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How to Get More Traffic with Google Image Search

Images are the secret recipe for traffic.

We all know that keywords, SEO, and great content can drive more traffic.

There are so many great ways to get more traffic. So why should you only use a handful?

If you take a closer look at my blog, you will surely notice that I have already tried a few underestimated strategies to gain more traffic.

(I'm a huge fan of competitive advantage, also known as the first mover advantage.)

I've covered how to get more traffic using the Google Search Console and we've talked about 301 redirects too.

You don't have to use the same old strategies over and over again.

Today I want to show you something new. An SEO strategy that you've probably never heard of and probably never used!

I'm talking about image search to attract visitors to your website.

Most online content is a good mix of text and images.

Texts are popular and important.

But also pictures.

Very important, in fact.

It's easy to forget that images are also content. Images are an essential part of any content marketing strategy.

When people are looking for content, they are often looking for images as well.

This is why Google's image search is so useful.

Is it used often? Does that bring anything?

Metrics are hard to find.

Why? Because Nate Smith, former product manager at Google Images, says, "These statistics are not intended for the public."

Does that mean now that we are completely in the dark?

I found some information on Quora.

  • 10.1% of Google traffic can be found on images.google.com. Since 55% can be found on google.com and 24.7% on mail.google.com, you can tell from this what role the image search plays.
  • The daily page views from Google Images are above one billion! This tidbit comes from Benjamin Ling, director of search products at Google. This statistic is already seven years old! If we consider the growth of Google, we can expect a much larger number today.
  • Google Images has ten billion images. In the year 2010! This number has certainly increased dramatically over the years.

We are dealing with huge numbers here.

And we mustn't forget that the good old search sometimes also spits out images. Many searches trigger image results.

What I'm saying is that Google's image search can be the magic bullet for your website traffic.

And you've probably never used this miracle cure.

This will change now.

You can take advantage of Google's image search to attract visitors to your website.

I will now show you exactly how you can do that.

Optimize your images for Google

Before we get into the topic of how to get more traffic with images, I have to explain to you how to optimize your images.

You probably already know the basics of SEO.

Optimizing your images is very similar to optimizing your website.

Images are rated according to criteria similar to websites.

There are different placements, as with the normal search results. Some placements are inherently better than others.

The very first image is the same as the first search result on the first page.

The results of the image search are more varied and there are many more of them. Each row contains four to five pictures.

And if we start from the psychology of visual perception, we can assume that people react differently to images than they do to text.

Have you ever noticed that the image search brings up an extremely large number of search results? Hundreds and thousands of images for every keyword!

There seems to be no end to the page.

You have to scroll a lot to get to the end:

That's why users look at a lot of pictures.

Now does that mean that SEO is useless in this case? Your picture could end up being found even if it wasn't among the top results.

Not so fast.

Your image could get lost in the multitude of SERPs if you don't optimize it.

How do you optimize your images?

You need to be knowledgeable about image SEO.

I've already written an article about optimizing images, but I want to briefly summarize it here.

You have to edit the filenames. This is a small and often overlooked detail.

Most cameras do not give the images user-friendly filenames. (The names are also not search engine friendly). Many images are named DSC_0001.jpg, and so on.

You'll need to rename your file to describe the content.

This picture of mine is called “widget-about-2.png”.

It can be found in the About section, which is why I gave it an appropriate name. (The number 2 indicates that this image is the second version.)

You'll need to edit the images' alt tags. Alt tags are metadata that tell search engines what to see in the image.

Optimizing the alt tags has two advantages. You help the search engines to understand what can be seen in the picture and thus improve your SEO at the same time.

The perfect description is short and tagged with keywords.

Since the alt tags are actually intended to help users with visual impairments, they need to be optimized accordingly.

Each alt tag should contain a detailed description of the image. Under no circumstances should you do keyword stuffing.

Back to my picture:

It's located above the “About Neil Patel” section, so I've named it “About Neil Patel” to reflect the text on the page.

Simple, isn't it?

Not complicated at all.

Simple and to the point. This is what all of your alt tags should look like.

