12 SEO Strategies and Marketing Tactics for Photoblogs

by Jason Acidre on July 6, 2011 · 34 comments · Search, Social


PhotographerFew years ago, one of my childhood friends offered me to start a digital photography business with him, though it may not be of my interest, I always opt myself to be a solid wingman in supporting my friends’ personal/professional ambitions. I’m no fan of art, but I do know how to sense and distinguish things that may look appealing to others – commercially or artistically.

Personally, I don’t know anyone who owns a professional photoblog or photography-related website, but I guess this post may serve as an advice for my future self if ever I decide to start a business related to this field, and probably this will be somehow useful to my readers as well.

Well, if you will ask me what I would be covering if in case I decide to build one, I would probably be photoblogging about historical images, since aside from SEO, History is a subject that I’m really passionate about (yeah, I’m sort of a geek in this area, an avid televiewer of the History Channel and owns a huge collection of vintage stamps). Sounds like a good plan, right? Imagine me sharing this instead of SEO blog posts:

Oops, wrong photo. Try the next one.

Manuel Luis QuezonManuel Luis Quezon, taken in 1912 before he seated as the 2nd President of the Philippines, who also celebrates the same month and day of birth as I do

Anyway, here’s a short list of SEO strategies that I would implement if ever I start a Photoblog in the future.

Keywords

Use keywords that receive high search volumes to web pages/blog posts in order to draw organic traffic. It’s important to target search terms that are practically used by search engine users when seeking for information, as it will enhance your site’s ability to consistently grow natural – and somehow relevant – traffic/visitors.

It’s also best to target keywords that will be strictly relevant to your artwork/images when choosing for keywords to use for your site’s pages/posts title, as choosing irrelevant keywords might decrease your traffic conversions. You can use Google Adwords’ External Keyword Tool to identify search terms that will best suit your content.

Look at the size of the competition

Optimize Images

Keyword-rich image elements can also help boost the prominence of your photos on Google’s SERP as well as Image Search results, which can be very constructive in growing natural traffic to your site, knowing that a lot of users do utilize this section of web search. In optimizing your images:

  • Use highly descriptive keyword(s) in your photos’ filenames or Image Title (ex: jose_rizal_photo.jpg)
  • Use your target keyword(s) in images’ alternate text tags (alt tags), as these short descriptions of the photo help both users and search crawlers understand what the image is about if in case the image is not available (ex: “Picture of Jose Rizal”).
  • Use long image descriptions for your photos (longdesc=), as it can improve its relevance scores for search rankings (ex: longdesc=”A photo of Jose Rizal when he was in Paris”).
  • The title of the page hosting the image should also contain the targeted keyword.
  • Always upload the larger version of the image, as large size images are known to have higher quality by search engines, and they often prioritize it in indexing.
  • You can also take advantage of the image’s caption by including the targeted search term there, if necessary.

Add written content to pages hosting your images

Search engines are more capable of understanding written texts than images, and adding more content that will complement your photos will certainly increase your pages’ relevance to its targeted search terms, which of course can help improve your webpage’s search rankings and eventually be found by your targeted audience.

Create a Gallery

Showcase your best photos by setting up gallery pages for each category, as this can help you stage a good internal linking structure for your photoblog (aside from setting up and submitting a sitemap). This process can as well improve your inner pages’ (blog posts) search rankings, especially if you have used your keywords as anchor texts for those internal links from the gallery page directing to the images’ designated hosting pages.

Submit Your Site to Photoblog Directories

There are numerous Photoblog directories and community sites that you can submit your site to and you can also utilize these external resources in terms of finding for link opportunities and/or generating content ideas for your photoblog such as:

Image Bookmarking

There are also tons of image bookmarking sites that you can use to promote, distribute and share your original photos, which can develop your works’ and your brand’s web visibility. Given that your submissions can have more exposure from these external websites that could pass through traffic to your site. Submitting your images to these sites can also build highly relevant links to your site’s inner pages – that in succession results to higher search rankings. I’ve created a list of these sites a few months back on my post about optimizing ecommerce websites (for product images):

Reach out to bloggers and offer your images

Most active bloggers are in need of prolific and unique images to complement their high-quality blog posts, where some are using free stock photos and some are paying to acquire high-quality images for their works. Contact non-photobloggers and offer your images for free, as you can get high-value in-content links when they attribute the photo to its creator through links.

It’s also a good way to establish your brand through this outreach, especially if you have branded watermarks on the images that they have used. When offering your images to bloggers, you can direct them to your gallery pages (as I’ve mentioned above) to make it easier for them in choosing the images that they’ll be interested to use for their content. You can also ask and discuss the types of images that they might need that you can provide.

Network with other Photobloggers

Networking with like-minded people appears to be one of the most powerful tools in modern marketing. Connecting and building relationships with other reputable photobloggers in your niche will certainly increase the noise that your brand is going to create in your field, as these relationships can help your site be more visible through linking, social sharing and recommendations. Here are some ways that you can execute to efficiently network with other photobloggers:

  • Start conversations by leaving remarkable comments on their blogs.
  • Share their images on social networking sites.
  • Try to request if you can submit a guest photoblog post on their sites.
  • Ask if you can interview them and post it on your photoblog.
  • Link out to their posts and notify them.

