A couple of days back (September 24th) Google annouced that they’ve made some big changes to their image search algorithm. This is of course something that’s really important to know for any site who relies heavily on organic traffic from this source.
What’s the changes?
The new algorithm basically rewards images in a relevant context, based on the search query. What we mean by that is that a picture that goes side by side with other types of relevant content on a landing page, is more likely to outrank its competition than a similar image which stands alone. The reasoning behind this (from Googles perspective) is that it brings more value to the users, which actually makes quite alot of sense.
Page freshness and authority are two other important factors in Googles eyes and now things that will improve how an image will rank.
There will also be a lot easier to find a particular image once you clicked your way to its landing page, as this also is said to improve its ranking.
Adapt or get left behind
As always when Google is making changes to their algorithms (that’s most likely to stick) all you can do is adapt. The only other option is to get left behind in the dust with zero traffic to prove it, something that most webmasters would avoid if they could.
The days are numbered when only a fancy alt-tag would do the trick for a high rank in the image search results. Our only recommendation is to make sure you re-optimze your landning pages ASAP, or you’ll take the risk of falling behind quicker than you might expect!