The old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is very true – except this rule does not apply to search engine optimization. Photos cannot be indexed by search engines, and regardless of the quality of the imagery or how unique it is, unless we actively provide search engines with a means to understand what the photos we place on our website are, that information will elude the search engines.

Example One:
Here is an image of three squirrels eating nuts.

The image is named 01.jpg. The image name does not provide any information for the search engines other than the image is ‘01’ – and there must be literally millions of images indexed by Google that are named 01.jpg.

There is no Alt tag for this image. The alt tag provides a text description as to what the image is, for search engines to index and then include in image search results. Without the alt tag being completed, the search engines have no idea as to what the image is about – and therefore it cannot be returned in search result.

Example Two:
The same image of three squirrels eating nuts.
Three Squirrels Eating Nuts
This time the image has been named three-squirrels-eating-nuts.jpg. Naming the image in this manner provides an actual and relevant description as to what the image may be about within the image’s url — this is called a search engine friendly url. This information can be indexed by Google, and the returned in search engine results.

The alt tag for this image is ‘Three Squirrels Eating Nuts’ – which can be detected by the search engines, and then indexed and then returned in search results. The important thing to remember, or bear in mind, with image optimization is that if you have written an article about ‘Three Squirrels Eating Nuts’ (or whatever you choose to write about) and include optimized imagery that is contextually relevant to the subject of the text, your article will be considered to provide more value to a potential visitor than one that does not include optimized imagery.

So — remember that adding images to your site is very important, but only if they are optimized.

Photos of the squirrels provided by

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