Note: It’s best to target blogs in your field that are providing high-quality content and have a strong following.

In building your list of prospects, you can use the directories that I’ve listed above or do a manual search on Google. You also need to standardize your network targets through site/domain metrics such as PageRank, traffic data (via Compete.com) and Domain Authority (Mozbar).

Encourage Guest Photobloggers

Invite other photobloggers to do a guest blog on your site, since this can help drive traffic to your site from your guests’ networks and followers as they voluntarily share their contributed content, which can also be very advantageous in setting out your brand and in getting natural links.

You can create a specific landing page in your site that will house your invitation message and guidelines for possible guest photobloggers. Make this page visible through your site’s navigation and mention some of your site’s demographics (optional) to entice contributors.

Stumbleupon Ads for Extremely Interesting Images

If you will be providing images/photographs that have high potentials of going viral (ex. controversial, first of its kind, fascinating, or a huge list of very compelling images), Stumbleupon is the first place that you’ll want to promote your images to, since they have millions of cerebral users, and possibly thousands that are really interested in your field, which can spread your viral content massively. Avail for their Paid Discovery services (paid ads), and utilize it until the target content gets a good momentum of traffic.

Donate your images to non-profit or business organizations

Find and attend events hosted by organizations within your geographic location. Cover the event by taking your own photographs (if possible) and offer your images to them to be published on their site/blog. Typically, these organizations give credit to the original source of the image/photographs, which might just give you a link from authority domains (non-profit, trade, business organizations or news websites).

You can also use these photos on your own blog, if your requests happen to be denied, which makes it a win/win situation.

Organize Contest or Awards

Bloggers secretly enjoy recognition – and photobloggers aren’t an exception. Organizing your own photoblogging contest can help you obtain high-quality links, in-content citations as well as develop a strong brand presence in your field, especially if you are already active in the Photoblogging community. Though for starters, it’s best to find partners and sponsors for the contest’s prizes and in marketing the event, as this will eventually be beneficial to all parties, where:

  • All the organizers and sponsors can benefit from links coming from participants, if it’s included on the contest’s mechanics.
  • Exposure for organizers/sponsors through brand mentions.
  • Participants can also absorb traffic from the site hosting the contest and have chances of winning the contest’s prizes.
  • Allows you to build relationships with other organizers, sponsors and participants, which can be useful in the future.

Same goes with Awards, given that most people in this business are aiming for their works to be rewarded in any ways. There are lots of concepts that you can choose to go with when it comes to awards (like location-based awards, theme or industry based awards, etc…). Once you have conceptualize the theme of your Photoblog awards, you can then develop an embeddable widget for the event, which may include specific badges for nominees/entries and winners for each category. Nominees and winners can proudly use and add these badges on their site that links back to your awards’ landing page.

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Image Credit: AlabasterDuchess

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristi Hines@Blog Marketing July 6, 2011 at 10:12 am

Great tips! I started up a photo blog myself a few months ago… definitely have to check out some more of the photography social networks!

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Kaiserthesage July 8, 2011 at 12:44 am

Thanks Kristi! I’m also planning to launch my own photoblog (just realized it after creating this post) :D

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tonygreene113 @ 113tidbits December 11, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Great tools for the visually gifted photographer!!

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Mark@TheBitBot Organic SEO & SEM Blog July 7, 2011 at 1:29 am

Looks like a pretty solid portfolio of SEO techniques for a format where you have to think out of the box a bit.

I would imagine as you pointed out in this post, that SEO for a photoblog would largely be a function of somehow finding ways to add actual text to your site.

You pretty much covered all that I could think of. The only thing I would add would be to petition visitors familiar with the photograph to comment on it in the comment form as a way of generating a little UGC. This way the hosting web pages will continually send out pings as they are continuously being updated.

Very interesting.

Mark

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Kaiserthesage July 8, 2011 at 12:47 am

Couldn’t agree more with your suggestion Mark! I should’ve included it on the networking part.

Yeah, it seems SEO and link building are more into out-of-the-box concepts these days to be truly efficient, knowing that a lot of changes on Google’s end have pummeled the traditional methods that most have been used to.

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Bret@Time Management Training July 7, 2011 at 3:05 am

In the past, I really paid no attention to how I named images. Whatever my camera named it or whatever photoshop kicked out with the slices is what I went with. Earlier this year, I changed that habit and started spending some time naming my images properly.

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Kaiserthesage July 8, 2011 at 12:49 am

Actually, I don’t really pay attention with my images as well, up to now :) Though I make sure that the content hosting the images will be full-proof to convince search engines that my content is still worth their time crawling.

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meg dialTONE July 7, 2011 at 6:59 am

Idol! xD

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Kaiserthesage July 8, 2011 at 12:49 am

Salamat Meg!!!

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Kent Mauresmo July 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I was thinking about starting a photo blog too. Im going to bookmark this page because you’ve seem to have done all the research for me.

