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Neil Patel On Image Optimization and Recovery From A Penalty

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by infinitehorizons, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. infinitehorizons

    infinitehorizons Regular Member

    Mar 8, 2011
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    SEO | CRO | Global Strategic Sourcing and Partners
    Either Neil writes his own content or he has the best writers in the world on staff.
    Either way I wanted to talk about image optimization it has been an interest of mine lately and I haven't found any great posts on BHW about it.
    Whose work is better to reference than Neil Patel who explains complex SEO methodologies to a T. In this post I will reference his materials from these two blog posts on Quick Sprout:

    http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/11/05/image-optimization-102-the-advance-guide-to-seo-for-images/ &
    [specifically the section on getting image links]

    Images are often overlooked and I have seen alot of sites lately that ignore the power that images bring not through direct traffic but in what images have to offer in terms of content enhancements.

    I'll add 2 sections in this thread to condense the information from these posts by Patel and curate an image optimization guide for all to use.
    First section will be an overview of why image optimization is important
    Second will be a step by step guide to image optimization and getting image links

    Section 1: Why Image Optimization is More Important Than Ever

    The quality and optimization of websites is improving, and in top niches on page SEO is more important than ever with more ranking factors from author rank and publisher attributes to social signals fueled by the ability to share content. These are the sexy newest crazes - but what about the tried and true?

    Truly brilliant optimization of a web page, or ANY TYPE OF WEB BASED CONTENT there are static factors including images used, the importance of headlines and keyword density, as well as being unique and also interesting.

    Images are not just important on your website properly optimizing them can give you the edge. In a race where there are 2 very well prepared and equally matched competitors, the one who ate right that day and got enough rest will win. Same in SEO - if you are going into a competitive niche you better have your site images optimized with proper alt tags and titles at the very least or it's like eating 12 giant pieces of triple chocolate cake before the big race :D

    Images are everywhere they can enhance and create further unique content for your brand, company, or products in every piece of content you create. Likewise unoptimized images miss HUGE opportunities to create a unique presence online and get your content further opportunities to spread and become indexed.

    This guide will help you spread and get your pictures indexed - I'm going against Neil on 1 thing. Ranking images in Google at this point is all but useless except under one circumstance when you are optimizing for a product or service for which the image being optimized has a strong call to action, phone number, and web address within the image itself.

    Because all images can now be previewed in a large window without leaving Google images. It is NOT pointless to look to get your images indexed as fresh content however. Hear me out on one more point: Just because ranking in Google won't provide a ton of traffic to the images themselves, you will create a reason to get more backlinks to the hosted page or syndicated content

    Additionally if you are using images for local optimization your images should be tagged with meta data which would probably be optional (it is if you are on an android device you have to give google access to your location).

    This meta data (namely geolocation) is weighted highly in locally optimized websites and content for local listing pages.

    Optimize your images. It's worth the few minutes it takes...and without further conversation:

    Section 2: A Guide to Image Optimization and Acquiring Image Links

    I'm going to give the short bulleted version of Neil's post which can be read in its entirety here:

    Ranking factors and how to implement first. Then some advice from Neil's second referenced post here for getting image backlinks.

    I'll use his example for the sake of time.

    Example Image:

    Alt tags

    Alt="Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog"
    <img src="http://www.quicksprout.com/foggygoldengatebridge.jpg" alt="Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog" />

    Long descriptions

    <img src="http://www.quicksprout.com/foggygoldengatebridge.jpg" alt="Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog" longdesc="http://www.quicksprout.com/imageseo.html" />

    The key to creating good alt tags are:

    • [*=center]Describe the image, don't just stuff in keywords.
      [*=center]It should be keyword rich.
      [*=center]It needs to be short and to the point.
    File name

    Using the same Golden Gate Bridge example, you want your image file name to be descriptive of what the image is about. And because there are billions of images out there, you don't want to use a generic image file name like "goldengatebridge.jpg".
    Instead you want to use something a bit more descriptive, such as "foggygoldengatebridge.jpg". That image file name does a much better job at describing the image than using a generic name that will be tough to compete for in the rankings.

