Here’s a quick tip for getting your site onto a page one SERP a little faster. This particular trick has worked wonders for some of my clients, because they are dealing in retail products in which they are competing with a lot of different retailers to get you to buy the same product. Frankly, this is about the lowest of low hanging fruit you can grab if you happen to be in this situation, but it can also help you in B2B and professional services if you play it right.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, but if you can’t find that picture, it’s worthless. Photos can really liven up your OMP, and a featured image is a mandatory element of any post or article you create, but the fact is, your photos don’t have to just take up storage in your database. Pictures have attributes, and because search engines can’t “see” what your picture is, you have to tell it. This is an opportunity you shouldn’t waste. Perhaps the best way to explain this is to show you an example. Let’s go back to our saddle store so you can really understand what I’m saying.
You have a Wintec saddle for sale. It’s about a $500 item. People looking for Wintecs can be very particular about their saddle. However, they are generally very loose in their searches for their saddle. They may only put in the name and model they are looking for. In this case, let’s say it’s the Wintec 500. This is where the fun begins.
You see, the manufacturer has a large website with about a thousand images of all different saddles of all different models, styles and colors. Because of this, they have a coded name for all their images, usually based on a SKU number, or perhaps an in-house abbreviation of some kind. In the case of a black Wintec 500 dressage saddle, the manufacturer for this one saddle has the images named as follows:
W_500_Dressage_blk1.jpg, W_500_Dressage_blk2.jpg, W_500_Dressage_blk3.jpg, etc.
To the manufacturer, this code makes perfect sense, and they can easily identify the subject of the image quickly, and will allow them to sort the images easily in folders. But because of this system they have, they cause a cascade failure across the internet that you can use to your advantage. Here’s what happens next.
Most small businesses are either frugal, or just plain lazy when it comes to adding images to their websites. If they know Verhan has high quality studio shots of their saddles on the corporate website, they will most often just go out to the website and “steal” the pictures by downloading them to their own hard drive, then uploading them to their websites. In doing so, they usually replicate the photo exactly as it was on the corporate site. Therefore, they, too, are populating the web with photos that have the same names: W_500_Dressage_blk1.jpg.
Can you imagine any person in the world searching for a saddle by looking up “W_500_Dressage_blk1.jpg”? It’s because they don’t. They will search for “wintec 500 saddle”. So that’s where you win. Even if you are “stealing” the photo from the corporate site (and I don’t advocate you doing this unless it is part of your reseller agreement that you can use their imagery for your own marketing purposes) all you have to do is RENAME the photo before you upload it to your OMP. That’s it.
When Google returns its search results, it will often have a row of images that also match the search terms, right on page one. If every other reseller in the world is using some cryptic internal code, and you are the only one with the real name of the product attached to the image, then you will be the first image people see on the SERP.
The name of the image isn’t the only place where you can score a hit. You also have alt-tags and titles for the image. You can fill these out as completely as you did the name of the photo, and it will reinforce the accuracy of the search with the engines. If you are using a WordPress OMP, then when you upload the image, you can change the URL to which the image links (and is hardwired to do so) in the image attributes section. If you change the URL to the page where you are selling that particular item, rather than just the link to the image, then when people click on the image on Google it will take them directly to your item’s sale page on your website.
And then, when Google notices that your web page is getting more traffic, and fewer bounces than other sites because you have provided the prospective customers with a lot of useful information on the topic, and perhaps other items they might consider, Google will reward you by moving your sales page further and further up towards the top of the search results.
I’ve actually seen where a website got more useful traffic off its images than it did off its Pay Per Click links, and it cost them nothing but a few extra minutes per day to adjust their images appropriately.