Compress your pictures.

Your images shouldn't be too big and take up little space.

Fortunately, files can be compressed.

You can minimize the storage space with Compressor.io or Optimizilla.com without affecting the quality of your images.

Now let's take a look at how image search can be used to generate a little extra traffic.

Create unique images

I say it with full conviction: Stock photos are crap.

Okay, not all of them. But if you only use stock photos, you are doing yourself a disservice.

Most stock photos lack personality and that can negatively impact your brand. That's the way it is.

Original photos are always a better choice.

Do not you believe me? Let yourself be convinced!

Here are two similar images. Which is the stock photo?

If you guessed the second, you're right! The first is from Sprudge and the second is a free photo from Pixabay.

You can clearly see that Sprudge put a lot of effort into this photo so that the image perfectly reflected the brand.

That's just one of the reasons why you should take your own photos.

But there is a small caveat.

Sometimes you have no other choice. Sometimes you have to resort to stock photos because you don't have the change to commission your own photos.

But that's totally okay!

Readers have got used to stock photos and are addressed by them.

In my personal experience, the cover picture of any of my articles can be a stock photo.

The cover photo of this article is also a stock photo.

This is the case with almost all of my contributions.

So always stay relaxed. You must not always use your own photo!

To get all the SEO benefits, you should think about using your own photos.

Why?

If you take your own pictures, it has a direct impact on your SEO.

Original photos are associated with your website.

Why is that important? When someone searches for an image, they are likely backlinking the originator as well.

If you use a stock photo, you are not the author. Then people cite the stock photos page as the source.

Most people prefer to use original images and do not like to use stock photos.

If your images are unique, high quality, and engaging, they will likely get selected too.

More importantly, these images will appear on the first page of search results.

I'll show you what I mean by that. If you search for “Content Marketing Pyramid” you will find these results:

The picture appears on many pages, but the picture in the first position comes from the original source:

If someone comes across many versions of the same image, then they are likely choosing the first search result.

This is how the image search works.

If your website is getting a bit of traffic and your images are the top result for a keyword, you are likely to appear in the first position of the image search results.

Then you will get even more traffic.

In addition, your site will look much more professional if you use your own photos and images. Win win!

Find relevant keywords

Here's a great trick you can use.

First, however, I would like to explain to you why you should find keywords for image search.

As with other content, images have one main keyword. This should be included in the file name and in the alt tag.

In this example, the keyword is “vintage shoes”.

But that's not all.

The latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords are also important.

sounds complicated, but it isn't. LSI keywords are keywords that are related to the main keyword.

If your main keyword is "Boston Mechanic", you should include "Boston Repairs" as an LSI keyword.

LSI keywords add diversity to your keyword strategy.

Take a look at this diagram that shows some of the benefits of using LSI keywords:

LSI keywords are usually more accurate than the corresponding main keyword. They help readers find the right content.

Maybe you have used LSI keywords for your texts before. You should also use them for your pictures.

Even two similar keywords can lead to very different results.

When I search for "Content SEO" I find this:

But if I search for “content optimization” instead, I find different results:

Although these words are synonyms, searching for images will produce different results.

Your LSI keyword can target a completely different audience.

Conveniently, you can find good LSI keywords with the image search.

Related search terms are shown at the top:

This is a great source for SEO.

These are terms that are really searched for. A lot of it.

Just click the arrow to see more suggestions.

You can come up with tons of suggestions with little effort.

But it gets even better. You can run the keywords through Google's Keyword Planner to find even more keywords.

So you can easily find LSI keywords and that too for free.

You can even find long-tail keywords using this strategy.

Long-tail keywords are very similar to LSI keywords. Both complement your main keyword and help you get more traffic.

Long-tail keywords are also great for the alt-tag. While you shouldn't be using them exclusively, you can use them for the images on your 5-10 most popular pages.

The automatic suggestions of the image search are ideally suited to find long-tail keywords.

Here are a few suggestions I found while searching for “rent a car”.

You can easily turn these suggestions into long-tail keywords: rent a car for graduation, rent a car for vacation, etc.

