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    Google Images SEO - has the world turned upside down?!


    Hi,

    I've been doing some work for an old employer of mine with bits and bobs on their website. The main thing they want is their images to rank above their competitors on Google. Their website is www . nativeseeds . com . au and one of their competitors is www . nativegrasses . com . au (Kowarra native grasses).

    I've been looking at our site vs Kowarra. It is simply inconceivable how their images are ranking higher than ours. I have attached an image (screenshot) of our page rank vs their page rank, and our image SEO (file name, alt and title) vs theirs. In theory we should be blowing them out of the water.

    They have a page rank of 2.

    ht tp :/ /l ee -m ay .c om /s eo -f ai l. PN G (URL's blocked for new users, I assume to prevent spam but as this isn't spam I hope this is okay).

    We have a page rank of 4.

    Notice also our image file name is "wallaby_grass_lawn_var_hume.jpg" - keywords front and centre.

    Their image (which comes up first in Google images) is "10th%20December%2005%20004.jpg" - complete jibberish to a search engine.

    Our image has a keyword rich alt tag as well as a title tag. Theirs has neither.

    Both images are surrounded by relevant keywords. Neither images have any direct backlinks (although our site does have many more back links than theirs).

    I had our other web developer here (where I currently work) take a look and he can't understand it either. In theory (and technically in practice) we should be right up the top, or at least in front of Kowarra by a long shot. They shouldn't even be ranking at all with file names like that. I don't understand how Google even knows what their images are about with those file names and no alt tags.

    Can anyone shed some light on how this is even possible? Is it image file sizes? Ours is 200kb and theirs is only 15kb due to the big difference in quality. I could try dropping the file sizes but surely that alone can't make this much of a difference when we're far superior SEO-wise in every other way!
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    EGOL
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    Have you ever thought that how many people are clicking on an image determines its ranking?

    Their wallaby grass looks like a nicely trimmed lawn....

    ....your looks like the wallabys chewed it.

    If you were google which would you rank higher... the one that is getting the clicks or the one with the tidy names?
    Last edited by EGOL; Nov 18th, 2012 at 07:59 PM.
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    Hmm, thanks for the link... I have read that the text around the image makes a difference too. I tested if it would increase the ranking of some other images on their site by using captions in the tables (it's a fairly outdated site using nested tables). For example here: ht tp://nativeseeds. com. au/Weeping-Grass%2C-Microlaena-Stipoides .php - you can see on some of the images I added captions with the keywords included.

    Unfortunately this has not changed anything in the past 2 weeks. Also, looking back at the competitors site, they don't have captions of any kind on their images which are still ranking right at the top in images (and in the 4 images when doing a web search also).

    I think I'm just about at my wits end. Even if ours didn't come up first, the competitors images should hardly rank at all, let alone first. Their website is also using all nested tables (even more messily than ours if you look at the markup).

    Any other suggestions? Or can you take a look at the captions / surrounding text on the link I provided and tell me if I've done it in the correct way?

    Thanks again for the reply.
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    Hi EGOL,

    I see your point. Although if the images aren't ranking high in the first place it's certainly hard to get the clicks to begin with.

    Although this is fairly unrelated: Wallaby grass can be used as a lawn but is mostly used at a full length of 30cm - 120cm (depending on the variety) for pasture, reveg etc and most people want to see it at that length because of it's fluffy white seedheads. The lawn photo that we have may not be as good as their lawn photo (personally I think it's better but maybe not everyone else does), but the photos with seedheads are quite superb and also don't rank anywhere near as high as our competitors.

    This is only one particular grass too, they're ranking higher for many other grasses which we have plenty of great photos of.
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    Originally Posted by leevalentine001
    Unfortunately this has not changed anything in the past 2 weeks. Also, looking back at the competitors site, they don't have captions of any kind on their images which are still ranking right at the top in images (and in the 4 images when doing a web search also).
    If you made these changes 2 weeks ago and are ready to throw in the towel, try waiting a little longer. Just because changes are made and picked up by Google in sometimes a short time frame, their algo doesn't update as often.

    Also, make sure you are not signed in to Google and seeing filtered listings. If you are researching and constantly clicking other webpages while signed in, they will show more prominently.

    Rome wasn't built in 2 weeks. More patience and keep testing. You'll get there.

    Comments on this post

    • Test-ok agrees
    • PhilipSEO agrees : One month is a solid timeframe.
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    Firstly I have done no recent research on this so this maybe very old and not effective any more.

    A couple of years ago I decided to sell products on behalf of my customers, I setup up a few pages with the products for sale on and a click through to a main product page with all the details, all fairly standard stuff.

    Now I also thought it would be a good idea to try and get these images high in the image search as it was a topic / subject matter that a lot of people search for images on.

    What I did was name the jpg correctly i.e. widgets.jpg plus with alt text and title text, and also included text around the image supporting the image. Just as many of my competitors had done.

    I then edited each jpg and edited the EXIF data and did a bit of keyword stuffing in there. I have no idea if google read the EXIF data or not but I would bet they do. (you can edit this in photoshop)

    I then gave my customers a small amount of HTML code to post onto their website, this included the image being hosted on my server and a link to their product page with good anchor text to support the image. I also told them to post this everywhere they could, i.e. facebook twitter blogs etc etc. (so backlinking for the image in some respects)

    Within 4 weeks I held the top 5 images and on the first page roughly 1/2 of the first page where images on either my site or my customers sites.

    I am not talking about some obscure keyword here, I was targeting the glamour industry where you will all understand is very competitive. So when I did this it was very successful and I guess it helped that my customers / clients had quite a good following on social media so the images received quite a lot of clicks which helped I am sure.

