What Google Latest Search Engine Update Means to Google Images SEO

Google has recently removed the “view image” button in Google Images. This means that web visitors must go to the websites that the images are hosted on to see the full image. Before, web users were able to expand and view images directly on Google Images.

For example, if I were to search for “Nike shoes” in Google Images and click on one of the images shown in the search results, the larger version of the image will appear on the right-hand side. Under the image, a button of Nike is shown and I can click on it to go to the product page.

Image SEO

This new change creates opportunities for businesses to generate more quality organic traffic to their websites from Google Images.

To optimize for Google Images SEO, here are three tactics you should use:

1. Use Google Vision AI

Google Vision AI is a new artificial intelligence tool that can analyze and understand an image. The AI tool can also determine the type of photography (e.g. aerial photography) and contents of the image. The contents include:

  • landmarks
  • labels related to the image
  • web entities
  • properties (e.g. HEX color)
  • likelihood of the image being safe search (e.g. racy or adult-content)

I have uploaded an aerial image that I took overlooking Vancouver and here are the results:

Google Cloud Vision AI Landmark
Google Cloud Vision AI Landmark
Google Cloud Vision AI Labels
Google Cloud Vision AI Labels
Google Cloud Vision AI Properties
Google Cloud Vision AI Properties
Google Cloud Vision AI Safe Search
Google Cloud Vision AI Safe Search
Google Cloud Vision AI Web
Google Cloud Vision AI Web

By learning how Google views your images, you can see whether you need to make changes to your website. For example, you may want to capture a closer shot of your product (e.g. shoes or accessories) so Google can understand your image more easily.

2. Optimize Alternative Text and Title

Alternative text is HTML markup that provides textual description of an image. Alternative text is used so visually impaired website users can use the audio version of a webpage and listen to the description of an image.

Googlebots also use alternative text and title to gain textual meaning of an image and display the image in Google Images. Hence, it’s vital for you to write alternative text  and title for each image you have on your website so the images can rank in Google Images.


Alternative Text
Alternative Text Example

3. Include Targeted Keywords in Image File Names

Google uses keywords in file names to gain textual understanding of images. To leverage this, include targeted in file names to optimize the search rankings of the images. For example, if you have an image of a men’s Hugo Boss wallet, include the targeted keywords “men’s Hugo Boss wallet” in the file name so the image can rank for those search queries.

Google latest change to Google Images creates a new opportunity for businsses to attract quality organic traffic through Google Images SEO. By using the three tactics above, you can optimize images on your website for related queries by helping Google better understand your images and gain textual understanding of your images.

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