One of the biggest challenges in creating search engine friendly websites is the handling of the images. Using images in the web pages certainly enhances the entire website’s visual appeal. However, there are on going debates on the importance of using images and their SEO benefits in the web design and SEO industries. We cannot imagine a website that does not include any image in its design. Such a website will have a bare look and it will be unappealing visitors. You cannot expect such websites to retain the visitors for a long time. All these simply indicate that usage of images in the website design is totally unavoidable. If that is the case then you should learn to benefit from the images in every way possible including the SEO benefits.
The question now is, are there any SEO benefits in using images in your website? Before the above question can be answered you should understand the capabilities of the search engines. All the search engines, including the most powerful search engines like Google can read the text and understand the content of the website or web page but they do not have the required technology to understand the images what so ever. In other words, search engines cannot understand the content of the images. This may immediately make one jump to the conclusion that images do not have any SEO value for the websites. However, this is not true; you can indeed work things out to your advantage by paying attention to few fine details, which you can of course implement in your website right away.
Google and the other search engines try to look at the other clues to understand the content of the images. The first clue you can give the search engine will be in the form of the image title or the file name. Make your file name for the images as descriptive as possible so that Google can get signals that are strong enough to pull out your image for the apt image search results. If you are using any anchor texts to point to the image use keyword rich anchor text that will talk about the content of the image or about your products or services. The third important clue Google looks at when it parses an image is the alt text. Very often web designers do not use appropriate alt text because there is a wide knowledge gap regarding the niche industry for which the websites are designed. It is therefore important to feed your web design company or your web designer with adequate information about your products, services and your business in general and insist that they used appropriate file naming, anchor text and alt text conventions that meet your keyword requirements. In other words before you embark on any web design process, you need to understand clearly what it entails. Adding a small caption below the images regarding the content of the image also helps Google understand your image content better.