To capitalize on growing searcher interest in vertical content such as images, news and video and to improve the search engine user experience, Google and the other search engines have begun blending vertical results into the main search result page. This phenomenon, ?universal search,? is advantageous for searchers, as it gives instant access to many types of files on the same search result page.

For retailers and catalog merchants whose sites are rich in images, universal search provides new opportunities for prominent display of these images in search results. The following easy-to-employ tactics will help you optimize images for Google. Use meaningful names that suggest what the image represents. For example, name the image of a pineapple ?pineapple.jpg.? Avoid naming images with numerical sequences that are only meaningful to you and your company.

se the ALT attribute. For all images, in the ALT attribute include short descriptive text of the image content. Include captions. Google uses the image caption (among many other factors) to identify its content, so employ keyword-rich image captions. Be sure the caption describes the image ? cute but distracting captions may hinder your chances.

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