Images, SEO, Google, and Car Search Terms

In the automotive industry we know that video has become a powerful thing on the web, and we’ve been bombarded with the need for video and Video SEO.  And I agree that dealers need to be involved in this lest they be left behind.  I also feel that there is another great SEO play and with less competition than video that dealers should seriously consider working with – Image SEO.

Image SEO is a great opportunity to capture prime organic search result turf and the traffic that will flow from it.  When conducting specific vehicle make and model searches such as 2010 Toyota Corolla, 2009 Honda Accord, or 2008 Ford Fiesta, you’ll notice that Google typically returns a Universal Result (this is when you see images, videos, and news items mixed in with websites) and that a part of these organic search results are 3 or 4 images for the searched for car.

Google Universal Search Results for Car Search and Image SEO

Google Search Results for "2008 Ford Fiesta" Search With Universal Search Results and Images

Example of how image SEO can earn great organic positioning on Google for automotive search terms

As a matter of fact, it is fairly difficult to not get a Universal Search result when conducting a make and model car search.   A couple important things to note:

  • Images are typically returned in a higher position than videos in Google organic search results.  At least for now.
  • When you click on the images listed, you are taken to a page of the site where the image is hosted, unlike videos where you are typically taken to a YouTube page.
  • According to an iProspect study, when Google provides universal search results, images receive almost double the click through rate than videos.

As to why car internet professionals are not hearing about this is a bit of a mystery to me.  Maybe since photos have been around for awhile they are not sexy or hot enough.  All I know is that the images have been there since Google introduced Universal Search results, and they are still here today.  Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this great opportunity?

A few tips about image SEO –

  • Name the image itself with the year make and model.  Example – 2008FordTaurus.jpg
  • Use the image alt tag and name the image the targeted term.  Example – 2009 Honda Civic
  • Place an H1 or H2 header title immediately above the image with the targeted term as the text.
  • Add a caption below the image also containing the targeted term is beneficial.
  • Have on page content near the photo describing the car.

Now, when are you going to start taking advantage of Image SEO for car make and model search terms?