Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Day 76, Learning 76: Optimizing Images for Search

Images are the life blood of every business.  This is true not just for the photographers than create them, but the individuals (profile pics) and businesses (websites) that put them into play.  For many individuals and business, the purpose is to both generate excitement about the product, and to increase their visibility.  The ability of images to appear in search results is key in the latter, and it's a ken that many photographers don't possess.

In short, you can make your images appear more readily on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duckduckgo (my favorite), and other search engines.

As everything becomes more dependent on the internet and digital expression, our visual language becomes more and more important.  This is a good thing for photographers, by the way.  The advent of cheap, high-quality cameras may have made every Uncle Bob a photographer, but it's also increased the importance of truly professional work.  Your clients want their work seen.  They want their websites found.  This starts with the image file you give them.

Google/Yahoo/Bing/Duckduckco cannot "see" your images.  They have to read them from their properties information.  Here are some tips for "searchable" images:

Ever right-click your images and check out their properties?  Now is the time to do so.  To increase their visibility--

1.  Create an accurate, short descriptive title.  Search engines recognize these
2.  Give it appropriate tags.  These are also searchable.
3.  In the comments section, but your website address
4.  Reduce your image size to the smallest possible without sacrificing quality.  Search engines often take into account the time it takes to load an image/web page.  300KB is too big.

If you want key word ideas for your tags, go to Duckduckgo or Google and start typing the key words you've already chosen.  Both of those sites will "auto complete" your search for you, based upon the most popular searches in their system.  Type "wedding photography" and you might see "wedding photography tips" as the auto fill.  That's a great tag.  At Hurricane Images Inc. I use "Powerful Intimate Portraits."  Including your location can be helpful, but remember Google and others already tailor results to the searcher's location, so that only makes a difference if their from out of town.

The image in this post is from a recent shoot from a lovely (and would you believe it, grandma) client.  It's titled from my company with portraits included; it's tagged for San Francisco, and has my website in the comments section.  The session itself was great.  She was a new "empty-nester" with time and creativity on her hands.  We had a ton of fun in our session.  I set up three photographic areas and we moved through them in multiple outfits.  A great shoot.

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