be as descriptive as possible and try to think in keywords; what do people search for?
Step Four: Use the alt text and caption function where possible, and make sure you tag your images effectively if using a site such as WordPress or FlickR. This will increase the keywords associated with your image and help your images to show up in more SERP’s.
Step Five: Share your images! Use them in blog posts, on social networking sites, and on photo sharing sites. Remember the three images at the start of this post? Social networks like to share cute, funny, tasty looking, interesting, and inspiring images. And since women are the majority of many of the key social networking sites, make sure your images are geared towards them.