Image Tagging: An Under-used, Zero-Cost Tactic to Boost Your Local Search Rankings

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Images are More Than Pretty Pictures

Well-chosen images attract attention. They flesh-out your content in a natural, immediate way. The encourage users to take action. Images add life to your business listings, social media updates, as well as your website. Why not give those images some extra long-term SEO value?

How Image Tags Add Value

Tagging simply means embedding text into an image so that search engines (and humans) can better understand it.  Tagged images reinforce your brand, services, and location. It’s an under-used, zero-cost tactic that will help boost your local search engine rankings.

Without tags, images don’t tell the whole story. The best Google can extract from an tag-less image are technical factors such as dimensions, date taken, colors, and the general subject matter: a face, a boat, a bird, etc.

Where is the specific information about your business? Its services, physical location, the exact subject matter of the image, and how it relates to the viewer? That’s where tags come in. Tagging squeezes a lot more value out of your images and ties them directly to your organization.

 How to Tag Your Images

Step 1: Find a Tagging Tool

Here’s a free app that tags batches of images very quickly. It’s called GeoSetter. Go to, download the software and install it on your Windows computer. If you’re a photographer, you may already have Adobe Lightroom; it also works well.

Step 2: Open a Folder of Images

Go to

” Ensure that your alt attributes are descriptive, specific, and accurate.'” — Google


Step 3: Write the Tags

This is where you add keywords and location data. No need to enter everything. For local search purposes, it’s primarily location data including latitude and longitude, along with keywords. You can get  latitude and longitude of your business here. Note that smartphone photos will already have GPS location data baked-in. Don’t change it unless you want to purposely do so for strategic reasons (to concentrate on your business or service area). Once entered, be sure to Set Current Values for All Selected Images (to save the changes).

Step 4: Rename the file

Optimized File Name: One of the most important and easiest optimization. If you do anything, do this. No special tools are required. Rename your image using a format similar to this: keyword-location-brand.jpg. Example: transmission-repair-mountain-automotive-boulder-colorado.jpg

Local SEO Meta Tags (embedded in the image).  Users won’t see this data, but search engines will.

Use GeoSetter. Download the template here:

Object Name: Describes the image. You could cleverly add a keyword too. GeoSetter will show a error if you enter more than 60 characters. In practice, I’ve been able to write many more characters, but be aware applications may truncate everything beyond 60 characters, so make those first 60 characters count.

“Vinyl Resting Place — music for discerning collectors.”

“Seattle actress shows off her SuperWhite dental treatment”

“23-pound Yellowfin Tuna caught off La Jolla Shores”

In 2012, KissMetric even stated that “Captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself, so not using them, or not using them correctly, means missing out on an opportunity to engage a huge number of potential readers.”

Location: Country, State, City, Sublocation (Neighborhood). There’s no specific field for the address of the business.

Latitude & Longitude: Geographic coordinates of the location.

Keywords: List of terms that describes activities, services, staff, inventory, or other aspects of the business that appear in the image.
HTML Tags (in the website)

Alt(ernative) Text
Optional image tags that have little or no affect on SEO.

These mostly relate to image rights and contact information of the image creator.

Copyright: Copyright notice.
Credit: The specific wording of the attribution
Contact Information of the person that created the image: Address, City, Postal Code, Country, Phone, Email, URL.
Creator: The name of the photographer.
Source: The name of the original owner or copyright holder.

Improves SEOImproves EngagementSupports the Visually Impaired
Visible on the Page
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Image Title Attributexx

How to Redirect Unused Domains

Don’t leave your unused domains just floating in space.

Redirect your old domain to your new domain if any of these points are true:

  • The old domain contains content that’s relevant to your current business
  • The old domain has inbound links
  • The old domain has any amount of traffic

Permanently redirect your old domains to you new domain with a “301 Redirect”.

Here’s how to do it assuming your using a standard Apache web server:

  • Find the .htaccess file for your old domain
  • Copy the code snippet below, replacing and with your actual domains
  • Paste the code into the top of your .htaccess file
  • Test to make sure the redirect is working properly
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301,NC]


Google+ Badges Boost Social Engagement and Search Rankings

What is Google+?

Google+ is a social networking and local business platform. Even though Google+ never really took off as expected, it’s still relevant because the Google+ badge to binds your website to your Google+ page and to your Google My Business listing.

Why is a Google+ Badge Important?

A Google+ Badge provides a convenient way for users to share your business with their network (their Circles), give you a public endorsement (a +1), or visit your Google+ page content.

That engagement matters because +1’s and follows may affect where your website appears in Google search.

Lots of +1’s will likely boost your rankings. And if a patient +1’s your practice,  followers of that patient are more likely to see information about your business directly in their Google search results, ranked higher than it otherwise would be.

We provide your business information in a special format called structured markup because your Google+ Badge uses it by default.


Wait! My Google Badge is Too Huge, Ugly, Distracting, etc. Is There Another Way?

