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How to perform well in Google Image Search

Theories, anyone?



11:03 am on Feb 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

How does one make a page perform well in Google's image search? I have a few pages that do well for themselves in it, which is all well and good, but I have no idea why.

Does it work on the same principles as a regular search on Google, or is there more to it, like ALT text, image file names, folder names, etc. that can help make pages and the images therein perform well in Google image search.

Is there much in the way of solid research out there that examines how placement works in the Google image search?

Oliver Henniges

8:26 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I find your question extremely interesting and wanted to make sure it doesn't vanish in the Nirwana.

Almost a thousand people have now emptied their hearts on the effects of Allegra, but hardly anyone realized how much progress google has made on showing images with just this same update. I guess we might gain significant insights into the new algos if we put 20% attention to this branch.

Although I'm quite satisfied with the results and really do wonder how google has identified exactly this one most beautiful image of all my widgets on a search on simply widget, I don't have the faintest idea how the algo worked.


9:05 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

From what I can tell, Google tries to infer the content of pictures from other on page content in addition to the file name and the alt text.

I was trying to figure it ouw a little while ago, and when I did an image search on [blue heron] the first image that came up was greatblue.jpg (no heron) and the alt text had a different bird's name (an obvious cut and paste error.

But they page that the images were on were very definitely about great blue herons, so they were getting the information from elsewhere on the page.

I would go to the effort to associate the words in nearby code blocks, and limit the range of information that is on the page that relates to other topics.

As it is, on my biggest site, Google Images is my #3 SE, and it is closing in on Yahoo!. It is providing about 3 times the traffic as MSN.


9:20 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

My CMS creates thumbnails of images and gives them weird names like GHT56RBG2F4D.jpg and don't has ALT-text for them - still Google Image Search finds them when keywords from the page are queried.


11:23 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A few Google image search ranking factors:

Page URL
Image file name
Image folder name
Page content
Page Title
Image ALT text

but not title attribute in image link.

List is not in order of importance.


11:46 am on Feb 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Since Picasa now writes IPTC info for keywords and captions, a change made to the program after it was bought by Google, maybe Google will begin (or has begun) to look at meta information stored in the image. Looking right now, the Google main page shows this line: A picture is worth a thousand keywords. Google Image Search.

Oliver Henniges

8:29 am on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

> meta information stored in the image

since two years ago I dived a bit into jpeg-encoding I'd love to see more on that. do you have any urls at hand? I cannot imagine google is on the way to automate gestalt-theory, so if there are any means by which I can support search engines to identify my pictures I'd surely do.

On the other hand I'm convinced that there is far more to this than what was said above: I have seven pictures of widgets (out of about 30 pictures total) on my main-page. Seven have widget + color + a few other denominators as alt-text, the seventh has a completely different name, even one I feared to fall into a bad-neighbourhood-trap because of one of its secondary meanings.

Google has picked the seventh, which I found quite amazing. The only visible difference is its size and quality. Another diffenrence occurs, because all seven pictures are embedded into an a-href-sequence. Do you think the latter matters?


2:46 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

IMO alt tag must be the most weighted factor along with page content.


2:50 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Use ALT, Name your images with most appropriate keyword

Oliver Henniges

4:11 pm on Feb 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Why dont you read the thread before posting?
Of course Alt-Text is important, but it doesnt suffice to explain the results.


1:53 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My experience is that you have to be patient.

My site is very graphic intensive, and I've noticed that Images don't update too often.

My page ranks well, but not my images.

The title page routinely has the same words as the image filename, with matching alt tag.

Maybe my graphics are in the sand box, who knows?


5:37 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

GoogleGuy said: "Things like PageRank also apply to image search to some degree ..."


6:34 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Try a search for that blond girl who consistently ranks tops for most searched by WT. You'll note that the first image for her doesn't contain her first or last name anywhere on a rather large page (69k), does not have her name as alt, only in the file name which is first-last-someword.jpg.

Pretty odd, it's also a small picture.


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