Can I get my web page to rank higher on Google if I add images?

Mark McNeece

An SEO expert recently advised me to add images to the web pages on my website.  I assumed this advice was just to improve the look of my pages, or will the pages rank higher on Google if I add images to them?

There’s lots of free advice available for improving the placement or rank of your pages on Google.  Being advised to add images to a web page in order to improve it’s rank on Google might not seem like great advice at first sight.  However, it’s absolutely true.

Google is continually crawling the internet in an attempt to discover and index new content.  When it finds new content, it makes a determination as to the quality of that content.  It does this in a number of ways.  Google attempts to determine if the new content it’s discovered should be considerd spam; either in part, or completely.  It will determine factors that relate to the PageRank of the page based on where the page is published, how many inbound links it has, the pagerank of the pages linking to it, the number of outbound links on the page, the rating of the material content of the page, the location of the server the page is hosted on, and what other websites share that server, etc.  There’s a great many factors indeed that come in to play when Google indexes a page.

Putting aside all of the “off page” factors used to determine the rabnk of a page on Google, there are also a number of “on page” factors:

  • Does the page have a unique title?
  • Unique meta description?
  • Is the meta description appropriate to the content of the page?  Does it actually relate to the content thats on this page?
  • Unique list of meta keywords?  Do they specifically relate to the page?
  • Between the title, description, and keywords; how many of the words used can be found in the copy of the page?
  • Are any words on the page, or in the meta data overused?  (keyword stuffing)
  • If the language of the page is English, does the page use natural language?
  • Are there many spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors on the page?
  • Is the page well punctuated?
  • etc…

So, before Google even attempts to determine the subject matter of the page, a great many things are checked.  This is all to do with determining a quality factor for the page.

Google engineers, such as Matt Cutts, have told us many times what Google considers to be a quality page.  In simple terms, it will include:-

  • A unique title, description (and possibly meta keywords) that relate to the page
  • On the page there will be a <h1>…</h1> heading tag containing an appropriate title for the page that the users will be able to see and distinguish from the rest of the content.
  • There will not be any other heading tags at that level.  i.e. Only one <h1>…</h1> heading tag on the page.
  • A quality page will also include one or more 2nd level heading tags.  <h2>…</h2> so that the paragraphs of content are in clearly defined sections.
  • A quality page will have an introduction, a main body of content, and a summary or conclusion at the end.
  • The page may contain links to other relevant pages of interest on the same general topic as the page itself.
  • There will be no irrelevant outbound links on the page.
  • The content on the page will be unique, and not duplicated anywhere else on the site hosting the page, or elsewhere on the web.
  • Lastly, a quality page will include appropriate images, which will have alt tags that describe the content of the images.

Going back to the original advice, about images on web pages improving the rank of the page on Google?  If you are able to improve the perceived quality of any page beyond that of other pages that appearing in the search results on Google, then your page of higher quality and relevance will indeed appear closer to the top than the other lesser quality pages of the same or less relevance to the search.

I do hope that makes sense?

Category: Search Engine Optimisation

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