Photos an Overlooked Part of Your Real Estate Blog Traffic

Photos on a blog post are cute, sometimes they have nothing to do with the post, sometimes they are stolen and used without permission, but that is a post already written, just not by me. They should enhance the post. Photos are like adding seasoning to the meal. You can eat it without seasoning, but it taste so much better with seasoning to spice things up and bring out the full flavor.

Oro Valley Country Club - Rancho Vistoso - Canada Hills - La Reserve - Oro Valley AZ Communities

Most bloggers don’t think a thing about the images other than they help get the point across they are trying to make.

Photos:

  • They are pretty
  • They help make a point
  • They are funny
  • They illustrate the post
  • They are the subject of the post

Photos are used for a lot of these reasons and that is good. But are you overlooking the traffic you can bring to your site because of your photos?

Many Real Estate Bloggers spend a great deal of time doing SEO on their site to get the title tags just right, the URL and permalink structure for good SEO etc. They install plugins like Ultimate Tag Warrior, or Tags in the Head, Simple Tags and other to help optimize their keywords for the search engines. Here is my question.

What are you doing about SEO and images on your site?

Tagging your images

It is more work to tag your images, but believe me it is worth the effort.

I know you don’t like to take the time to do this. I know this because when I mouse over images on a lot of blogs I see things like “photo 89” or “dsc00134.jpg” or nothing at all.

Here is an example:
real estate image tags
This is a more descriptive tag. Don’t you think so?

Another example:
bloodhound blog image tags
Gregg doesn’t use images much at Bloodhound blog so I thought this was quite a find. These are from his famous Debunking Zillow.com post.

Take the extra second and write a descriptive tag for your images using keywords. Mouse over the communities image at the top. Sight impaired users have readers that read these tags to them because they can’t see the words or images.

Google Enhanced Image Search

 What does it mean to opt-in to enhanced image search?

If you choose to enable enhanced image search, Google will use tools such as Google Image Labeler to associate the images included in your site with labels that will improve indexing and search quality of those images.

To enable the images on your site to be used with these types of tools:

  1. Sign in to Webmaster tools
  2. Click the site for which you want to enable enhanced image search.
  3. On the Diagnostic tab, click Enhanced Image Search. Once you have opted in to enhanced image search, you can opt out at any time by returning to this page and clearing the checkbox.

google enhance image searchWhen you opt into this program your images get indexed quicker and will become another source of traffic to your site. You might be amazed at just how much traffic your images will generate.

You do this through the google webmaster account. When you log in to the site down at the bottom of the left navigation you will find the Enhance Image Search. Click on the button and the option to be in this program window appears with a checkbox.

Check it and click ok. It is that simple and you are in the advance image search program.

Hittail Search Hits

I will be the first to admit I haven’t paid much attention to the image hits. I have considered them more a distraction than anything. But recently we have had two calls from people based on image searches and not word searches.

One from an architectural magazine wanting more information on a rammed earth home we had an image of on our site.

We were able to find the home on the MLS and get the architects name to the author of the article.

I know of other agents that are actually selling homes and getting clients from the images on their sites. It is worth the effort to make them so they can be found.

Our Hittails Search data for Sunday July 15, shows exactly 100 hits and 20 of those are from image searches. This seams about right. Twenty percent of our traffic is probably from image searches.

Do you want to increase your traffic to the site by a possible 20%?

Sure it is an image that gets them to you site, do you care how they get there?

Hittail doesn’t record the hit till they actually come to the site. This means they didn’t just find it in the search results it means they clicked on it and came to the blog.

Start adding those description tags to your images and turn on Google Enhanced Image Search Let your blog images add some flavor, some zest, and some traffic.

Comments

  1. Great article. I had no idea Google cared about image tags. I just assumed it drew from the wording around the picture.

  2. Dave – I have suggested in several posts that real estate blogs need pictures. When I first started mine people said it didn’t look like a blog because of the pictures. The photo’s on my blog are often the target of searches. I have never been able to decide if the people visiting to find photos do me any good. I do know that people who are moving to St. Paul like to see what it looks like.
    Most of the real estate blogs I see have pictures. They have pictures of the blog writers. 🙂

  3. Dave,
    This was a really interesting post to me…like many of Teresa’s friends, I never thought of a blog having pictures in it! But now I realize how much help they can be for getting more traffic! I wanted to get your opinion on something…I’ve been using a real estate social network site, and they have a tool on there where you can set up your own blog. I was wondering if you think that blog would be a good idea to use for me to get my name out there, or do you think I would need to set up my own seperate blog to really get traffic? Let me know what you think! The site is http://www.realedin.com/
    Thanks!

  4. Jasmine,

    I’m doing some checking on the site you mentioned, my first impressions are not very favorable. I think you can do much better having a blog of your own and probably not on that site.

    There are several ways you can go about starting you own blog for free. Blogger is one, WordPress.com is another that is free. Most of the post here deal with WordPress self hosted, but most of the information would apply to the WordPress.com blogs. There are also Moveable type and Typepad blogs.

    Check with Teresa she has blogs on four different platforms. She can give you some good insight into making this decision as well.

  5. I never even considered pictures being part of an SEO strategy, thanks for the tip.

  6. Nice post Dave and thanks for all of the detailed information. We don’t use images yet but will definitely start.

  7. I asked a question on this topic in another one of your posts prior to finding my answer in this post. Thanks for clarifying this issue for me.

  8. What a great tip, I had heard someone make mention before but not in as great a detail. Preciate it!

  9. unfortunately, from my limited experience, the traffic from Google images, is of a low quality, with high bounce rate, short stay on the website, mostly people looking for images. But I agree, it is an aspect you can take into consideration, especially because is not time consuming.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Federal Pell Grant =-.

  10. Mark,

    It all depends on the market you are trying to reach. In Real Estate, photos are central. Agents get listings many times based on the quality of the photos they take or have taken. Buyers and sellers search images when shopping for a home or agent.

    In other markets they really aren’t that important, but for a real estate blogger, images are often overlooked as a source of quality traffic.

    Dave

  11. Hi Dave,
    You are so right here. Never considered that point of view. On the sites I run, I noticed the google images traffic was useless.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Federal Pell Grant =-.

  12. Mark,

    I have to assume you aren’t talking about your current site, which only has two posts and no images. You won’t get much traffic from those images, or posts for that matter. But 2 indexed is a start.

    Images in posts that illustrate a point, or add to the topic really do catch the eye, which improves the bounce rate. Once a site has a few hundred images indexed by Google it helps get found, especially if those images are tagged according to topic.

    It really does help to be a photographer so there are never any copy right issues.

    It takes time.

    Dave

  13. Hey Dave,
    No , I wasn’t talking about that website. I was talking about a website I had in the health niche, with around 20% of the traffic from google images. Compared to google search traffic, analytics stats were awful 🙂
    Thanks for the replies.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..School Grants For Minorities =-.

  14. Mark,

    Thanks for the update, I was hoping it was another site. And you gave me an idea for a new post.

    Dave

  15. Great tips here. We need to do some updating on our site in regards to the names of images and including the alt tag on all of them.

    Thanks again for sharing!