Recently Southern Oregon Garden Geek informed me that a photo on my garden blog of some Bells of Ireland I was growing in my garden was the number two image result on Google for that term. Curious, I searched for Bells of Ireland and sure enough that is a photo from my garden blog entry on Bells of Ireland.
This didn't occur accidentally but it didn't involve any magic or special tricks that you have to pay a, so-called, SEO expert for. You can do this too with two simple steps that you should get in the habit of doing every time you upload an image to your garden blog.
Step #1: Title your photos
When you take a photo and save it in your camera or memory card it the name of the image is usually something like this DSC000333a.JPG. While this is a useful way for your camera and memory card to number and record images it isn't optimal for humans and search engines. Get into the habit of giving your photos a proper name before you upload them to your garden blog. If your photo is of a specific plant or flower name your photo that. In the example I took the screen capture of above the name of my photo is "Bells of Ireland.JPG" because that is what the image is of.
Step #2: ALT attributes
When you upload an image to your garden blog if you click on the Edit HTML tab in the window where you are typing the text for your garden blog entry you'll see a bunch of words and numbers that may look confusing to you but your browser understands enough to be able to display the image to you on your screen. Within the code that comprises the image above is this snippet
...src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hKvLnOj1qYk/SQ5V_q1J1tI/AAAAAAAAAFU/p8Y3RWJ-AKc/s400/Bells+of+Ireland.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_526...
of the larger code. As you can see it holds the name of my image but it also has a spot for ALT attribute. What that does is provide information to browsers and the visually impaired who may be using a screen reader to surf the internet to identify what the image is about. Since I had already properly named my photo all I had to do was provide the ALT attribute by typing it within the quotation marks. Once I did that it looked like this;
...src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hKvLnOj1qYk/SQ5V_q1J1tI/AAAAAAAAAFU/p8Y3RWJ-AKc/s400/Bells+of+Ireland.jpg" alt="Bells of Ireland" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_526...
Use the ALT attribute to give a short description of your photo to make it more discoverable by search engines and to help make your garden blog more accessible to people who may be surfing with the help of screen readers. Here's a video of Matt Cutts of Google explaining the importance of ALT attributes while it is designed for webmasters this information can be used by us gardeners and applied to our garden blogs to bring us visitors and help spread gardening and plant related information on the internet.