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Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 at 7:30 am

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Clickthroughs

By Mariel Bacci
October 17th, 2011

Why Segment for Images?

It is important to always be aware of how each of your prospective visitors manages information. Some are brand loyalists, some buy what their friends already own or have mentioned they would like to own, some look for the best bargain, and others just want to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible (to name a few behavioral characteristics).  Depending on what you are looking for, you and your visitors probably use one or more of these strategies in both your online and offline shopping experiences. This post will help you gather prospective visitors who prefer to use images to compare information.

One of my favorite ways to shop is to see something I like in the store, write down the designer and the style, and go home and search for it on Google image search.  I click on the first three images of what I want, compare their prices if they are links to a retailer, and purchase the cheapest one.  I also use Google image search when putting together presentations, early stage online shopping (yesterday I looked for “blue coffee pot”) and would use it frequently to find images for projects while I was in advertising school.

While reviewing a new clients’ data in Google Analytics the other day, I noticed that they had no way of tracking if people searched for them using image search on any of the major browsers including Yahoo and Google.  Their data is being tracked using Google Analytics, and there is still a lot of confusion about how GA accounts for /image traffic.  I have put together a step by step guide for you here so that you can start segmenting for image search in Google Analytics.  I have also included some information on how to optimize your images for organic searches.  With this new segment you will have better insights into how people are coming to your site, which gives you some context for what their intent/needs are when searching you’ll more effectively be able to optimize some of your SEO efforts based on the data you find.

How To Segment For Google Images

1. Choose Advanced Segments in your Google Analytics account.

2. Click ‘Create new custom report

3. Drag ‘Source’ into the ‘Dimension or Metric’ box.

4. Under ‘Condition” select ‘contains.’

5. Under ‘Value’ type ‘images.google’

6. Click ‘Add “or” statement.’

7. Drag ‘Referral Path’ into the ‘dimension or metric’ box.

8. Under ‘Condition’ choose ‘contains.’

9. Under ‘Value’ type ‘/imgres’

10. To the right of ‘Name Segment’ at the bottom of the page name your new image segment and then press ‘Save Segment’

Improve Image Tracking and SEO

Now that you are tracking your images, here are a few tips on how to make sure your sites images are optimized to drive the most qualified traffic to your site. Let’s see how we can optimize the image below.

1.  Make sure you name your images properly. The images you use on your site are often named like this one, ‘P1000617.jpg.’  It should be named something like ’1973 Blue Jeep CJ7 in Excellent Condition’ instead.  This will help blind search engines to find your beautiful image and help reinforce the meaning of what your prospects are viewing.  Make sure you name your images for the people who might read them, using keyword loaded titles is a turn-off to your clients.

2.  Use the ALT Tag! The purpose of the Alt Tag is to show readers who cannot view the actual image, what they should be looking at.  Make sure you use them in your e-mail campaigns where display images are turned off as the norm.  The ALT Tag should be proper english and can either match the title or not.  In this case we could use our title or say something like, ‘Pretty blue 1973 CJ7 with a hard top.’

3.  Add captions to your images.  Adding captions will serve to both improve your SEO by making your image easier for search engine crawlers to find and will also add value to your prospects.  By labeling your image, you are reinforcing the value of your products, your brand and your story.  A caption for our Jeep image might be, ‘Thinking about buying a jeep?  Check out our full line of Jeeps from Cj7′s to Wranglers here!’

4. Link your images to a relevant page on your site.  Images can be a great way to acquire more wonderful and qualified traffic but if you don’t keep the scent trail strong, you will lose potential conversions in no time.  Just like you need to properly link your PPC ads, you need to properly link your images.

5.  Lastly, and most important to us data miners, you absolutely need to tag your images.  When you tag your images properly, you can see what is and is not working with your campaigns, product pages, and scent trails.  There is no point in trying new things if you aren’t sure if they are helping or hurting your business.  Tag your images to improve your bottom line.

See our new optimized image here!

Pretty Blue Jeep CJ7 with a hard top.

Thinking about buying a jeep? Check out our full line of Jeeps from Cj7's to Wranglers here!

Do you have any tips for optimizing images?  Any success stories after you started doing image tracking?  How often do you use image search in your everyday life? Do you need help optimizing your images?

Add Your Comments

Comments (44)

  1. From my point of view the most important thing is to name image correctly, but you can also use. a creative one.

  2. Thanks for the useful post. I used to not bother about giving my images a proper name. After reading this, I am going to start renaming all my pictures! Thanks for the insight.

  3. Thanks for this post. I never though about naming my images to help my seo but I will start to now.

    Thanks again!

  4. I do not know if you have any experience with wordpress.com, but does this automatically happen when you upload an image and name it on a free wordpress blog? (by free, I mean still have the .wordpress in the URL)

  5. Yes, you have the option to name your image in WordPress when you upload it. You can also offer a caption and an ALT tag.

  6. I didn’t know many ways to optimize image with alt tag, caption, link and tags.

    Thank you for useful tips.

  7. Hi Mariel,

    Don’t mind explaining in further detail how to do an ALT tag? Is it html code?

