Sometimes, it’s just easier to search for images. If we’re looking for a schematic, a diagram or a photo we can switch over to Google images and know in an instant if what we are looking for is there.
Imagine the benefits if someone in your field was looking through google images and YOUR photo’s were coming up? What if your diagrams, your schematics and even your beautiful mug shots were all showing up in the search results when people typed in a specific phrase?
This would be pretty cool right, your work and your blog would get much more exposure and you would be viewed as an expert in the subject by people finding your blog in this way.
So what’s the big secret? How do you do it?
First you need to create images
You need to create nice images that would be useful to someone in your field. You might want to create a powerpoint slide showing how your new piece of machinery works. Now this image MUST look good as a thumbnail, ie the way that Google images displays the search results. That way people are simply more likely to click on it. Take photos of your work and of yourself. Make diagrams, doodles whatever. Whenever you create images, it’s a good idea to put your name on there somewhere with the copyright symbol.
Now you need to name them
This is VERY important. You need to name the image file with the words that you want to be found for in the Google search. If you want people to find your picture when you search for “STXM Microscopy” in Google then name your picture “STXM-Microscopy”.
You may also want to add a few more important phrases into the name as well. For example, if I’m a microbiologist and I also use electron microscopy so I might call the image “STXM-Microscopy-Electron-microscopy”.
The length of the name doesn’t matter, just make sure you include all of the key words you would like to be found for including the big one – your name. So in the end I would name my image “STXM-Microscopy-Electron-microscopy-ben-libberton”.
This is a neat trick. It means that when people search for these terms, my image and my name is associated with it. It also means that my name and image are associated with these techniques – cool right? So you should even do this on photos of your face! That means that when people type in the key words your mug shot will appear in the search results – does this make you look like an expert?
Next you have to upload them
When you upload them you are normally asked to write a description, add tags and alternative text. Make sure that all the keywords (including your name) appear in all these important fields.
Then you upload them again
Upload your pics to as many different sources as you can. Places like Flickr, Facebook, Google Plus are great for giving your images additional exposure. This increases the chances that they will be seen, but also increases the number of times your picture will show up in the Google results. For everyone, make sure you put key words in the description and tag fields.
Repeat with new pics
Do as many pics as you can with one caveat – NO RUBBISH. If people keep finding your pictures in Google and they are no good, you will be quickly discredited as an unreliable source of information. Losing credit like this online is not an option as it is nearly impossible to gain back. Only good quality and relevant uploads please.
And of course, make sure you own the pictures…
This should go without saying but it probably doesn’t. You need to have permission to use the photos and you can’t plagiarise other people’s diagrams. Also be aware that you shouldn’t publish results online before you’ve published them in a journal AND that once you’ve published them in a journal you may not have the rights to publish them on your own site (this you’ll have to check with each individual journal) – OK? Good. So go and make some awesome pics and put them online. Let me know what you think via the comments below.
Hyphens or Underscores?
There is always debate about which token to use to separate words so Google understand that they are different words. The way to use hyphens and underscores to improve your SEO is as follows.
Hyphens are used as word separators: “Next-Scientist-rocks” will be understood by Google as “Next Scientist rocks”
Underscores are used as word connectors: “Next-Scientist-gives-me-head_ache” will be understood by Google as “Next Scientist gives me headache”