Yes!  You’ll get similar functionality with just the +1 button and the link button. We provide both to use in place of the badge.

Google+ Buttons


Alternative WordPress plugin


Limitations of Drag-and-Drop Website Builders

Consumer-oriented Drag-and-drop Website Builders May Limit Optimization.

We’re talking about Wix, Weebly, iPage,, Bluehost, Jimdo, Go Daddy, Virb and others. Every website builder is different. Please contact them directly for support.

For our purposes, these are the limitations to look out for:

  • HTML Editing. This is the biggie. Look for an options like Code Block, Embed HTMLCustom HTML, or just HTML. If your website builder doesn’t allow access to the underlying HTML code, there’s no way to optimize your site properly. It’s time to upgrade to a better solution.
  • CSS Editing. You or your team might want CSS to tweak the appearance of our code.  Many site builders don’t allow it. But there is a workaround. If you know a bit of CSS, first tweak the file in a text editor, run it through an inliner tool, then paste it into your page. A bit awkward, but it works.
  • Functionality. For example, Wix breaks our review links code because of the non-standard way it’s designed. There’s nothing we can do about it, it’s a limitation of the platform. Upgrade to a better solution.
  • Root Directory Access. No website builder we know of provides root access, meaning you can’t upload a KML file. Not a big deal, but something you’ll want later.
  • Exporting. There’s often no export function. Leaving your provider means building a new site. This doesn’t affect optimization, just something to keep in mind.  Squarespace is an exception — it exports to WordPress ;-)

Website Building Tools to Help You Create Optimized Fresh Content

There’s no downside to an optimized website with plenty of fresh content. These are our favorite website-building tools.


WordPress is free software that powers about one-fifth of all websites. You’ll still need to pay for hosting though. Launching a WordPress site can be straightforward or very challenging depending on want you want to do, and there’s no centralized support. On the other hand, WordPress is flexible, effective, and has a huge user community. Overall, it’s the best future-proof solution. Get some help if you need it and you’ll be in great shape going forward. There are TWO major versions of WordPress. is downloadable software that runs on your hosting companies server. For businesses, this is the way to go because there’s no limit to how it’s extended and used. The other version is available as software-as-a-service at The version is hosted by WordPress. This hosted version purposely limits options. It’s OK for a blog or informational sites, but not good for ecommerce or anyone serious about SEO. WordPress is simply the way to go for almost everyone, but we’ll include a couple of alternatives if it’s not your cup of tea.  Learn more about WordPress.


Often referred to as the Apple Computer of website builders, Squarespace is elegant, provides adequate design options, but by limiting those options, does not overwhelm the user. All themes and plugins are designed and supported 24/7 directly by Squarespace.  Theme selection is small, but the minimalist designs look great and work with mobile devices. Squarespace allows direct access to HTML and CSS, which means you can insert our code and change its appearance. Later, you can export your Squarespace content to WordPress. Or, if you’re stuck with a WordPress site that’s too hard to manage, import it into Squarespace.  Learn more about Squarespace.


Weebly offers a large selection of good-looking themes, and a easy-to-use editing system. The interface is not as elegant as Squarespace and there are no export options. Leaving Weebly for say, WordPress means building a new site. Weebly does not provide access to CSS which means you won’t be able to change the appearance of our code unless you use the workaround. Learn more about Weebly. This is one of the better website builders, but it pales to WordPress in every respect.

Add a KML File to Support Google Maps and Google Earth

KML Keyhole Location File


Why is a KML File Important?

KML files provide geographic information about your business and are used primarily by Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Mobile. By specifying the exact geographic location of your business, the KML file supports the accuracy and validity of your location. One KML file supports multiple locations.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info” style=”rounded”]IMPORTANT: uploading the KML file requires access to the root directory of your domain. The root directory is the main or top-most directory (folder) of your website server. It’s usually named public_html, www, html, public, or web . Website builders such as Wix, Weebly, iPage,, Squarespace, Bluehost, Go Daddy, Virb, etc. typically do not allow root directory access. If you’re using a website builder tool, stop here and skip this step. Don’t worry, the KML file is nice to have, but you’ll do fine without it.[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Get it Done: Uploading a KML File to Your Server

  1. Download the file called locations.kml in your Dropbox SEO folder to your computer.
  2. Login to your website control panel and find the file manager tool.
  3. Using the file manager tool, upload the file to your site’s root directory. You’re done, awesome!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info”] Alternative: Use FTP software such as Filezilla to upload the file. You’ll need your FTP username and password.[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Google Map: Help Patients Find Your Location, Get Driving Directions, and Write Reviews

Why is a Google Map Important?

A Google Map will help patients find your location, get driving directions, write reviews on a mobile device, upload photos, and share your location.

Get it Done: Google Map

  1. Decide where you want the map to appear on your website
  2. Find the file called map.htm in your Dropbox SEO folder. Open it with a text editor.
  3.  Copy the code between the BEGIN and END of the HTML section.
  4. Paste the code where you want the map to appear. Let the stampede commence!

