In the world of SEO, words are so 2017 now is time to optimize your images
What is SEO image optimization? In this article Pacho gives the easiest explanation there is. But basically Keywords are so 2017, get ready for 2020.
The early days of SEO
Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, when Pamela Anderson was dating Tommy Lee, anyone who wanted to learn a lot too much more about their relationship would fire up Netscape and would head to Altavista to do a search with the keywords “Pamela Anderson” and a very specific video related term so they would be able to learn more about their relationship.
The way it worked back then was not optimal as search engines would rely on a combination of meta information (including Meta-Keywords), page content and some sense of page importance (somehow).
Back in those days, it was pretty easy to rank for any given term. It was the era of banditos who would use combinations of Meta keywords and white on white text in the page to trick users into visiting their website. In other words: The wild west.
Then came a new search engine called google that implemented the page rank and other very smart rules to sort out that huge mess and provide more relevant results to users.
That pretty much changed the game and forced everyone to go back to the drawing board and start doing some real optimization. The fiesta was over.
Now that we move towards the end of the decade, with more and more cell phones being used, the search is evolving again due to two easily accessible modes of entry: The phone microphone and the phone camera.
First came the voice search.
The first new way to launch research was the voice. It has been around for some time now, however it is improving fast, like really fast. In 2019 if your website is not optimized for voice search, you are likely losing business. People are now on the go, asking their phone to find the closest Tacos restaurant. Optimizing for search is not that easy and needs a thorough audit of your content, which obviously we can do for you as part of our SEO Agency services. But to give you an idea of what it entails, let’s say the following:
Now, google can understand your content, and virtually “read” it. What it means is that when someone uses their microphone to say “OK Google, search for the best Tacos restaurant in Montreal” google will start looking at it’s database of voice answers and look for websites where it “read”: “YOUR NAME HERE is the best Tacos restaurant in Montreal”.
This example is pretty straightforward but it can get more complicated with more advanced queries. For example: “OK Google, what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?”. Then google will likely display higher a site that reads: “The airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow is 30 mph” than a site that reads “Unladen swallow – Airspeed = 30 mph”.
Here again, this is a very simplistic way of presenting it and you will definitely need a full audit of your content based on the voice search queries you want to rank for, but you kind of get it right?
Now is the time for Image Optimization.
Sure, Google image search is not a new feature, it’s been around longer than Ricky Martin. Even searching images similar to an uploaded image (or image url) was not added yesterday. However, while it was looking for visually similar images a few years ago, Google is now using AI to understand what the image is about and offer relevant results. And since we are currently relying mostly on google AI, SEO image optimization is no longer a fun “nice to have” it is a “MUST HAVE”
For example, the Google Lens tool now allows user to launch web searches using their phone camera. Not only will it be able to show you similar images, but it will also allow you to isolate any item within the frame, understand what it is and its attributes and look for “it”. Since it can also read text, it can translate or search for it online. Basically anything you “see” in the picture can be searched for.
It’s very likely that in the years to come, this way of searching is going to spread like wild fire, people walking down the street and seeing a nice jacket in a window. Now they can use Image search to look for similar items sold elsewhere.
That means that websites in general and e-commerce sites in particular will need to start optimizing not only their product descriptions but also the way they document their images (using image alt, image description and image caption). This will allow google to understand even better what the product looks like.
You’ve been warned. So go on, and start that project to optimize those couple of hundreds of images that your designers and web developers uploaded back in 2016 without thinking that SEO image optimization might become a thing.
Tags: Marketing SEO Services, Search Optimization