Images and Page Rank

by Gary on October 9, 2008 · 11 comments

in SEO,SEO Tips

Though we do not use images here at Phoenixrealm if you have a website or blog that does use images you should take into consideration the impact that they might have on your page rank. According to Microsoft’s patent application entitled SCORING RELEVANCE OF A DOCUMENT BASED ON IMAGE TEXT they have developed a way to “score images” found on web pages and use that score for different applications such as:

  • ranking web pages of a search result based on their image scores;
  • determining relevance of a document to a text string (image text);

and, as Bill Slawski pointed out in his post “How Search Engines May Use Images to Rank Web Pages”,

  • determining whether an image of a document should be included in a summary, or snippet, of the document;
  • using an image score calculated from a comparison of image text to a textual description of a class to determine the similarity between the document and the class, and;
  • a vertical search system factoring in image score to search for items, such as products or news stories.

Now the question is how can you make sure that your images benefit you in terms of SEO. Here are some tips.

  • Use images that are relevant to your website.
  • Make sure you ALWAYS use alt tags to help spiders know what the image is about. Remember to use keywords!
  • Pay attention to the size of the image. Not the file size but the actual height and width of the image and the actual percentage of the page it occupies. The bigger images would be perceived to be of greater import/relevance to the page’s content.
  • Choose good quality images. Quality in terms of blurriness, contrast, etc.
  • Pay attention to the placement of the image. There is a difference if you put it on the top, middle, bottom of the page as well as whether you put it on the left, center, or right side of the page. Another thing you should remember about placement is that the surrounding text to the image is also factored in so place it near relevant text.
  • Images that contain key content should be used repeatedly throughout the site though of course placed in different pages.
  • Don’t worry about the borders. Unless your borders are really huge, which won’t make sense, don’t worry about it because too small images would simply be filtered out and not factored into determining your page rank.

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Jack October 10, 2008 at 7:04 am

Just be sure, that image alt text is meaningful and contains keywords, aligned with headings, description and title. I really dont believe, that robots do image recognition yet.


betterroi October 17, 2008 at 4:47 pm

I think search engines using images in their page ranking will come and go. Technically, how can code possibly determine relevance, quality and content of an image without human interpretation. SEOs who provide search engine optimization services for better website ROI should not have anything to worry about.

w3master October 18, 2008 at 9:54 pm

i prefer use the text everytime.images are not useful for optimizing.

R.Hacken October 31, 2008 at 11:06 pm

I don’t think that images help increase page rank. Because their information isn’t readable for search bots.

Neil Web November 2, 2008 at 10:51 am

“images are not useful for optimizing.”…

Simply not true! whether Gary’s comments about image recognition is true or not, optimising images for image search can bring lots of traffic, can be a good source of links (hotlinking) and when used wisely alt text can be very influential for ranking as the alt text is seen as anchor text by se’s.

Donnell Perth December 22, 2008 at 3:10 am

Use images relevant to your website? – You should be doing this anyway but how can the bots tell other than from the alt tag – which is really just optimizing the alt tag.

Maybe in the future search engines will be able to identify images, maybe there will even be an image duplicate content issue? (maybe)

Catfish January 6, 2009 at 8:21 pm

The thing I don’t like about this post is that the title makes it appear that images have something to do with Page Rank (versus organic rankings). The Mircosoft patent that you refence has nothing to do with Page Rank as Page Rank is a Google algorithm and images do not have PR. It would have been better to title this article images and search rankings.

Good info though.

Jag January 30, 2009 at 11:31 am

There should be a balance in everything. Images are as important and if text is to be added used H tags and P tags 🙂

WebzSeo February 17, 2009 at 7:49 am

Thank so much for sharing such a valueable piece of information with all of us. I blieve Seo is the name of balance b/w the use of text and images. Simply Use images where they are required with Nice discriptive ALT tags and us Text where it should be.

Jonathan Meager February 19, 2009 at 10:32 am

Images may not help per se for increases in Page Rank, but to include relevant images in the news, with the correct alt tags, means that your users will find your resource more useful, and ultimately should be encouraged to link back to you.

Jonny_Q January 12, 2010 at 4:55 am

This is very valuable advice. Trying to squeeze out every ounce of optimization in my site, and this have given me a new angle