Picasa and SEO

Picasa and SEO

Having traveled far and wide of late, I wanted to share my pictures with my friends. Being a web developer always looking for the SEO edge, I thought to myself, how can I best share these images and the world at large. I decided on Picasa for ease of use (check my 30 second Picasa review here.) Since images are key to your site both from a user experience and an SEO perspective, I thought I should share some of my considerations.

This is a huge topic, so there may be areas that need more attention.
Please post your thoughts below in the comments section and I’ll elaborate
on anything I glossed over.

Image SEO 101

Chris Pearson has a great introduction to Image SEO in the article describing how he got 53% more searches through image SEO.

If you don’t have the time to read his article, here’s a quick recap:

  1. Get Ranked Quickly.

Few sites are images-optimized, take advantage!

  • Be Compliant.

 

Make sure you have the following attributes covered:

  • Width
  • Height
  • Alt
  • Src
  • Title

 

 

Picasa Image SEO Theory

Now, I’m new to Picasa, not SEO. After uploading nearly 1000 photos from my iPhone I started to wonder if there’s any SEO benefit I could derive from putting all of that media out there. I am investigating WordPress plugins so I can make use of the media. I also have a sense that since Google owns Picasa, there should be something I could do to get a traffic bump.

Picassa Image SEO Reality

My first stop was Google. I figured that someone had to have written on this topic somehow before. I was hoping for a special, magic blackhat sort of tip like the one that used to work in Flickr. Sadly, everything I found talked about geotagging, facial recognition, etc. Nice for your photos, not so nice for conferring ranking juice to your site.

For those who don’t know, you used to be able to link to your site from your Flickr account AND have it count in Search Engine points. That practice was somewhat curtailed. You can still get a ton of site traffic from Flickr but the SEO benefit has been all but removed.

It sounds like the best that I can do is to make a robust Picasa/Google profile, geotag my pictures with location, tag each album with good keywords, and label my Picasa albums well, and hope for a ping effect. Google wants to be (and remain) the king of search and since Images are items that are often searched, you can expect that they’ll continue their efforts on facial recognition, location awareness, etc.

Checking in with the Experts

Whenever I’ve got a question that’s been irking me, I reach out to my network. Lucky for me, Grant Simmons of Digital Strategy is in my network. He gave me permission to extensively quote from his comprehensive response. Check it out! Blockquotes below are all his.

Google and Images

No one knows the full extent of Googles efforts to date (apart from some Googlers), but they’ve certainly started to review images for content, identifying faces etc. Their stated goal is to have a robust image indexing as part of search results relevance, so every little bit of optimization can help.

Embed Picasa Images in Your Site

You can host the images anywhere and embed the image – Picasa provides embed code:


<table style="width:auto;">
<tr><td>
<a
href="http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/L2QOecAZM--5I7tKzjFjAQ?authkey=Gv1sRgCN_R0aThrd6N_AE&feat=embedwebsite">
<img
src="http://lh3.ggpht.com/_8JVUSuBi4UQ/SejZWjkgoUI/AAAAAAAAAC0/RPsTIbm4fM8/s800/grant-simmons-headshot_bigger.jpg"
/>
</a></td></tr>
<tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif;
font-size:11px; text-align:right">From
<a
href="http://picasaweb.google.com/simmonetmarketing/BloggerPictures?authkey=Gv1sRgCN_R0aThrd6N_AE&feat=embedwebsite">Blogger
Pictures</a>
</td></tr></table>

 

Optimizing Picasa Embedded Images

You can certainly optimize the image link, and the file name. We recommend
also adding a caption and some other descriptive text on the page relevant
to the image contents.

Overall, the basic elements of SEO work wherever the images are hosted.

In the End

Alternatively, using Picasa’s hosted solution *can* get photos ranking in the their universal search results.. adding a caption and getting some comments is about all you can do (above and beyond the image name optimization) but it can work.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Darko July 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I get a lot of traffic from picasa. That is the most important for me. Work for traffic not for search engines!

Reply

Charlotte Web Development August 2, 2012 at 7:22 am

Couldn’t agree more, Darko.

What do you do to get your traffic from Picassa? Any tips you’d care to share?

Reply

Darko August 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

Nothing special, just organize your images in albums(use some keywords here). Then name the images with proper name(keyword again), like this: long-tail-keyword.jpg/png
They should appear in the first image results very fast (it depends on competition here).
Update your profile regularly. That’s all!

Reply

Robert August 12, 2012 at 3:09 am

Thank you for the Picasa tips. What do you guys think about Panaramio, also owned by Google. It has a tool that allows you to geo-tag by simply inserting your street address. The tool converts the street address to lati/longi -tude and then generates the KML (keyhole markup language). I also paste my local business citation and a do follow backlink in the description field. Of course, I name and tag photos with optimal keywords. Seems like alot of benefits, especially for a small business like myself, who is trying to rank in Google Local Search. What say you???

Reply

Charlotte Web Development November 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Robert, that sounds like a great tip! I’ve never tried Panaramio myself, but your approach sounds solid. Thanks for the idea and for sharing.

Reply

Adam January 24, 2013 at 7:04 am

Helpful article. It seems that Google+ has superseded Picasa for adding photos. You can tag, share, etc, and the SEO benefit is probably greater as Google is focusing much more on Google Plus. For example, to implement authorship markup, you need a G+ page.

Reply

Charlotte Web Development February 2, 2013 at 10:20 am

You are absolutely right, Adam. I’ve been remiss in building out my brand in the G+ space – and writing about the opportunities there, too. I’ll add that to the publication calendar. Thanks for the input!

Reply

Adam January 24, 2013 at 7:08 am

Helpful article. It seems that Google+ has superseded Picasa for adding photos. You can tag, share, etc, and the SEO benefit is probably greater as Google is focusing much more on Google Plus. For example, to implement authorship markup, you need a G+ page.

Reply

Justin McClelland May 20, 2013 at 5:40 am

Good post. An “Oldie but Goodie”. I just revisited the concept of using Google Plus more and now see that Picasa is fully integrated with that platform. More reason to focus on getting my Picasa account in good shape and hosting more of my photos there.

Reply

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