Optimizing image search traffic

What is image search traffic?
Almost every SE under the sun gives you the option to search for images on the web. As a webmaster, this can be a blessing and a curse.
First of all, it is a curse when it comes to people stealing your image content. But then, who are we to throw the first stone?

Then comes the quality of traffic angle. Normally, people looking for an image on the web are looking only for the image and won’t spend any more time on your site.
The fact that your site is most often displayed in a frame below a top “navigation” frame that gives the surfer all the options he needs to display your image in full size doesn’t help. Using that frame, the user does not even have to interact with your site at all.

On the other hand, having your site display prominently in the image searches can give you some nice traffic. A fun blog of mine ranked quite nicely for “Kaffee” (German for coffee) for a while.

Now if we could just get rid of that top frame!Javascript to the rescue.

This small snippet will kill the top frame and leave the user with only your page.

<script language=”JavaScript1.1″ type=”text/JavaScript”>
if (parent.frames.length > 0) top.location.replace(document.location);</script>

Yes, using it like the following will enable you to send the user wherever you like.
Use at your own risk.

<script language=”JavaScript1.1″ type=”text/JavaScript”>
if (parent.frames.length > 0) top.location.replace(‘myURLhere’);</script>

Optimizing your images for image searches
SERPs for images do not correspond with text results.

From what I gathered (work and research) these things are important for image searches:
File name
Almost the only thing a SE knows about your image. This is actually weighed HEAVILY in image searches. My advice: Take the extra minutes and rename the file to reflect the picture’s content. I am always amazed at the number of porn pages still working with picture01.jpg.

Alt text
Again, the SE will only have secondary information about the pic. Use it.

Short example

Search for “tannenbaum” on google.com

The first three images are named “tannenbaum.bmp” and “tannenbaum.jpg” on arbitrarily named pages.
The third comes third ALTHOUGH the DOMAIN is tannenbaum.de

longdesc attribute
Some sources recommend typing a long description into the longdesc=”what a pretty picture” attribute, I can’t honestly tell you anything about that, as I have never seenm it used.

Other factors
After that, normal on-page factors come into play.
Result number 5 shows a page with a correctly named tannenbaum.jpg, but the text has nothing to say about it at all.
Bottom line

Don’t count on google finding the image for the transmogrifier if you name the picture CVR34677.jpg

Hope that helps.