5 mistakes people make with image searches and SEO

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One thing I have been noticing with a couple people who have asked me for proposals is that their image searches are not optimized as well as they could be.  Many of the things aren’t as obvious to think about, but could definitely cause an issue.  What I love about image search for sites selling or reviewing products is that you can get a good click through and conversion rate when your images show up high in the SERPs.  Here are 5 of the image issues I’ve been finding with websites and potential clients lately.

1.  Alt tag duplication.

It’s bad when a site doesn’t use or fill out their alt tags.  (Alt tags are the tags you see in your code that look like alt=”” and tell the search engines what the image is about.)  What a lot of SEOs and people forget to look for are the alt tags on the same image but different pages.  This in theory could cause the images to compete with themselves when the search engines are looking for which one to show.

This is the product grid page at Football Fanatics which is an awesome store for sports tshirts and more.  Wade Tonkin Manages their program on Share a Sale and it is a seriously good one if you have a Football site.

duplicate alt tags seo mistake
duplicate alt tags seo mistake

This next shot is when I click to find more info and we find the same alt tags for the same image.  By altering their alt tags to be more descriptive, use a different keyword phrase, etc… they could potentially get more traffic from image results.

competing alt tags on multiple pages
duplicate alt tags seo mistake 2



2.  Alt tag duplication mistake 2

The next version of alt tag duplication is when you have multiple images on the same page and they all have the same alt tags.  This too could start to confuse the search engines for which to show.  At the same time you are missing out on opportunities to rank for more image searches by not renaming them each for relevant terms and images.  By adding in modifiers or even using different phrases you could make them unique and help them to rank better for more terms.  Here is an example from one of my favorite stores The Fruit Company.  They also have an awesome affiliate program on Share a Sale managed by Jedd Duddfield.  I highly recommend it!

same alt tag on the same page seo issue
same alt tag on the same page seo issue

3.  Datafeed marketing image mistakes.

When people talk about SEO issues with their datafeeds by submitting their product descriptions, etc… to shopping engines, Affiliate Networks, etc… they often forget two image optimization issues.  1.  To rename all of their images before sending them out and 2.  Renaming all of their alt tags.  By sending out the image name with the same alt tags on each you are creating your own competition every time that image and alt tag are used and show up.

4.  Keyword stuffing your tags and names

One thing some SEOs get carried away with are writing to much for the description.  Try to be detailed and use modifiers that people would search for, but try not to go overboard with them.  Keep them short, simple and what people would be searching for to buy.  Don’t just stuff keywords in because you think they are important.

5.  Not naming your images

Many sites forget to use keywords for the names of their images.  The tech team and designers usually fight back on this, but having properly named images instead of the naming system the tech and design team create is vital for image optimization.  It could mean the difference between appearing and not as the name of the image is a large ranking factor.

There are tons of things that go into image optimization like links, copy, etc…. Unfortunately images are tricky when you get to large sites with tons of them because they take a ton of work to optimize when you have to find each appearance.  If you notice you aren’t getting as much out of image searches as you’d like, try thinking about these 5 seo tips for image searches and then look at what else may be hurting your rankings for image SEO.

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5 thoughts on “5 mistakes people make with image searches and SEO”

  1. Hey Adam,

    Thanks for reviewing our product images. You see we have to compromise on many things when you deal with such a large scale of products. It would be easy to do if we only carried 500 products but we have over 250,000 on the site. The magnitude of work would be better spent on other areas of optimization.

    Dave Capone
    Director of Search Technology

    1. Hi Dave,

      You guys have awesome SEO and you do a great job. In the post I mention that some sites have too many images to be able to deal with so you pick and choose when you can. I chose your store at random as this is a very popular occurring issue and because I love your work and products. Same with the Fruit Company. They are one of my favorites as well.

      You are doing an awesome job and I enjoy seeing your work!


    1. That should make it a bit more unique so yes. Then you can change the alt tag. I would completely rename it and give it a matching alt tag though if that is an option.

  2. It is in reality a great and useful piece of information. I’m satisfied that yyou simply
    shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this.

    Thank you for sharing.

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