In the past, optimization for images & graphics consisted of stuffing keywords into the ALT tag. This tactic was so abused that Google no longer takes the ALT tag as seriously as it once did. Still, it’s worth using that outlet for a keyword or 2, as long as it’s done with a lighter touch.
The new SEO opportunity for images, though, is the image name. This isn’t completely a new discovery. SEOs have been using keyword rich names for their graphics for a while – just in case it did matter in the great search engine algorithm we’re always chasing.
What IS new is the Universal Search that Google now uses as their delivery mode. Searches can now get a mix of media in their results, including pictures, web sites, videos & just about anything else that might be relevant to the keyphrase used. The amount of ‘mixing’ you see will vary from search to search, of course.
Still, this Universal Search has elevated graphics and videos from just web site elements to something a little more important. At least in the eyes of the search engines. They’re now given a little more weight as they just might be what the searcher is looking for, rather than an entire web site, or web page.
What does that mean for you? It means you should start naming your graphics with keywords, but with one crucial criteria – doing it only when appropriate and relevant. Still, that opens a lot of opportunity. How do you do it right?
You must separate words, just as you would if they were written out. No words running together. That means using a dash (‘-‘) as a divider. For example, if you sell convertibles, you might name a picture ‘Ford-Convertible.jpg’ or ‘Vintage-Mustang-Convertible.jpg’. It’s easy. You can probably use the underscore as well ( ‘_’ ), but it can create confusion as it is overlooked often. It’s position there on the floor can bring problems you never thought of. Trust me on this.
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