    As stated in the beginning I have no idea if this will still work but I throw it in just in case its helps.
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    Originally Posted by Chedders
    Firstly I have done no recent research on this so this maybe very old and not effective any more.

    A couple of years ago I decided to sell products on behalf of my customers, I setup up a few pages with the products for sale on and a click through to a main product page with all the details, all fairly standard stuff.

    Now I also thought it would be a good idea to try and get these images high in the image search as it was a topic / subject matter that a lot of people search for images on.

    What I did was name the jpg correctly i.e. widgets.jpg plus with alt text and title text, and also included text around the image supporting the image. Just as many of my competitors had done.

    I then edited each jpg and edited the EXIF data and did a bit of keyword stuffing in there. I have no idea if google read the EXIF data or not but I would bet they do. (you can edit this in photoshop)

    I then gave my customers a small amount of HTML code to post onto their website, this included the image being hosted on my server and a link to their product page with good anchor text to support the image. I also told them to post this everywhere they could, i.e. facebook twitter blogs etc etc. (so backlinking for the image in some respects)

    Within 4 weeks I held the top 5 images and on the first page roughly 1/2 of the first page where images on either my site or my customers sites.

    I am not talking about some obscure keyword here, I was targeting the glamour industry where you will all understand is very competitive. So when I did this it was very successful and I guess it helped that my customers / clients had quite a good following on social media so the images received quite a lot of clicks which helped I am sure.

    As stated in the beginning I have no idea if this will still work but I throw it in just in case its helps.
    Wow thanks for the advice. I might Google how to edit EXIF data in Photoshop as I do have it installed. Backlinking with good anchor text is actually another good idea that I'd overlooked. Usually when I link a photo, I don't think to use anchor text.

    I think I should also try dropping the file size as that seems to be about the ONLY thing I can see that our competitors have done better than us (apart from possibly getting more clicks due to better photos, but it's kind of impossible to be certain of that).

    Also to Lb1878, thanks for the pointer, I actually was signed in to Google when browsing so I'll sign out from now on when checking how our images rank.
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    Originally Posted by leevalentine001
    Wow thanks for the advice. I might Google how to edit EXIF data in Photoshop as I do have it installed. Backlinking with good anchor text is actually another good idea that I'd overlooked. Usually when I link a photo, I don't think to use anchor text.

    I think I should also try dropping the file size as that seems to be about the ONLY thing I can see that our competitors have done better than us (apart from possibly getting more clicks due to better photos, but it's kind of impossible to be certain of that).

    Also to Lb1878, thanks for the pointer, I actually was signed in to Google when browsing so I'll sign out from now on when checking how our images rank.
    Your welcome,
    If using chrome you can also use incognito (click the options top right and click new incognito window) Saves having to log in and out all the time.

    As for saving your images smaller, in photoshop try saving for web device. You can reduce the file size massively without too much loss of quality. It will also speed up your site which google also likes.
    Last edited by Chedders; Nov 19th, 2012 at 06:05 PM.
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    Just a word of caution regarding chedders comments... make sure you fully understand what is being explained before you blindly implement such changes. I have no clue what EXIF data is or what it does and keyword stuffing on a whole is generally a short term return. I am in no way doubting this technique, just advising the OP to do more research, ask more questions and understand what can happen if this is carried out. A lot has changed in two years with Google.

    Chedders, out of curiosity, has this project been abandoned? If you still have these pages, how are the images doing these days?

    Good luck and let us know how things turn out in at least a month ;-)

    P.S. it turns out I do know what the EXIF data is but I still do not know how changing this information has any affect on rankings. I would still bet that backlinks earned from placing these images on external sites and linking back helped drive the rankings of these images.
    Last edited by Lb1878; Nov 19th, 2012 at 09:39 PM.
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    Originally Posted by Lb1878
    Just a word of caution regarding chedders comments... make sure you fully understand what is being explained before you blindly implement such changes. I have no clue what EXIF data is or what it does and keyword stuffing on a whole is generally a short term return. I am in no way doubting this technique, just advising the OP to do more research, ask more questions and understand what can happen if this is carried out. A lot has changed in two years with Google.

    Chedders, out of curiosity, has this project been abandoned? If you still have these pages, how are the images doing these days?

    Good luck and let us know how things turn out in at least a month ;-)

    P.S. it turns out I do know what the EXIF data is but I still do not know how changing this information has any affect on rankings. I would still bet that backlinks earned from placing these images on external sites and linking back helped drive the rankings of these images.
    The project has ended, it was for calendars so quite a short shelve life and images have since been removed. When I said keyword stuffing I did not mean literal, in the EXIF data there are a quite a few fields available to you. such as

    Document Title
    Author
    Author Title
    Description
    Description writer
    Keywords

    And also copyright information plus other sections.

    These fields where filled out with proper meaningful information about the image bearing in mind the target keywords.

    As I said though I have no idea if filling out the EXIF data did had any effect or not and google may just treat it as they do meta tags in normal HTML and the longevity of doing this is unknown so its is pure speculation on my part that this was effective but seeing as google do geotagging of images it does not take a great leap of faith that they are looking at this data when available as that is also where that data is stored. I just don't know if they use it to help index the images.

    EXIF data though is not available on all image types, GIF's and PNG's for example I don't believe carry this information so I would suggest using jpeg which do.

    If I get some spare time (LOL) I will attempt to run a small test to see if I can get a new image into #1 or at least listed highly using this technique for something competitive.

    My thoughts though about EXIF data is that these fields are there to be filled out so why not use them and fill them with meaningful data, same as I would with META tags even if google don't use them others may.

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