Many of the recommendations we make deal with adding new pages to your website on a regular basis and bulking up your word count when you have less than 400 on a page.
But there's an increasing shift in the importance of words vs. video and images. Last week we told you about the change in how Google is measuring YouTube video ranking; today we're explaining the hinted changes in how Google is measuring fresh images when they appear on the web.
Before we explain Google's new image ranking, we need to give you a little bit of background information about websites and files. Every jewelry photo, html file, background graphic, and PDF saved on your website has an associated date and time stamp; just like on your own personal computer.
Websites are hosted on web servers, which are (to put it simply) nothing more than overgrown computers. All web servers have hard drives, CPUs, keyboards, and monitors, just like your home computer has.
Now imagine that you are looking through your Photos directory on your own computer. All digital cameras will imprint the date and time a photo was taken, and you'll see that timestamp in the Photo directory.
A web server also saves a timestamp for all uploaded photos and images, but it's usually the date and time the photo was first uploaded to the website.
That's enough background information; now let's get back to the changes Google made. On February 27, 2012 Google announced that they adjusted their ranking method so "fresh images" will have a more important value in the SERP.
All search engines have a way of sniffing out new content on a website. Instead of downloading every image and web page over and over again, they simply query the web server for the file timestamps. In technical terms this is known as a "304 request." The search engine skips that image/page when the timestamp matches what they already have on file.
Over the last 4 months we've noticed a huge surge in the number of Google 304 requests coming into our network. Google seems to be querying sites with hundreds of pages more than smaller sites.
So what does this mean to you and your jewelry store? Quite simply that Google wants new content, but not just new pages of words, they also want new photos.
Here are some recommendations to utilize the fresh image search:
1. Don't just add new pages and blogs to your website; always include a newly uploaded photo along with it.
2. Upload photos to your Google+ profile and to your Google+ Business Page. It's easy to install the Google+ app on your smartphone and allow it to automatically upload product images you take in the store every day. Just make sure to add a description through Google+ later.
3. Google will be more interested in your website if it has more than 100 pages and keeps growing. Those 100 pages include product detail pages, so 50 items in your product catalog is already 50 pages. Never stop adding new content to your site.
4. Most important of all, rename your images with important keywords before uploading them to your website. Don't just upload "PIC2001254.JPG" from your camera. Rename it to something useful like "white-gold-engagement-ring-with-3-diamonds.jpg" before you upload it.