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Creating an image site map for better SEO

Creating an Image Site Map and Other SEO
Considerations for Images and Videos

We’ve talked in other articles about the special issues related to optimizing images and videos for search engine optimization. Since a search engine spider cannot see an image or video like a human, webmasters need to give the engines some help. There are a couple of tools that act as a Braille for the search engines so that they can be clued in about the subject matter of images and videos.

Some basic image SEO

The alt tag is a very easy to use SEO tool for optimizing the searching of images, and is given a lot of weight by the search engines. Here is the basic format:

<IMG SRC="poodle-puppy.jpg" ALT="my pet black poodle puppy">

Notice the descriptive file name, and that the alt tag information is very brief and to the point. You don’t want to stuff alt tags with too many keywords. That would do more harm than good for your search rankings for that image.

Some things to consider in image SEO

Internet users searching for images take on different behavior than when doing a regular web search. They tend to go through more results looking for the results to find what they want. This is good news for website owners. There are a couple of reasons for this. First picking out an image can be more subjective than looking for information on a subject, and people may be looking for something very specific in an image, such as the color, whether it is a photograph or line art, a very specific subject in mind, etc.

Another consideration of the search engines are the contextual text surrounding the image. So make sure that you place the image within the text that is referring to it.

Getting into advanced SEO with image sitemaps

Another very important tool for helping search engines index and rank your image or video is the image and video sitemap. There are even tags that distinguish whether a web page element is an image or a video. Sitemaps are also good at helping search engines index images that are reached by JavaScript forms.

There are multiple useful tags you can use within your sitemap to point out to search engines important information about the images. The limits of URLs and images that can be documented in a sitemap are very high. You can have as many as 1,000 images per page and have as many as 50,000 URLs listed in the sitemap and the sitemap file can be as large as 50MB. You can map images and videos either in your main site map (xml) file or have a file for images and videos.

Example of a sitemap mapping videos and

Images for search engine robots

Below is the opening code for a site map.
The <urlset> code is required to start the map and shows the site mapping protocal being used.
The <url> opening and closing tags must enclose each url being mapped.
The <loc> and </loc> tags show url of where the image file(s) can be found.

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″


Below is the code for opening an image site mappng. (required)


Below shows the opening and closing codes for information
about where the image file is located. (required).

<image:loc>http:// detroit-hotel.com/bridal-suite.jpg</image:loc>

<image:title>Afforable Bridal Suite



This Bridal Suite has a river side view.


The line below shows opening and closing code for showing a search
engine spider the geographical location of an image. (optional)

<image:geo_location>Detroit, Michigan</image:geo_location>.


Above is the closing code for an image mapping. (required)
You can map multiple image locations for one landing page URL as shown by the second image
being mapped below for this URL landing page.


<image:loc>http:// detroit-hotel.com/presidential-suite.jpg</image:loc>

<image:title>Business Class Luxury in our Presidential Suite



This Presidential Suite has a river side view


<image:geo_location>Detroit, Michigan</image:geo_location>.



The closing URL tag

All the other codes are optional.

Shown below is example code for mapping a video
As we continue exploring this sitemap file

The opening <url> tag and the <loc> tag for showing the URL of the landing page the video or videos can be found on.



Below is the tag for opening a mapping for a video. (required)


You need either one or the other of the two codes below (<video:content_loc> or <video:player_loc>
The <video:content_loc> code points to the actual URL where the media file is.
The <video:player_loc> code points to where the player is. This is usually in the “src” of the embed code.




<video:player_loc allow_embed=”yes” autoplay=”ap=1″>

http:// detroit-hotel.com/videoplayer.swf?video=123


The <video:thumbnail_loc> code shows where the video thumbnail image is. (required)
The thumbnail images should be no smaller than 160×90 pixels and no larger than 1920×1080 pixels.




The <video:title> code is required.

<video:title>Detroit Hotel on the Riverfront</video:title>

The description of the video is required, has maximum character length of 2048 characters, and of course very useful for SEO purposes.


This video takes you on a tour of what to expect at the Detroit Ambassador Hotel, with riverfront views and many amenities.


The family friendly code can be set to yes or no, depending on weather you want the video found or not when safe search is turned on. (optional)


The <video:category> is for showing the search engine robot the broad subject categories to which the video belongs. This could be one or more categories, but not more that 256 characters. As always, be careful about naming too many categories and then diluting you SEO information. (optional)

<video:category>Hotels,Detroit,Michigan Tourism</video:category>


Above is the code for the closing a mapping of a video. (required)
You can use additional opening <video:video> and closing </video:video> tags to map additional videos within one URL landing page, using the example above as a guide.


Closing URL tag.


Closing sitemap tag.

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