  8. Great article about images and SEO. A lot of people don’t think about the photos on the site and hopefully they make their way to this article.

  9. img html code

  10. Image searchers don’t tend to stick around too long, but thanks for the tips!

  11. It is true that people landing on your site via image search are usually unqualified but by not tagging the images properly it is a disadvantage to everyone, including the qualified prospects.

  12. About point number 1… I’ve been wondering about the file name of images and as to whether or not it makes a significant difference from an SEO perspective. I build small business websites and lot of the images I use are stock, so they’re save on my hard drive as “photostock_392345934″ or something like that. I usually just leave the file names alone. But this is good info. I’ll start renaming the photos appropriately.

  13. Sometimes I forget to rename my images though I make sure that I put ALT tags to them. This is another reminder for me to do it consistently.

  14. Thanks for this. It’s really good advice that I’m going to follow. I’m wondering how to do alt tags in CSS. Do you know if there is a way?

  15. It should be available in the HTML code for images in CSS. Unless your image is a background image. See this forum for workarounds

  16. It’s amazing how often this is overlooked. I see it a lot where someone will want to rank high for their keyword in a text search and don’t care what so ever about ranking for images. I think it’s generally overlooked, people see ranking for an image underrated.

    Anyway great article, I’ll be implementing the Analytics segment now!

  17. I have read that giving pictures a proper title without overstuffing keywords and proper use of alt tag description can help seo for your site. Nice tips, it also helps people when they do a google image search to find what they’re looking for. Geo tagging the pics through something like flikr or panaramio helps seo as well.

  18. You know I experienced this for the first time with a site of mine. I watched my analytics for a term sky rocket early on. It gave me an inflated feeling of success in a way, I said to my self, should I get excited about this?

  19. Nice jeep in the picture, my first jeep looked like that!

  20. Very well explained Mariel. I also use google analytics but I don’t have any idea about this images. Now that I knew maybe I will give this a try.

  21. Want to relive the hayday? Currently in the process of trying to sell it ;)

  22. Thanks for this. It’s really good advice that I’m going to follow. I’m wondering how to do alt tags in CSS. Do you know if there is a way?

  23. Thanks for the infor. I have learnt a lot from this article. I ak still learning more about css

  24. I run a cad design firm. I was told when designing my website that adding keyword text to images could be a strike against me in landing page evaluation for my PPC campaigns. Is this true?

  25. So true. Some people don’t understand the importance of Alt tags. Search engines cannot get more information about the image, if there are no Alt tags.

  26. Naming the images properly is an important point. Too many websites fail to name images (or use alt tags).

  27. A lot of people think that just an ALT tag will do the trick.

    However, you must realize that Google CAN NOT scan an image and figure out what it is (yet…)

    This is why it is important to accurately name the picture and write the ALT tags.

    I have seen massive increases in SERP’s just by correctly labeling my images.

    Great post.

  28. If you saturate your images with keywords, and the search engine picks up on it, it will count against you. If you label your images properly, it can greatly increase any SEO efforts because it increases the amount of valuable content bots are finding on your site.

  29. I had no idea you could track image searches with Analytics! Thanks!

  30. Thanks a lot. I didnt know this existed for images. I will definitely look into it.

  31. the tags and the descriptions when you mouse over the images are what will really make someone actually click through to the page that picture is linking to.

  32. Ouch, The more I read about SEO the more work I realize we have ahead of us. We have been doing some of the things you suggest for images but not all, oh well back to the proverbial drawing board

  33. I’ve been using the ALT tag but not the others. Will try it and see what happens.

  34. This is very useful info indeed. Although I have been doing some of these image tricks already I had no idea how to track them properly. I build review sites and noticed that when I have named an image with a link i have had visitors to the site,that is using statpress on my blog for tracking. I have currently optimised a cupcake stand site concentrating on the images and pull in a lot of traffic although not ranking on google page one. Certainly a thumps up to pay attention to your images.

  35. Thank you Mariel. I never thought that a name will give a significant in SEO. from now on I will start naming my images. I never give much weight on images because we are not doing an image optimization but because of your advise I’m enlightened.

    God bless!

  36. Thanks for the interesting and comprehensive post. I used to ignore images as well. But I have the habit now to name the images properly with my keywords. Thanks for the neat tips!

  37. I have just tried this on my blog, however, after renaming them they no longer show up. I know HTML is a bit different than php though.

  38. yes true, i’ve proven that. even when i dont use alt tag, the name.jpeg still get indexed in Google images. but ALT tags are more effective. but back in time I’ve checked only 5% of my traffic comes from google images….but it’s still worth trying.

  39. Great article. Never really thought about image optimization beyond the alt tag

  40. Image tracking SEO it something new I learn today and I went thru 2 my pages and named them
    thank you for your post

  41. Very interesting, like most people I never thought about re-naming the photo’s and just relying on the alt tags. Thanks for the article.

  42. Images can boost your traffic but if you do all these tricks, you will spend too much time. And time is money.

  43. Images can boost your blog traffic but you will need a lot of time to do all these tricks. And time is money

  44. I’ve never known about these tricks and I know a lot about SEO. Thank you. This is so great.

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

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