I’ll be speaking at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose later this month, on the “Images & Search Engines ” panel on the second day. The topic of my presentation will be on using Image Sharing Sites for SEO, and I focus particularly upon optimizing through Flickr. I’ll again be speaking with Liana Evans , and Shari Thurow , and we’ll be joined this time with Cris Pierry  who is Director of Web & Multi-Media Search at Yahoo!, as well as James Jeude  who is Senior Product Manager at Ask.com.
If you’ve missed this session previously, I’d encourage you to consider attending it. The advent of Universal Search  at Google has resulted in the integration of top results from other areas of Google’s various vertical searches, smashing together their previous “siloed” sections. Clearly, top placement in each of those silos can now improve your chances of having content appear on the first page of the core web search results, so tips on top placement in Image Search may now be a vital strategy for you as you work upon improving and maintaining rankings on various keyword terms.
I’ve previously written and spoken on optimizing for Image Search, and using images for SEO purposes, and I recently wrote some tips on using images for local search optimization  – another of the top three most-popular vertical searches.
Even if you’re working on a site that you don’t feel really lends itself to an image optimization strategy, I’d challenge you to rethink that! Even if you’re in a particularly “dry” industry, you likely could take photos of your products or your employees performing your services, and you could be using those photos for the purposes of SEO. How about even photographing portions of your fabrication process? Not only could those pix get you placement in Image Search as well as with the images component of Universal Search, uploading those pix into some of the more popular image sharing sites out there could result in improving your inbound links, helping to build your overall PageRank. Industries which don’t immediately seem compelling subjects for images may enjoy even greater potential in this area, because the competition might never clue into the advantages of integrating images into the site and into an overall search marketing strategy.
Also at SES San Jose, Marissa Mayer , Google’s Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, one of the core inventors of their Universal Search design, will be participating in the keynote conversation with Danny Sullivan on Day 3 of the conference – a session I’d highly recommend as “not-to-be-missed”!