Image Tags, Keywords and SEO

They Are More Important Than You Probably Realize
Or, What I Learned from Spam

I’m cross posting this — at least a bit of it — from my personal blog the Gecko’s Bark. As I note in the post over there, for most of the past four years, that blog has been a part-time personal hobby and nothing more; I never really cared whether anyone beyond my circle of friends ever read it.

But lately, as I’ve developed this site and other sites, I’ve begun applying what I’ve learned in my professional life to my personal sites. This lead to some interesting discoveries about what drives random search engine traffic to the Gecko’s Bark, as determined by Google Analytics. To wit:

You’d think all of that content, where I ponder such varied topics as death, politics, cycling and what it’s like to be an expat in Southeast Asia, that there would be wealth of different things driving traffic to

You would be wrong.

This is not the case. In the two months since I’ve been keeping Google tabs, so to speak, on Gecko’s Bark traffic, the terms that drive search engine traffic here are searches for, in order:

  • seximondo 21.24%
  • 19.03%
  • under construction gif 14.60%
  • 9.73%
  • under construction gifs 2.21%

Here are two completely accidental and inadvertent examples of keyword optimization driving traffic to that site that I wouldn’t otherwise get.

In the case of sexi mondo, it seems that the title tag for this post about spam on the Gecko’s Bark shows up in the top ten rankings for those search terms. The title of said post is Porn spam no. 2: sexi mondo spammo! (blue deep something).

If you’ve never looked in your spam filter, you should; it can be enlightening with regard to what may be drawing  traffic. At the very least, some spam also makes for entertaining reading; it is these more entertaining ones that I will actually copy and post on occasion on my personal blog. In the aforementioned case, the line after line of keywords from this porn spam reads like some kind of postmodern existential poem on sex, love and loneliness.

At the time I didn’t know that there were lots of people searching for sexi mondo. Now, thanks to Google Analytics, I do. Needless to say that’s a must-use tool for people administering websites these days, and it’s free. As for what exactly sexi mondo is and why people might be searching for it, well you can read all about it over at the Gecko’s Bark; just follow the first link above.

Lesson Learned: Fill Out Those Image Tags

Original poster for the Italian movie Mondo Cane, the movie that lends its name to the mondo genre of film.As for people looking for under construction gifs, well I have image tags to thank for Google driving them to my site. It seems that when you Google those words, under construction gifs, an image I’ve used on a post at shows up right there in the first page of the results where Google lists suggested images underneath the first two search results.  This is because I used “under construction gif” in the image title and alternate text tags. Back when I was working for GPS World, posting daily news on its Web site as well as serving as webmaster for its consumer electronics site, GPS Maniac, parent company Questex Media had a person who’s full-time job was basically to serve as an SEO consultant and analyst for the various publications in the company. One of the things I learned from her was that you should always tag your images with relevant keywords, as it drives traffic that you might not otherwise get. Hover that image to the right for an example. Now that’s a good image tag with relevant keywords. This traffic being driven to my personal blog is an excellent case in point. No, it’s not thousands of extra hits a day or anything, but it is a measurable amount of traffic that I wouldn’t see otherwise.