Weekly SEO news: 24 November 2009

Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

This week, we're taking a look at Google Image Search. Being listed with the right image for the right search term can bring the right visitors to your website. We have six tips that help you to get your images on Google's first results page.

In the news: Google is testing a new local AdWords display type and displays site hierarchies in search results, Bing updates their algorithms and gains market share and more.

Table of contents:

We hope that you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to get more out of your website. Please pass this newsletter on to your friends.

Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Image optimization: get more visitors by being listed at the very top of Google's search results

Google Images has indexed billions of images. If your image can be found for the right keyword, then you will get targeted visitors to your website.

Why images can help you to get more visitors

Depending on the search query, Google displays several images above the regular search results. For example, try this search for German Shepherd Dog:

How Google Images can help you with SEO

The images can be found at the top of the search results and they are linked with web pages. If someone clicks on the image, the person will be taken to the web page that shows the image.

How to optimize your images so that they can be found

If you have a website about German Shepherd dogs, then wouldn't it be great if an image from your website was listed above the regular results? You'd get many additional website visitors then.

There are several things that you can do to improve the position of your images in Google Image Search:

  1. Use a file name that contains the keywords for which you want to be found. In this example, the file name german-shepherd-dog.jpg would be a good idea. Separate the words with a hyphen.

  2. Use a descriptive Image Alt attribute text. It usually makes sense to use the same keywords that have been used for the file name. In this example, the Image Alt Attribute would be "German Shepherd Dog":

    <img src="german-shepherd-dog.jpg" alt="German Shepherd Dog">

  3. In the same way, you should use the Image Title attribute:

    <img src="german-shepherd-dog.jpg" alt="German Shepherd Dog" title="German Shepherd Dog">

  4. The textual content on the web page before and after the image also impacts the position of your image in Google's Image Search. In this example, the text "German Shepherd Dog" should appear close to the image.

  5. Bigger images seem to get featured more often on Google's first result page. The bigger your image, the easier it is to get at the top of Google's regular result page. Include the Width and Height attributes in your image tag to show search engines the size of the image:

    <img src="german-shepherd-dog.jpg" alt="German Shepherd Dog" title="German Shepherd Dog" width="600" height="400">

  6. Optimize the rest of your web page for the chosen search term. If the complete web page has been optimized for a keyword then it is easier to get good listings for images that are on the page.

Make sure that the image that you optimize for your keyword also looks attractive. If no-one wants to click on the image then it won't help your website if the image can be found on Google's first result page.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Local typeGoogle is testing a new local AdWords display type

"Google upgraded AdWords to allow advertisers to add the full address to their search ads through location extensions. It appears that they are now testing a new ad layout similar to the one developed for Local Listing Ads."

Google now displays site hierarchies in search results

"Google usually shows a green web address, or URL, at the bottom of each search result to let you know where you're headed. Today we're rolling out an improvement that replaces the URL in some search results with a hierarchy showing the precise location of the page on the website. The new display provides valuable context and new navigation options. The changes are rolling out now and should be available globally in the next few days."

Bing Bing gains market share

"While Google remains the dominant player among small business advertisers, Yahoo! and Bing (formerly MSN) have gained significant market share since the third quarter of 2008, as much as 5 percent. [...]

Additionally, the report shows click-through rates (CTR) improved year over-year across all the engines, with the biggest improvement on Yahoo!, where CTR improved 123 percent from Q3 2008 to Q3 2009."

Related: Microsoft's Bing gets 'stickier,' grabs more local dollars.

Forum discussion: Bing have updated their ranking algorithms

"Just noticing a new set of SERP's has been rolled out and so far it looks okay minus the wikipedia domination. [...]

Bing engineers may need to refine their trust algos. I'm seeing a SERP where Bing is giving a poor quality subdomain a pass because the main domain has a high amount of inbound links (nearly a million). [...]

A whole slough of 301'-ed pages that had links to them but were previously stuck in the abyss have suddenly gained the credit that they deserved and have moved forward."

Google founders originally believed search should be non-profit

"All the recent debate about the Google index and newspapers, and Google's interest (and problems) in indexing out-of-print books, would all be a much different discussion if the Google index were run as a non-profit. And it is rather ironic to note that Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, strongly believed that search engines should not be commercial enterprises. [...]

The problem with the Google search engine at the time, Lent recalls, is that Larry and Sergey didn't want to commercialize it, and Lent was anxious to become an entrepreneur. Their mantra at the time was more socialistic than entrepreneurial. Originally, 'Don't be evil' was 'Don't go commercial'."

Search engine newslets

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3. New in IBP: Google Universal results

IBP's ranking checker now supports Google Universal results

If you check the position of your website in Google's search results with IBP's ranking checker then you can now choose if IBP should also consider Google Maps and Google News results.

IBP enables you to choose whether you just want to check the regular website results or if you also want to include the local search and news results. You can download the trial here.

IBP Windows 7

Using current tools is very important for search engine optimization. Things that worked last year might not work today. IBP is always up-to-date with the latest algorithms of Google and all other major search engines.

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4. Success stories

Val Zamulin"I couldn't be happier with the time saving facilities."

"I run a medium-sized SEO business under www.seologist.com and I couldn't be happier with the amazing service and time saving facilities that IBP provides to my entire staff! Way to go, IBP and thanks for the terrific solution!"
Val Zamulin, www.seologist.com

Tell us how IBP helped your business and 230,000 readers will see YOUR website

Let us know how IBP has helped you to improve your website and we might publish your success story with a link to your website in this newsletter. The more detailed your story is, the better.


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5. Copyright issues

We've seen that quite a few websites use the articles from this newsletter without mentioning us as the source. Some websites even use our articles to promote their own services.

You are allowed to use our articles on your website but the links in the articles must remain intact and we must be mentioned as the source with a link to our website (see the box at the bottom of our index page).

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6. Previous articles

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