I’m sure if you follow my blogs you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting lately or maybe your just glad I’m not posting. Either way, the reason is because I have been optimizing my wedding photography page on my photography Web site. It’s been a lot of hard work. I added over 250 key words and phrases. I changed the page title to be more search friendly and I changed the page name to be more search friendly. Photography is very competitive so every advantage one can have on the Web counts. Click on wedding photography to see the changes I made to the page. If I can be of any SEO assistance to you please reach out to me at: email@example.com.
Does your photography site need more exposure (pun intended)? With the majority of our content being visual, it’s harder to get a decent rank on Google. Here are a few SEO tips which you can apply to images within your website to gain better results within Google image search. A lot of these can be applied to any website, but I’ve primarily focused on image related SEO for this blog.
1) Image Keyword Planning
It’s important that you make sure you give your images location, detail and relevance. When I say location, I mean the place that they have been taken. For example. Let’s say you’ve taken a photo of a tree. A boring old tree. Place yourself in the context of a searcher looking for it. Being as descriptive as you can is important. Here’s a few samples to show what I mean
a) Large oak tree – short tail, hard to rank for
b) Large oak tree near Omagh – longer tail, added location
c) Decaying large oak tree near Omagh – extremely long tail, but covers three phrases
For the first keyword, to rank for it, you’ll need to check out the on – page ranking for images discussed next. For the longer tail keywords, you can expect less traffic, but more relevant searches, and thus lower bounce rates for potential visitors to your site, and people are more likely to actually use the image they find. For the third example you are covering a couple of bases: “decaying large oak” , “large oak tree” and “oak tree near Omagh”. Once you have worked out the keywords to use, it’s time to work out where on your web page the keywords should go.
2) Keyword Placement
Your web page will have a number of elements within that will influence how the image(s) on the page will rank in Google image search. A lot of these are similar to the onpage factors I’ve mentioned over here – in addition to these there are two places that you should concentrate your keywords. The image ALT tag and Title tag are extremely important for photography SEO. Just to recap – using my example of a photo of an oak tree, here’s an example on how you should optimise the page that it sits on.
3) How to name the images
It’s been recognised within SEO generally that file names can have an impact on results. This is reflected too within search engine optimisation for images. Use dashes to separate keywords in the file name, rather than underscores. This comes straight from the horses mouth when we are talking about Google – Matt Cuts specified that Google favours dashes. Follow the same strategy for your image naming convention. Don’t go overboard with the number of keywords in your image, as otherwise it’s going to look spammy.
I wouldn’t put any more than five relevant keywords built up as a phrase in an image name. If you need to describe it more, use the ALT or title tags to do so.
It’s also worth noting that if you can keep your images in a folder under your root – e.g. images. subdomain’s don’t work as well.e.g. http://images.domain.com/image.jpg is not as good as http://www.domain.com/images/image.jpg
Tagging photos is something that many of you will be familiar with. Folksonomy is not new, but if you use it responsibly it can reap rewards. If you are using WordPress for a photoblog, then the natural thing to do is to tag the photo with “oak tree” , “omagh” etc. Do the same thing on sites such as Flickr or Delicious to encourage back-links using those keywords. Having the tags printed and linked on the page the image resides makes sense, as this increases the outgoing links to other similar pages, passing Pagerank link juice across the site.
Goes without saying, Flash is a no – no if you are trying to get your images properly indexed. Despite what If you must use it, I’d recommend offering an alternative for Google, but if you can implement your site using jQuery for the fancy effects instead, you stand a better chance in the Search Engine Result pages (SERPs in search engine circles). Standard issue HTML will always win against a site which uses Flash, simply because even though Google can read flash content, it can’t parse ALT and TITLE tags.
6) Cross site linking
You can’t really talk about SEO in any capacity without talking about cross site linking strategies. If you can link heavily within your site to other pages using the keywords as the link text, then this will improve the image chances. For those of you who don’t know already – link text is the text which is underlined e.g. oak tree
Don’t be tempted to link directly to the image itself, remember that no tags exist when you link to an image directly, so Google isn’t able to work out what the image is about.
Captions are one of the best ways to clarify what an image is about. An image caption is one to two sentences of text used above or around the image which describes it for a human visitor. Refer back to the same page structure to see what I’ve used for my caption.
Notice that the text is wrapped inside a span (could be a div) but links it closer to the image physically within the structure of the html. I’ve no hard or fast evidence on this one, apart from this guidelines document from Google- but my thoughts are that you want to try and give Google imagebot all the help it needs to distinguish what the image is about.