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info”] Option: To make the map responsive (so it will automatically re-size and keep its proportions on a mobile device), add this step: copy the code between the BEGIN and END of the STYLE SHEET section, then paste it into the Head section of your page. In WordPress, paste it into the style.css file or your theme’s custom CSS field. [/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Where Should the Map be Placed?

Your Contact page, your Home page, or both — these are the same locations as your structured markup. If you don’t already have a contact or location page, create one for your Google map and any other information a patient might need to find and contact your practice.

What if I Already have a Map?

We recommend you use the Google map we provide, especially if you’re now using a map from Bing, Mapquest or another vendor.

Changing the Size or Proportions of the Map

Look for “width” and “height”  in the code, then enter the dimensions you want (in pixels). For example: you could change the dimensions to create a small map for your home page, and a larger map for your contact page.


A Small Square Map

A Bigger Map in Standard 16:9 HD Proportion

Using a Text Editor

text editor is a type of program (app) used for editing text files.  No colors, no images, no formatting — just text. Unlike word processors, text editors keep code intact.

If we have asked you to copy and paste code, use the text editor that came with your computer:

For Windows: Notepad
For Mac: TextEdit

If you have a different text editor, that’s fine too. But don’t use Microsoft Word . . . also known as The Mangler.

Quick Tip: to strip-out hidden formatting that will surely mess up your blog post or email message, copy the text you want to work with, paste into your text editor, copy it again, then paste into the destination.

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info”] Alternate method. Click on any .htm or .html file to open it in a browser.  Click on the View Source menu command. Select the code, Copy, then Paste where it needs to go. [/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Code in a text editor or in the View Source mode of a browser might look like this:

plain-text-editor-1 Structured Markup Installation


[vc_row full_width=”” parallax_image=”” visibility=”” css_animation=”” center_row=”” typography_style=”” column_spacing=”” tablet_fullwidth_cols=”” bg_style=”” parallax=”” parallax_mobile=”” parallax_style=”” parallax_direction=”” video_bg=”” video_bg_overlay=”” border_style=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ style=”” visibility=”” css_animation=”” typo_style=”” drop_shadow=”” bg_style=”” border_style=””][vc_column_text] structured markup is a standard supported by Google, Bing, Yahoo and other major search engines. By adding structured markup code to your website, we can communicate your business contact information, location, and services to search engines in a meaningful, concise way.

Here’s an example. It looks like a simple name, address, and phone number — but it’s not — there’s more going on behind the scenes.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax_image=”” visibility=”” css_animation=”” center_row=”” typography_style=”” column_spacing=”” tablet_fullwidth_cols=”” bg_style=”” parallax=”” parallax_mobile=”” parallax_style=”” parallax_direction=”” video_bg=”” video_bg_overlay=”” border_style=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ style=”” visibility=”” css_animation=”” typo_style=”” drop_shadow=”” bg_style=”” border_style=””][vc_single_image image=”6310″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” rounded_image=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax_image=”” visibility=”” css_animation=”” center_row=”” typography_style=”” column_spacing=”” tablet_fullwidth_cols=”” bg_style=”” parallax=”” parallax_mobile=”” parallax_style=”” parallax_direction=”” video_bg=”” video_bg_overlay=”” border_style=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ style=”” visibility=”” css_animation=”” typo_style=”” drop_shadow=”” bg_style=”” border_style=””][vc_column_text]

My website already has address information. Do I still need Schema?

Yes. Structured markup is a better way to communicate your core business information to search engines. Our code can directly replace your existing information block, or it can be displayed separately, in a different location.

If you keep your existing information block, your business information should match our code exactly. Do not change the code we provide (it’s too easy to break). If you think it’s incorrect, contact us.

Where should structured markup be placed?

On your home page or contact page. It’s also fine to place it on every page (in a sidebar or footer).

Get it Done: Adding structured markup to your website.

  1. Decide where you want the structured markup (the business information block) to appear on your website.
  2. Download the schema.txt file from your Dropbox project folder.
  3. Open the file in a text editor, then paste it into your website page. (In WordPress, paste it in a text widget.)
  4. Save the page, then open it in a browser to make sure everything looks right. Congrats on another job well done!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax_image=”” visibility=”” css_animation=”” center_row=”” typography_style=”” column_spacing=”” tablet_fullwidth_cols=”” bg_style=”” parallax=”” parallax_mobile=”” parallax_style=”” parallax_direction=”” video_bg=”” video_bg_overlay=”” border_style=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ style=”” visibility=”” css_animation=”” typo_style=”” drop_shadow=”” bg_style=”” border_style=””][vc_column_text]

Design Options

Our code has no default style (appearance); it will adapt itself to the style of your website page. Your web developer can customize the layout and style using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Structured markup should not be altered in such a way that it cannot be read directly from the page — that will undermine its effectiveness according to Google’s guidelines.

To center the structured markup block, change the first line like this: