Jean Véronis

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dimanche, décembre 09, 2007

SEO: Google and its image

A long time ago I posted on this blog about the surprises and unknowns of search engine optimization ([fr: vernis à ongles, sexe hard, désirs d'avenir, etc.]). It’s always good for a laugh, but rather like Sisyphus pushing his rock up the hill, I can’t see myself doing it for too long.

However, I can’t resist giving you this one (and maybe asking for your pearls of wisdom!). I had, as everyone does I suppose, a small proportion of visits which came from the Google image search. But recently there's been an absolute explosion of them. At the moment, about half the visits, directed by Google onto my blog come by way of the image search… This roused my curiosity and with a little investigation I realized that I rank surprisingly high on this type of search. The search that brings the most visits is… "Google"! I’m ranked second on the word on and third on

I’ll leave you to savour the irony. The “Google” image reflecting back at me. The Mighty Godgle doesn’t bear a grudge!

But it’s incredible, all the same. Apart from “sex” it must be the most typed keyword on the planet, or thereabouts (see here). There must be a plethora of bigger and more page ranked sites than mine that contain images and text linking back to Google. And this despite Google “downgrading” me recently from 7 to 6 in terms of PR, or at least from the rather vague idea one gets from the Toolbar (it’s true that I didn’t write very much this summer and that rather few sites linked to me). By what mysteries of the Page Crank am I so highly placed on the Olympus of images and invited to drink the nectar (or the Google Juice…) at the feet of the same God?

I haven’t spent much time cogitating about the algorithms underlying the ranking in the image search and I don't know if the small world of SEOs has looked into it seriously or not. If it’s possible that half the visits sent by Google come from image searches (maybe more on other sites???), it’s worth starting to think about it (at least, for those who want to make their site pay, which is not my case - for me it's just an intellectual game!).

So? Any pearls? Shall we start a discussion?

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