8) Off-page techniques
Optimising web pages first really well, and getting page rank up for the page in question is one of the easiest ways to get an image to rank well. Good content, well promoted is one of the best ways to increase your pagerank. That along with Cross site linking (mentioned early) should see you getting highly ranked on Google image search.
9) Image labeller
Google introduced an interestingly little web application known as Google Image Labeller, this is cleverly implemented as a game that you can play against another Google users. You can enable your site’s participation on Google image search, by checking the option in Google Webmaster tools. Doing so should see a boost in your site’s ranking on image search.
The Exif format will probably play a part in SEO in the future. It is a format which allows you to embed tags and descriptions directly within images. The metadata embedded within images will eventually be read by the search engines to help define relevance. Better to start doing it now, than be faced with the prospect of having to do it on thousands of photographs later. iPhoto or the free and easy Picassa both allow Exif tagging.
I’ve been following Paul’s suggestions on http://www.pxl8it.net and have been slowly moving up the ranks.
Tune in for my next blog on PPC for photographers.
Jason J. Row
Happy Easter everyone!
Today was an interesting day for me as a photographer. I gave up my photographer duties to my young, eager to learn nieces. One has been helping me shoot weddings and the other has been asking to get involved with photography (notice how I say “get involved with”? It is after all a relationship that one can never seem to walk away from).
There are two things I learned today. One. I need to put the fork down ASAP. When I am not shooting the pictures, images of me seem to turn up in Lightroom and man am I fat! There is nothing that motivates me more to exercise than to see images of how people see me.
The second and more important thing I learned today was that there is nothing like the look on a young persons face when they are handed an expensive camera and asked to “go get some shots for me”. Their look is priceless and the looks they get from their peers is even more priceless. My nieces captured some images I only wish I could have captured. They caught the pure and unbridled emotions of a family coming together for a holiday way better than I ever could have hoped to.
I think I learned a third thing just now. Trust your gut. I had a gut feeling come over me that said to let them have some fun and see what they can do left alone and uninstructed. My gut said they would kick ass and they did. Now my gut is telling me to go get some ice cream.
This week while photographing several different locations I found myself having some sort of spiritual experiences. It first started while I was photographing the moon the other night and was moved to shoot it in HDR style and found “The Eye of God” looking back at me. I don’t always feel It watching me, but that night I did. After this I started to wonder about some deeper issues besides just surface level images.
This led to the second experience which was while I was shooting “Anonymous Property” here in Center Hill, FL. Once again I found myself, after seeing a pre-WWII Time magazine, slowing down and just taking in the property which is pretty much preserved as it was in the 1940′s and recalling some of the owners stories and life observations that he shared with me earlier in the day. Soon I was laying on the ground, like a kid, looking up at the clouds and drifting back to those much simpler times.
The third experience just happened now on my back porch steps while I was photographing “Dennis Grasshopper”. I’ve been messing around with him all week and tonight he finally behaved long enough for me to get the image I was hoping for. I had to look into his eyes as I was shooting him and I got very sad as I know he will be dead in a couple more months. I learned this earlier in the week because I had to look some facts up about his species on Wikipedia and the Internet. I discovered in the process of keywording his images that his life cycle is only early spring till about November.
So, what I think I learned this week is: A) The Spirit of The Universe sometimes looks in on us. Not in a bad way to see if we are behaving or not but more like the way I was watching Dennis Grasshopper tonight; with amazement and joy and also some sadness at It might know somethings about our life that we’re not aware of and or just enjoying and appreciating the moment for just that…being a moment not cluttered with It’s own bullshit thoughts. B) Appreciate the era and times we live in now as it seems even thought our lives are getting less and less hard, the world is getting more and more complicated. It sure is a faster paced, complicated and confusing world we live in now than 1940 Center Hill, Florida. After talking with the 80 something year old “Mr. Smith” I came to really appreciate all the things his generation survived through, moved past and created for us. And last but not least, C). Live in and enjoy the moment. Life is short and one should really appreciate the little things like stars and grasshoppers and old, country men telling stories. We’re not going to be here forever. Just ask Dennis Grasshopper. I think we’re put here to live and enjoy what we have, not what we don’t. Moving forward, I plan to even more than before!
I am grateful that photography can give me these “spiritual” lessons all by slowing down and taking a closer look at life through the lens. Thank you, God, “Mr. Smith” and Dennis Grasshopper for reminding me about some of this lifes most important things! I will miss you guys when you go and can’t wait to catch up with the three of you on the other side – Life 2.0!
