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I know when I search Google for specific things I get back images underneath some sites. How do I get that to work for my site? I have even seen some sites that will return 4 or 5 images for the the site that are all relevant to my search

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Do you have an example query? I have never seen site-specific images in search results, only general results from Google Images. –  DisgruntledGoat Jul 16 '10 at 12:56
    
Google for 'linear motion' and you will see 5 images about half way down. –  RandomBen Jul 16 '10 at 13:56
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7 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

An additional technique Google recommends is an Image Sitemap, for which you add an <image> tag to the normal sitemap XML, and apply metadata for the search engine:

With image search, just as with web search, Google's goal is to provide the best and most relevant search results to our users. Following Google's Webmaster Guidelines and best practices for publishing images can increase the likelihood that your images will be returned in those search results. In addition, you can also use Google's image extensions for Sitemaps to give Google additional information about the images on your site's URLs. Doing this can help Google discover images we might not otherwise find (such as images that are reached via JavaScript forms), and also enables you to identify the most important images on a page. For example, if your site uses templates, every page might feature a boilerplate image. By not listing this image in your Sitemap, you're telling Google that it's less important than the images you have included. However, Google doesn't guarantee that we'll index all of your images or use all of the information in your Sitemap.

To give Google information about images on your site, you'll need to begin by creating a standard web Sitemap. (You can also update an existing Sitemap.)

For each URL you list in your Sitemap, add additional information about important images on that page. The following example shows a Sitemap entry for the URL http://example.com/sample.html, which contains two images. (You can list up to 1,000 images for each page.)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
  xmlns:image="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1">
 <url>
   <loc>http://example.com/sample.html</loc>
   <image:image>
     <image:loc>http://example.com/image1.jpg</image:loc>
     <image:caption>Something about image 1</image:caption>
     <image:title>The title of image 1</image:caption>
     <image:licence>[[A URL to the license of the image]]</image:licence>
     <image:geo_location>New York, New York, USA</image:geo_location>
   </image:image>
   <!-- more images as you like... -->
 </url> 
</urlset>
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Interesting that they include geolocation data. Very cool info. –  Bryson Jul 16 '10 at 17:35
    
+1 very interseting, thanks! –  Marco Demaio Aug 15 '10 at 0:28
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Images are included based on many things.

  • keywords on the page containing the image
  • the alt attribute of the image tag
  • the title attribute of links that link directly to that image
  • the filename of the image

Of all of these, the filename is probably the most commonly overlooked. In the same way that descriptive URLs are beneficial to pages, descriptive filenames are beneficial to images.

Google also suggests that not only the page be optimized, but that specifically the text surrounding the image be descriptive for that image. Their Images page at Webmaster Tools provides guidelines for optimizing pages with images, as well as optimizing those images for Google Image Search.

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There are a couple ways that I know of that Google places images in the search results

The first of these is Rich Snippets, where they pick up webmaster-generated semantic markup for some specific types of site. Follow the link for a full description of this.

The second is Universal Search, where Google mixes in results from its vertical searches (images, videos, maps, etc) with the regular text SERPs. These are generated algorithmically, and if you can figure out the secret sauce you may be able to retire :) It is important though that you make sure that the alt attribute and surrounding text or caption are relevant to the image. Google can't derive meaning from the image itself (other than OCR), so picks up relevance from context.

If you're seeing something different being displayed, please provide an example!

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I should add... you used to have to opt in to image searching via Webmaster Tools, but I don't think that's a requirement any more. –  JasonBirch Jul 16 '10 at 2:09
    
My memory just clicked. The opt-in was for advanced image search, which let Google use your images in their "Image Labeler" game: images.google.com/imagelabeler Basically, a way of crowdsourcing semantic analysis of images. –  JasonBirch Jul 16 '10 at 3:06
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You will need to include alt text in your images to achieve this. Google should index you as normal.

Please let me know if I'm wrong here.

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You definitely don't have to opt-in to google image search any more, just provide well formed image tags (widths, heights, alt tags) and google will do its thing.

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I've never seen site-specific image results, but here are some general tips for getting into Google Image search. Once your images are well-placed in Google Image SERPs then they will likely turn up in regular Google searches too.

Firstly, make sure your images are indexable - either inserted directly with the <img> tag, or directly linked to. Background images from CSS are not generally indexed.

Make sure the filename is useful and descriptive of the image. Use lowercase and separate words with hyphens, same as normal SEF URLs. This is another "good for users" thing; "/images/DSC0001.JPG" is no use to anyone, whereas "/images/cats/tabby-yarn-ball.jpg" is easy to understand.

Add a brief description to the alt tag for the image. It should say what is in the image, so that visually-impaired users can understand it. Using the previous example, "Tabby cat playing with a ball or yarn" would be good.

Add text in the page, around the image. This should be naturally occurring anyway since you often place images within the text on the same subject. You might have some text like "Mittens likes playing with his ball of yarn, as you can see!" with the image nearby.

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I will support to mentioned right keywords in alt property of img tag. I never prefer to upload images at my hosting server since it eats my bandwidth. stil they are searchable by google image search.

Well!! you need not to worry about google image search. Because google is widely used for text searching only. Web developers generally use other search engines for images.

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