By the way, I agree with you that Stumbleupon would work really well with a photo blog. People who use stumbleupon a lot tend to have A.D.D. so its better to just show them a nice photo so they can click the “thumbs up” button and move on. Hah

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Kaiserthesage July 8, 2011 at 12:51 am

Thanks and glad that you liked these tips Kent.

You can also improve your call to actions on each post to manipulate stumbleupon visitors into taking more actions while they are on your blog.

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Kristina L.@NOX Edge Coupon Code July 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Justin, I also do not have a photo blog, but I highly appreciate them, as it is not easy to make such kind of blog which will attract visitors mostly because of its images rather than content. Such photos have to be extraordinary good and unique, so that the visitor’s atention could be grabbed. Everyone thinks nowadays that they can make a good photo, but this is not a thing for everyone, it needs craft and creativity showing.

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Kaiserthesage July 8, 2011 at 12:54 am

I agree Kristina. Showcasing your exceptional images/photos should still have an end goal, like attracting your visitors through your art work and leading them to availing your services (say you are offering services or selling images).

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Scott@Product Database SEO July 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Very good insights! Thanks for the sharing. I am currently creating a Flikr account for a client. I will use some of your tips. Thanks!

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Kaiserthesage July 8, 2011 at 12:54 am

Thanks for the comment Scott!

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Nella July 12, 2011 at 1:38 am

Very-very interesting! I think donating photos to non-profit or business organizations is a great idea! I’ll forward this post to one of my friends that has a Photoblog, she is great but would need some advices to grow I think. I would appreciate these advices at least…very good collection I must say, I am impressed.

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Kaiserthesage July 14, 2011 at 3:13 am

Thanks for the comment Nella.

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Charlotte July 12, 2011 at 2:58 am

Wow! The photos are great… Thank you for sharing your techniques.

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Melvin July 13, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Interesting. Its funny how some search terms are being searched a lot yet they have no competition.

I don’t have a photoblog but if I am about to start one now, then I know what page to refer. ;-)

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Kaiserthesage July 14, 2011 at 3:13 am

Thanks for dropping by Melvin. Yeah, I’m also planning to build one, and I guess I’ll be referring to this page as well haha :) Great blog by the way, really liked the design.

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edgar tanya berones July 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Great detailed tips there about photo blogging Jason! I gained a great deal of new tricks regarding posting pix. I wasn’t really aware before that the size of the image upload has a great significance when it comes to sending signals for the search engines to index them. I’m glad to have met you in person during the seo org ph assembly. You should give talk sometime soon Sir.

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Kaiserthesage July 14, 2011 at 3:12 am

Thanks Edgar! It’s also my pleasure to meet you there and other fellow Filipino SEOs. Yeah, I’m quite excited to speak on the next event (I hope haha, since some are requesting to), as that experience will definitely result to LINKS :)

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Anjana July 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm

This is a wonderful article and all the tactics are well explained. It is actually difficult to find these kind of illustrative guiding articles which have been developed by using the personal experience of the writer. The points are really useful and thank a lot for that.

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Andrew Walker July 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Hi there.
It’s a very nice sharing here. It’s a very detailed and interesting topic. I don’t use any photoblogs but for those who are using it, I believe it’s going to be very useful. Thanks!

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Axel@Väggdekor July 25, 2011 at 5:49 am

Thank you for the tip! you know, content IS king. Thats why pictures some times are hard to optimize… Thank you, i will spend like two days to add my photoblog to all the social bookmarknig-sites you mentiond.

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Noel Addison@Web Design Ventura July 31, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Very interesting! My friends are thinking of creating a website for their “photography endeavors” these can be of great help to them. Also thank you for sharing your list of image bookmarking sites.

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Rob Benwell August 25, 2011 at 4:12 am

Very nice article and well explained. Using imagery can be very effective in enriching your posts, and it isn’t difficult to do. Thanks for sharing!

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Doro October 5, 2011 at 12:48 am

Thank you for all the great tips!! I’ve been optimizing webpages for a few years now, but when it came to my photo portfolio, I didn’t really know how to start. The list of photo directories and all the places where you can submit your images for free review are a great way to start getting your very first visitors!!

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Tad Chef October 17, 2011 at 2:26 am

Excellent post Jason but you seem to mix up image bookmarking and image hosting. I’d separate those. Flickr is image hosting, Dropular is image bookmarking.

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Van March 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Do you have more image bookmarking sites available other than those you have listed here?
and you know I was never aware that high quality images are being prioritized than the small ones, anyway thanks about this.

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Iain @marketing your farm April 6, 2013 at 4:25 am

I had never thought to use photos in this particular way. Thanks a lot for pointing it out.

Many of my pictures have been meme like so far. I just thought it would be an interesting way of differentiating my blog from others.

Thanks for the post

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Lynsey Grace August 6, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Brilliantly illustrated! I read all and I just simple I can say “Amazing shots”. Thanks for the great tips for Photoblogs.

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ritesh September 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Thank you for all the great tips!! I’ve been optimizing webpages for a few years now, but when it came to my photo portfolio, I didn’t really know how to start. I wasn’t really aware before that the size of the image upload has a great significance when it comes to sending signals for the search engines to index them.

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