I was blessed again today to spend the afternoon photographing my secret, frozen in time, location. I consider myself a modern-day renaissance man, but, as I continue to photograph the location, I keep wondering if we don’t live in a very overwhelming & confusing era. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Facebook, Twitter & (obviously) WordPress, but, this information age is a bit of a load on the old information processing system – the brain.
Today I found myself time traveling back to Center Hill, FL to about 1940. What triggered the quantum leap was finding a Time magazine, dated June 10, 1940 on the property that had a very haggard image of President Roosevelt on the cover. This was 6 months before the US entered WWII. I had to kick back on the dusty floor of the home that was built circa 1909 and page through to see what we, as a country, were dealing with back then. Lines that caught my eye where things like:
> “Producer Jack Warner was said to have banned the German language on the Warner lot. The studio declared this was obviously untrue since it would be impossible for many employees to communicate with each other.” (So we were still a nation full of prejudices)
> Charlie Chaplin was reported to have halted work on The Dictator “until such time as there is at least a change in the European war situation.” The Chaplin publicity department said this could not be true because Chaplin was hard at work cutting the film. (So we were still concerned with the lives of celebrities rather than real world issues)
>”Walt Disney has moved his entire staff to a new studio at Burbank, dropping some 400 people, about a quarter of his payroll, on the way.” (So we were still concerned about jobs and lay offs)
> “In the past fortnight the Federal Communications Commission has handed down two momentous decisions, one releasing Frequency Modulation broadcasting from the confines of experiment, the other locking television tight within it. By awarding FM the number one television sending band (44,000-50,000 kilocycles), FCC opened the heavens to FM broadcasting. Including the band it .had previously been allocated experimentally, it now has 42,000-50,000 kilocycles, will presently be able to spot stations all over the land. Meanwhile, television must plainly label television experimental, must readjust its transmitters in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to one of its other bands. Bubbling with confusion, excitement, hysteria, the radio industry, feeling the hot breath of revolution on its neck, last week gazed fitfully into the future. Some of its visions were sad, some glad.” (So the federal government was still sticking its fucking nose into the homes of private citizens)
But most of the magazine was focused on raising money for a national defence, defence contracts and the Europen war theater. (Some things never change)
After I put the magazine back where I found it, I went outside and laid in the grass by “Grandma’s Well Pump” (see image below)…looked up at the sky and looked at the bright, fluffy, white clouds and listened to the wind blowing through the Spanish moss-covered oak trees and day dreamed about life back then – pre-Facebook, pre-MySpace and pre-Twitter and oh ya…pre-FM radio. The US was on the brink of war but it still was a much simpler time. A quieter time. I wonder if the “Smith Family” knew how good they had it. I wonder if they ever laid in the grass and listened to the wind blow through the trees. Something tells me they did. There was no air conditioning back then and Central Florida in August is as hot as it is humid. I doubt being inside was much of an option!!
I am grateful to be a photographer in 2010 as it allows me to travel all over the world and today it allowed me to time travel to Center Hill, FL – 1940. Well, back to the future…
Below are the images I captured with my digital camera and manipulated with Photoshop with the modern, post FM Radio, HDR technique. I wish I could have lived back then and still had my MacBook, Nikon DSLRs and of coarse…my iPhone…the rest of 2010 you can keep Check back soon for more images of my secret time capsule location
I have been blessed to have discovered a portal back in time. I’m serious! There is a property here in rural Central Florida that had a home built on it in 1909 and it has been preserved by the owners grandson and great grandson. There is also a home on the property that was built in the 1950′s and it has been preserved as well by the father and son duo. I have been sworn to secrecy about disclosing the location, however, they are allowing me to do a photography book in HDR Photography. I had my first interview session today and have totally fallen in love with the owners and the place. Please check back here from time to time to see some sneak peaks of the book!
The Eye Of God – Center Hill, FL – I couldn’t sleep tonight so I let the dogs out to play around 5 AM and the beautiful sky caught my eye. There is too much light pollution in L.A. to ever really see the stars but here in rural Florida it’s always astonishing to me. After I took some traditional images of the sky I decided to try a HDR series. This is what came out of the 9 exposures of the Waning Crescent moon superimposed in Photoshop. I really felt like my Higher Power, The Spirit of the Universe, which I call God, was looking at me.
Today is our oldest dogs birthday! Pixel, our company’s name sake, turned 7 today. Happy birthday Pocket!
T-minus 6 days till we launch on our 8 state road trip from Los Angeles, CA to Orlando (Center Hill), FL. Excited to gather images for our soon to be produced and published book, “Ain’t That America.” Look for it later this summer!