Even more traffic and only a few seconds of work.

So you can present yourself to a new audience and get an SEO boost.

Use relevant images

It sounds simple at first, but there is more to it than it first appears.

By “relevant” are meant images, that have to do with the topic.

That shouldn't be a problem, should it? As it turns out, you could get thousands of visitors, even though the corresponding image has absolutely nothing to do with your website.

Elisa Gabbert once said on WordStream that most of the image search traffic to her website comes from people who search for “Jeff Bridges”.

Why? The blog contains exactly one picture of this actor.

And yet it gets the most traffic from the image search.

That's a problem. The people who search for “Jeff Bridges” don't want to read a blog.

The same principle applies to your website.

If you run a blog about sales strategies and you've just written an article called “What a Salesperson Can Learn From Jeff Bridges” (just one example!), That can happen to you too.

Then if you use a picture of Jeff Bridges, you have the same problem.

Most people looking for Jeff Bridges definitely won't be interested in an article on sales strategy. You are looking for entertainment or the latest rumors.

Or they are looking for information on Jeff Bridges “young”, “wife”, “guy” or “iron man”.

When these people come to your website about sales strategies, they'll jump off immediately.

To avoid this, you have to use images that are related to your topic.

Infographics are very suitable for this.

I'm speaking from experience because I've created and used countless infographics in my career.

Such an infographic is ideal for improving your SEO and at the same time providing additional information about your content.

Infographics can attract thousands of visitors to your website and make you an authority in your industry in no time at all.

But you don't have to create a suitable infographic for every piece of content. But you should always use images that are related to your niche.

This is how you can qualify your traffic. Then only the people who are interested in your site will find your content.

Then the SEO of your images will also improve. The images are linked to the content of your website and thus increase your traffic.

Watermark your images

Watermarks are used by almost every photographer and artist, but strangely, only very few bloggers.

Most bloggers believe that such a watermark is for copyright only.

While that's true, it's not the main benefit for your blog.

You can get even more traffic with a watermark.

You may have noticed that the content marketing pyramid image has a watermark in it.

You can see immediately where the picture comes from and it also contains a link.

Everyone who uses the image not only knows who the author is, but also immediately knows where to find similar content.

This picture even contains a whole sentence that asks for a citation from the author. You don't have to do it that way, but it can't hurt either.

Some pictures also contain details, like this graphic:

The watermark shows a URL and a reference to a social network.

This is how you can send traffic to your website and social media channels. When someone visits your social media page, they will often also check out your website.

You should use a prominent watermark like the one in this picture:

(This watermark even contains the logo. A nice change of pace)

If the watermark is too small, it can easily be overlooked.

Some watermarks can be larger than others.

If you want to add a marker to your main image, it can be a little larger.

But if you want to mark a small photo, the watermark shouldn't take up too much space.

You are probably wondering whether you should mark all of your pictures or just a few of them.

You can decide for yourself. There is no right or wrong here.

Always remember that this way everyone can find your website, no matter where the picture is shared.

So if you want to be on the safe side, you should watermark all of your images.

Conclusion

When I tell my customers to try SEO for image search, I am often stupidly looked at.

They strongly believe that keywords and meta descriptions are much more important.

They are right about that, but you shouldn't do without optimizing your images.

Of course, the first thing you have to do is deal with the basics.

But images are also super important, especially if you've already tweaked your SEO a bit and have little idea.

You can always use pictures. Sometimes for an article or for a video.

People are always looking for good pictures.

That's why you can get more traffic so quickly and easily with the image search.

Most note-takers and SEO consultants ignore this aspect entirely.

Don't you want that Yours Images are found? So now you know what to do.

But I want to say one thing quickly.

I keep mentioning it when I speak of written content, but it also applies to images: SEO is completely useless if your content is bad.

It's hard but true.

If your pictures are not good, no one will want to use them.

Even if your picture appears in the first position on the first page of search results, that is by no means a guarantee that it will be used.

You must first make an effort to create an image that will catch the eye.

Then you can revise it to improve your organic traffic.

Do you already have experience with SEO for image search?

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