Dear reader, this is a failed “google experiment” – the reasons for its failure are in the bottom of the page. I Invite you to read the whole article because the failure in our case is productive, just no the way it was meant.
BizProg is a new site. All it got is less than a month of mileage and approximately 13 articles. So far, as expected, google has crawled the site and as unexpected, indexed it too.
Although I did not invest into link building at all. Currently I have profiles on 2 forums and 3 social networks. I made a single comment on another SEO site and set up IFTTT for automatic social updates following feedburner feeds. So what am I ranking for?
Old New York Times! After a short while I figured, this is because the image on my article writing post has a new york times photo in the top. This means that google reads your images, and makes a deal out of it!
This brings me to few conclusions
An important but frequently made mistake done by people new to SEO is not pointing out from your site to others. This was not the case for this resource as it was created after reading at least 10 books (some of them ugly) and hours spent on other blog posts and videos (I found out about google+ communities and linked-in groups later). The main principle to skip the outbound links is completely logical:
“I need links pointing at me, I’ll do outbound for reciprocal reasons only”
Most studies disagree. Google does not like sites that concentrate on themselves. If you are not stating your bibliography then you either unsocial or rude.
With this approach, it is entirely understandable why google would do that. If you look at the bottom of Amazon.com you will see that even they, frickin’ niche site killers, have outbound links in their web site template!
I use images to have a visual representation of my text. They are imported from an URL and if you check the NY image, you will see it is not hosted on my site but pointing the original source. For google this would mean that the place I point at, is in fact, the ranking page with relevancy to NY times (This would make sense to conceal the newspaper name but I doubt I can beat the machine learning algorithm, so I’ll keep mentioning the term although it is bad for SEO)
But the source page is not so strong!It will not get a page on my site to the top 10 in a week for such a term! The only way to determine that is looking at my outbound links and then, read the image!
How images are used on your site
Except being an informative media and a good way to show what you meant in the article. For our friend, google, this means that you are investing some time in content creation. Image takes time to create, even for those that I put in the featured image spot, which are created from a template. Each takes 3-5 minutes! Naturally google wants to know what the images are about, so when someone searches for them they will show relevant information.
What does it mean for us?
Having an image will bring you extra SEO points if you consider how google translates the image meaning to its relevancy algorithm.
- Use titles – they are an important part that state the image relevancy like the post article title states its main subject
- Use alt text – it should be longer then the title, explaining what is depicted
- Description – very important as it tells the story behind the meaning of the image.
All 3 should be different one from other, so google will understand that you meant.
Then google wants to see for itself, what is there. Recently they bought an image recognition company that specializes on understanding the actual objects in the image. Here is a short video, explaining what they have:
Whatever their algorithm finds, will get some kind of context. Having a wrong one is bad for your site, so it is better to invest some time into image description.
Here is an example,
The image below has a unique, dictionary friendly, phrase. It has no real results in any SERP and the image details have nothing to do with it’s content.
Lets see what goog got to say about it in a couple of weeks
What have I leaned from google image scan
The scan scores extra points when it comes to content driven, web site promotion. Your image description and other attributes compliment the image itself and its content.The biggest search engine company analyses it visually and assigns meaning to your overall content.
After learning this on my own real life experience, I started using the following:
- Every article got an extra image, not necessarily mine
- Every article gets it own, unique, never existing image in the top, in order to have useful content for those that like to share. This is also very important for your social media sharing, like Pinterest or Tumblr, that “breathe” images
- Every image is treated with care, as images with a meaning that is irrelevant for your web site, damage your SEO
I learned a new hing about the company that puts the bread of the table of so many. It does not stop surprising!
Again I learned that every piece of a web site has its own influence and it must be considered if you are serious about your web property.
My images are a part of any content strategy that will be implemented here, starting now! I believe that this lesson has a great value to my web site promotion business, because probably this will give me an edge when it comes to SERP competition of my clients.
So. the experiment failed! It’s been 3 months and still you cann;t find anything on google that related to “lemonade served on moon” keyword.
I have consulted here and there + performed my own analysis. From what I understand – this image is worthless to google from all perspectives as it does not answer to SEO needs. What paraments are there for any worthwile image? Here is the list:
- File name
- The image content (unproved)
- Alt text
- Geo tag
- EXIF – it worth tons of SEO points
- GeoTag – it is part of EXIF but it van be added in many places after posting it to web
- Relation of all of the above to the website that hosts it
I did only one thing! Which is the least important of all parameters.
So now we know what is wrong. Looking at the NY times image I understand the reason I rank for it is:
It is hosted at the right place that does make it visible – it is not a new image it was scanned and found many times in the past. In addition I made it’s alt text (the most important image parameter) to be related to “Article”.
In goggles sense – Article and NYTimes make a lot of sense together!
What did I learn(take 2)
The failure is also a part of learning curve. I made a hypotesis, tested it and found myself in the wrong. Well at least now I have a powerful tool to bring traffic to my site. As you noticed, putting someone elses image on your site and making it relevant steals traffic form the original place or at least defers part of it to you. Use your alt tags wisely!
If you disagree or want to add something – comment below and let me know how you feel!
Thanks for reading!