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How to get search engine optimisation from your images

Posted on August 20, 2020 by theimagefile under Photographers Websites

Being a photographer much of your website is image-based. This makes it more of a challenge to get great search engine optimisation (SEO) as the website content is generally not very wordy. So when the SEO experts are saying that every page should contain at least six to seven hundred words (and some saying over two thousand words per page is needed) well, it gets tricky!

Let’s start by looking at what a search engine wants from a website. What makes it want to index your site and show it to its visitors when they search using a term that matches your site content?

So Google’s search algorithm is specifically engineered to connect its searcher (your potential customer) to the site that most closely matches what they are looking for. It looks and compares hundreds of different factors and indexes billions of pages. Google can pull the best result from that index and display it on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). All this happens in a fraction of a second, and usually with great accuracy.

It’s amazing, it’s free and it works!

Google does not have to index your or any other website and is not obliged to show your site to someone searching for a keyword that exactly matches your targeted search engine optimisation, and/or that you feel should show your site on the SERP. But they do want to give their visitor the very best result in the search results. Some of those search terms will include words that their advertising customers will have paid for (referred to as pay-per-click or PPC) and other results will come from their own indexing (referred to as organic SEO). Their algorithm takes into account tons of data; the age of the site, the volume of traffic, the other sites that link to the site, the social influence, number of shares and many other things that we don’t even know about.

So what about SEO for images?

In this article we are only looking at organic search results for photos. How optimising your photos can hugely help your search engine optimisation.

So let’s get back to the problem that photographer’s face – mainly, getting indexed but not having loads of text content. The asset that you do have is loads of photos – which is great as Google also indexes your images. Google crawls both pages and images.

So how do you get the information to Google to understand what your website is about, what you do and what your photography genre is so you can get included in the search engine results pages (SERPS)?

The good news is that theimagefile does much of it automatically for you, generating image sitemaps and updating all the relevant fields in code to make sure that most information is made available for indexing. You just need to add the actual words to describe the images so Google understands what it’s all about.

Search engine optimisation in the Collection page

First, create a collection and name the collection appropriately and add a text description of the collection. In the Access Rights, change the collection to Public and even though the access code will never be required, it will be used in the collection URL so give it a short access code that could assist your SEO. If using multiple words for the access code use hyphens between the words. Set your sales options as needed; I set my example to Proof only as if it was a portfolio, but you can do as you want.

In my example collection below I have my collection name: Paris – France The access code: Photos-of-Paris and a couple of lines of descriptive text. This has made the collection URL: https://www.pixelparty.co.uk/p/photos-of-paris/paris-france. Immediately you should see that my keywords Paris and France are in the collection URL.

Adding more text to the description would help my SEO but I am trying to be realistic so I have limited it to a few sentences. The description text is shown above the photos in the collection view.

Search engine optimisation for the images

Now the collection is set up, upload your photos. The data you need to think about per image is:

  • Filename
  • Caption
  • Keywords

The Filename

Often a filename will be something like DSC-81496.jpg. If your filenames are left like this, the only information that search engines can gather is that the image is a jpg. If you changed that filename to Paris-France-81496.jpg it immediately tells the search engine what the photo is about.

The Caption

Your caption should be a couple of sentences that describe the photo. It should be written in readable text, not just a bunch of words.

The Keywords

Add the most important keywords about the image, separated with a comma. Don’t add unnecessary keywords. In this example, I would add three keywords: France, Paris, Eiffel tower,

If someone was looking for a photo of blue sky or sun, or city, landscape, busy, or all the other keywords that you could add, there are far better images that will be available. Keep your keywords brief and absolutely accurate.

This is my edit file page after editing the File Name, Caption and Keywords:

You’re done! In its own time, Google will crawl your site to index your sitemaps and discover the text added and you will have helped your search engine optimisation.

The My Images SEO editor

The options to add this data have always been available for you in your collections. You can also add this data in your image editor IPTC fields and theimagefile will extract that data during upload and put it in the fields for you.

You also have the “Edit” button in your collection Files tab. Select a range or all images in the collection and hit the Edit button. There you can bulk edit the filename, caption and keywords. There is also the “My Images SEO Editor” where you can bulk edit all fields on one page, has the Find and Replace tool to make editing very easy and, for the advanced user, accepts regex inputs.

You can delegate this work

The My Images SEO Editor can be delegated using Admin Links. This means that you can use a third-party image editor, who can edit your filename, captions and keywords for you without needing to log into your account or be given access to other details or collections within your account.