Optimising Bees for Google Image Search using CSS to Show Part of the Image

Google has changed the way image search results are presented. This is having a major impact on traffic driven to sites from image search results.

With Google trying to keep visitors away from your site, what can be done ?

This post shows one way to make the most of the space Google now gives an image.

The idea is to modify the images on your site so that:

  • enlarge the image to include a call to action in the border
  • then use CSS to show only part of the image on the site

When Google crawls the image, it will take the entire image including the border and calls to action within.

This will enable both brand impressions and marketing messages to be shown to people using Google image search, so even if you can’t get the visit, you can at least claim some mind share.

[An alternative, is simply to add a ‘watermark’ to all of your images, however that doesn’t look so good on your site.]

The following example using an out of focus bee settling on a lavender plant, shows how to use CSS to control the visible area of the photo.

The CSS used for the following image ensures that only part of the image is visible on page:

img.wp-image-363 {
 position:absolute !important;
 clip:rect(0px,480px,390px,0px);
 }

The html code for the image itself:

<img class="size-full wp-image-363" title="Bees on lavender" 
src="http://www.seoeditors.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/bees-on-lavender-google-image-resize-css.png" alt="" >
Bees on lavender - an extract of the whole image
Using CSS to clip images
Click on the image above to see the full size photo of the bees on the lavender, including the additional border.

The border is transparent to maximize the appearance of the CTA within Google image results.

If you try searching in Google for this image, you should see the image complete with calls to action.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&tbo=d&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=bees+on+lavender+css+resize

Give it a go and let me know what you think about this technique.
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