Making sure search yields prime results

An SEO strategy should include tactics that consider the role of images and video play, finds Craig McGuire

Leveraging effective SEO techniques for images and video can enhance PR efforts that integrate Web strategies.

Last year, the US Office of Management and Budget mandated all federal agencies transition their network backbones to IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6, the next-generation protocol replacing 20-year-old IPv4). Juniper Networks launched a campaign with Sage Communications to closely associate itself with the initiative.

“To do that, we had to show relevance to the subject,” says David Gorodetski, COO and executive creative director at Sage. “There is a barrier to move people to action... to provide feedback. But, if you know your audience... and deliver relevant content, they will click through. But, they won't click through if you link them to your company logo.”

The Jupiter campaign revolved around a report, “An IPv6 Security Guide for US Government Agencies.” The company's landing page includes the report cover and thumbnails with captions and tags including IPv6-relevant keywords.

“Too many people do not give enough thought to how they are tagging images and what images they select,” Gorodetski says. “You need product shots, report covers, charts, something to easily indicate the content.”

In instances where that media is video, capture or create one frame that best represents the entire video and message it represents.

The ‘alt' attribute, also called the alt tag, is text added to the image tag to describe that image. It is the alternative text the browser displays when the surfer does not want to, or cannot, see pictures in a Web page. Ultimately, descriptive alt tags will accompany the images with the best chance of boosting search results.

“The search engines have no way of knowing what the image is, and cannot index it unless it is accompanied by a tag,” says Lisa Wehr, CEO of Oneupweb. “If the photo is of your new outdoor patio furniture, which may also happen to be one of your keyword phrases, tell the search engines that in your alt tag.”

Tagging with relevant keywords is critical, since search engines are now indexing videos, blogs, photos, images, podcasts, news sites, social profiles, and more.

Before beginning any SEO or social media campaign, do your homework, Wehr says. Understand and research the audience and which keywords they seek.

“Have a plan and a process and make sure that all of your content is optimized,” Wehr says. “Then get social with it. Link your press release to a blog, add a video to your PR campaign, and include images and social networking in your efforts.”

For the uninitiated, SEO-PR president Greg Jarboe says a good place to start is Google Image Labeler.

“It is a relatively recent feature of Google... that allows you to label images and help improve the quality of... image search results,” Jarboe says. “Check out Flickr's Camera Finder. It shows you the most popular brands and... cameras in the Flickr community.”

Jarboe suggests using a JPEG format for photos, including at least one keyword in the file name, and sizing any photos larger than 200 pixels, but smaller than 400 pixels.

It's also important to create compelling photos or useful images that journalists and bloggers are most likely to link to or use. Jarboe says several press release distribution services now enable embedding optimized YouTube videos in press releases.

Whatever SEO strategy you choose, do not use inappropriate or copyrighted images without permission, Jarboe says. And, “good photographers aren't always good wordsmiths, so sometimes you can end up with compelling photos and poorly written captions.”

Technique Tips

Include at least one keyword in the alt tag, caption, and file name

Use more campaign-relevant images than just corporate logos

Utilize press release distribution services that can embed optimized YouTube videos in releases

Write a caption that doesn't include relevant keywords

Use campaign-specific keywords that will link just to a corporate logo

Use inappropriate media or copyrighted images without permission

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