    File size

    Keep it small use skitch.com to compress images further
    EXIF data (specifically important for local based searches)

    EXIF stands for exchangeable image file format, which allows you to add various types of meta data to the actual image file. In other words, it will be embedded to the image itself, so wherever it goes, the meta data goes with it.
    EXIF data is even a more detailed than the alt tag and long description. It caries data such as:​

    • [*=center]Was the flash on or off when the picture was taken.
      [*=center]What type of camera was the image taken with.
      [*=center]The aperture speed that was used.
      [*=center]Date and time the picture was taken.
      [*=center]The image height and width.
    Rich snippets

    Unlike the other image optimization tips, this one tags an image to your website or business. That way if you have 1 image that is highly related to your business, it will show up when someone Google's your business.

    tools for rich snippets: Implementation Rich Snippets From Google
    Quality Check and test: Structured Data Tool from Webmaster Tools

    Anchor text

    Just like ranking a web page, you can increase your image rankings by building links to it. And the richer the link anchor text, the higher the image will typically rank.
    So if I want to rank that image of the Golden Gate Bridge for "Golden Gate Bridge", I would build links with the anchor text "Golden Gate Bridge". And just like normal link building you also want to rotate up the anchor text as having too rich anchor text can hurt your rankings.

    [h=3]Content[/h] When you place an image on your website, make sure you wrap content around it. From the text underneath or above the image, the title tag of the page, and even headings, the more the text is related to the image the better off you are.
    Don't spam everything with keywords, but sprinkle them in when it makes sense.
    [h=3]GEO locations [Important for Local][/h] Last, but not least, if you are looking to rank your images for localized keywords, make sure you do all of the things above, but add local keywords to everything.
    For example if your business is located in the San Francisco region, you could have called that Golden Gate Bridge image file:
    And for the alt tag, you could have used "San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog" instead of "Golden Gate Bridge covered by fog".


    This isn't instant - it takes some time and dedication! But it's worth it people experience with their eyes, they don't just read. Great SEO is one thing - creating a great experience and giving people a reason to contact you within that experience is a whole other level!
    To help with that engagement factor and getting actual backlinks to your images we go to the next section:

    How To Get Image Links From quicksprout.com: http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/09/...n-to-help-you-recover-from-penguin-and-panda/
    [The section on getting image links]

    Get image links

    One often overlooked strategy for link building is with your images or your well designed web site.
    For example, if you've redesigned your website and it's got some stunning features, then you might want to share it with some CSS galleries.
    Or you also might want to approach these galleries if you've run some design tests with some pretty interesting results.
    Another approach is to simply order your new site to be redesigned in CSS, and then have it submitted to CSS directories like CSS Mania, Best Web Gallery or CSS Elite.
    You can actually have your site submitted to over 100 galleries for $20 with CSS Gallery List.
    Naturally, if you get accepted into these galleries, you'll get a link from a pretty good PageRank site.
    You can also use high-quality images on your site and posts and then give people permission to embed them on their own sites or pin to Pinterest.
    If you are really ambitious why not create a gallery and then give people access to the images. Right there on the page they can grab the code to embed images on their site.

    To make this strategy really work, you'll want to follow some of these best practices:

    • High-quality images - It's essential that you provide images that look professional. You can't expect anyone to take and use photos that look like stock or are blurry. The better the photos, then the better your image link building strategy will be.​
    • Make delivery easy - Grabbing an image shouldn't be something users have to jump through loops to do. It should be as simple as grabbing the embed code.​
    • Make this a regular feature - Just like frequency with blog posts, displaying new images should be on a predictable schedule. Of course offer an RSS feed for this so people don't have to check back every day.​
    • Compress images - Large images can suppress your page speed, and a huge library of images can slow down your entire site, so make sure you optimize your images for speed by compressing. You can use the WordPress plugin Smush.It.


      Final Thoughts

      This is pain in the arse work - but in dissecting so many websites over the course of the last 2 years from all different industries I see this optimization issue becoming more and more important. At the top of the SERPs for the keywords that matter - EVERYTHING matters.

      But this stretches beyond the SEO just on a site - image SEO enhances all other content and can get you seen in places you couldn't go without well optimized images.

      There is a reason companies like Hubspot spend several million dollars a month on content production and most of their content has images!

      Thanks for reading! Have questions? Post Below - Appreciate thanks if you found this useful :)

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    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013