Google has tweaked its image search functionality to make it, well, more visually appealing. It has also made it easier for users to surf, adding preview functionality—users can hover their mouse over related search links and an image preview of the first three images for the query appear.
Google last improved its image search in December when it added a new image carousel for viewing large image results within a few swipes. Around the same time Yahoo enhanced its image search function by adding social sharing and continuous scrolling.
These tweaks emphasize, yet again, the importance images can play in maximizing content—including press release distribution. It is little secret that images improve click-through rates on social media posts and blogs. Facebook posts with images offer marketers maximum effectiveness, according to Vitrue.
A recent post on PR Newswire's blog highlights the importance of images in another piece of marketing content: the press release. Photos find their way into four of Google’s properties: universal search, news search, image search, and even Google Maps, it noted. By optimizing their use, "photos can help you multiple your opportunities of getting your content displayed in Google search results." While most people rarely go to the second or third page of results when they do a text search on Google, the behavior is markedly different for image search, it noted.
To take advantage of this search behavior, it suggested:
Understanding how Google organizes search. "Google's search bots see the HTML tags of the images including the image source markup (img src) and the ALT Tags. Google then pulls the image, indexes it and classifies it… Google clusters duplicate and similar images like it does for text. It then renders one of the images in the search results."
Providing the best quality image and common image file format. The former is obvious, the latter, the post said, typically are JPEG (,jpg), PNG, and GIF. "Avoid obscure file type and those not optimized for web viewing."
Including a caption. "Always put important keywords at the start of the caption and keep the entire caption less than 2,000 characters."
Properly naming the image. Include the same keywords in the name of your image as well (keyword-keyword-keyword.jpg). There are conflicting accounts on whether Google actually looks at the information embedded inside the photo itself for indexing purposes, PR Newswire’s blog says. "It is prudent to embed the key information including the caption, location and photo credit in the image itself. This will add context to photos that are found separate from their related content as well as enable the photographer to be identified which is important for rights purposes."