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Help Search Engines and Users by Adding a Location to Images

Images are a great way to show off your company skills and products. For businesses that sell their products or services to the local community, knowing the location of the image is very important.  We suggest you make it easier for potential customers to find your pictures by associating places with the images. Including locations helps both search engines and people determine if the image is relevant to a search.

WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival at Spring Forest Road Park in Raleigh NC
WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival at Spring Forest Road Park in Raleigh NC

Unless you attended the WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival, you may not know the location of the image for this blog entry from looking at it.  (Thanks to Byron at Moon and Skye Photography for letting us use his excellent balloon picture.)  Nor is it likely that a search for balloons in Raleigh, NC would return this image if it only had the caption “Hot air balloons.”  If you would like your page or image to rank in search results for your local community, make sure to include the name of the place when it is relevant.  If there is no text identifying the location of the picture as Raleigh, NC, the search engines will not “know” to include the page with the image in the results for searches such as “hot air balloons Raleigh NC.” Adding a place name to an image description or the location where a service is performed will help rank images and pages holding the images in local searches.

Consider these two points about searches:

  • A search engine only knows what you tell it about a website or an image.
  • A potential client’s proximity is very important for search results.

The logical conclusion? If you want to help local searchers to find your business, you should include locations with image descriptions.

Search engine algorithms include location to help find more relevant results. Try a search for “Mexican restaurants” to see what we mean. It’s not very helpful to see a list of Mexican restaurants in Mexico City if you are on a freeway near Raleigh, NC. The search engine will prioritize local results over distant restaurants, so your first page of results should include some local restaurants.

Even if search engines don’t include local results or results for the area of interest, people will. If the page of results does happen to include a list of famous restaurants in Mexico City or other places not of immediate interest, users will add the name of their town or location to help zero in on the results they can actually use.

Help customers find you by including location information in your pictures and images. Include the place information both as part of the text on the page where the image will appear and as part of the entry in the “alt” tag of the image. Without a location in the picture caption, web citizens won’t know if the image is from someplace in their area of interest or just a random internet picture.

Being clear about a business location or service area can also help business owners save time.  We’ve had an HVAC contractor tell us that he spent a fair amount of time diagnosing a problem over the phone until he realized that he was talking to somebody from a different state. While it is nice for a site or image to be recognized around the world, we all want to be practical when it comes to investing our time. Clearly identifying your location helps filter calls from outside your service area.

In addition to location, you should include descriptive phrases in image descriptions. Search engines use text associated with pictures to identify the relevance of the image to other search terms, such as “flagstone walkway Wake Forest, NC” to prioritize images of flagstone walkways over pictures of walkways made from other types of materials. Include accurate, distinctive information about the image to improve the likelihood of internet searchers finding images from your site when searching for your services or products.

We hope this posting helps to emphasize the importance of location on images to help web searchers to find your business. If you would like help adding location information to your site or have other questions, call Pliable Web Solutions at (919) 867-1486.