Few 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 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.
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
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:
- Cool Photoblogs
- Google Photoblog Directory
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.
Image Credit: AlabasterDuchess