How many of you heard about Pinterest? An Image based Social bookmarking and sharing site, which has become one of the top social networking site in no time. And it’s not rocket-science that Images with social feature made this site so big. Anyhow, here we will not be talking about Pinterest but we will look into the Factor on which Pinterest run: Images and Websites based on Images.
Images and videos are always preferred and we have already talked about Video blogging. Now. it’s time for Bloggers who are running image based website. Photo-blogs are one of those niche of Blogging, which can easily go viral with the help of social media, but if you are a photographer, designer and in any such profession which requires you to have a photo based Website, your target should get people/Traffic from search engines. Now, the catch here is Image optimization for Search engine can’t be same as normal Weblog, as text helps a lot in ranking. And we all know, Images do rank well in search engines and they help a lot in driving traffic to our site. Infact, image referral traffic is one of the top traffic contributor for ShoutMeLoud.
Photo-blogs are a growing part of the blogosphere, with time as the technology is getting advanced, more and more people are converting to the modern forms of blogging like photoblogs and video blogs as known as Vlogs. Here, we will discuss some basics of Search Engine Optimization for Photo-blogs.
The Search Engine Optimization for Image based website has much in common with traditional SEO but there are certain things that are specific to the photo-blogs. We would like to start from the beginning.
On Site SEO of Image Based Website:
Like ant other text-based blog, SEO on image based site is not very different. But, one thing which you should try from now on is, add text to your images. Even few line of textual content will make it useful and I have talked about it’s benefit below.
Selecting Keyword for Image:
The keyword selection for the photo-blogs is as important as it is in the SEO process for common blog. Usually people ignore the keyword selection for photo-blogs but its the most important part of the SEO for photo-blogs. One keyword should be our primary keyword, while create separate posts for images, the title should have some heavy search volume words so that each post can individually get ranked as well.
ON page optimization:
The on-page optimization include the same SEO optimization steps that are included in the normal SEO process. Here are some basic SEO onpage factors that are included in the normal SEO onpage optimization. But there are some things that needs special care in case of Photo-blogs. We will talk about each of the factor step by step:
I) Name of Picture File:
The file names of the images should be properly named and its better to have the names around the selected keyword. Google look at the file names of the images, specially in the Google image search. Usually people forget about the file names and let the names at default like picture-1.jpg or Defaultpic.jpg, this practice should be avoided and proper and optimized name should be used.
II) Image ALT Tag:
Alt text is what describes the image to the search engine bots. It should be a well optimized phrased carrying the keyword and its better to keep alt tag under 140 characters for better results. Although alt tag I very important in normal SEO as well, but for photo-blogs where the major content are the pictures, the alt tag should be given special importance.
III) Text Around Image:
Whenever you are create a blog posts either with one picture or more in it, make sure to have some text around the images. This is not compulsory but is recommended. While crawling through pictures Google check the image itself, then checks the alt tag and then check the text around the picture as well. A picture of horse in the Search Engine Optimization blog may not be considered as a good practice, so better to avoid it and keep related text around the picture to give Google a good idea about the images. Also, if you are taking images from some where, give proper credits to the link. Also, outbound link helps in SEO and for your site it will be beneficial.
IV) Compression of Image:
As we know that Google focuses a lot on the site speed, that’s why the image compression is very important in the photo-blogs, no matter how many photos you have on your blog, you must compress them. Here is a technical point to explain. There are two type of image compressors. First are those in which you trade the quality with size and secondly there are those tools which helps you reduce the size of the image by keeping the picture quality same. We would like to recommended the second one strongly. Yahoo has the second category tool called as SMUSHIT, which can compress more than 10 pictures at a moment while keeping the quality almost perfectly as it is.
If using WordPress, you should use Smush.it WordPress plugin, which compresses images as you upload.
V) Number of images:
One should not put too many images on one page as it will slower the load time of the website, and thus will get you lower in ranks. Always try to keep an optimized number of images on the front page specially, just according to the template that you have. If you using WordPress, use a good cache plugin and if your image based website is getting too much traffic, use CDN along with cache. This will not only reduce server load but also helps in better user experience.
Off site optimization tips for Image Based Website and PhotoBlogs:
As I mentioned above, Social media sites are the best way to drive traffic to your Image based site. Infact, sites like Stumble Upon, Pinterest and reddit can drive insane amount of traffic to your photo-blog. Now, in 2012 (Post Panda SEO World), SEO is more about becoming social and factors like Page speed, Ad layout and many more, I will talk about some of the basic How to do SEO tips, which will help you to get started.
Before we move ahead, I would tell you image based site need to have a good design along with some basic features which a user need. For example, quick Facebook share and Pinterest share button. Prominent previous and next buttons.
Just like on-page optimization, majority of steps for the off-optimization of photoblogs are same as the general off-optimization process for normal site. Here are some basic tips about offpage optimization of normal sites but still there are some factors that we need to care about.
Water Marking images:
Watermarking images is an important part and can drive a good amount of traffic. You have to put your company website on every picture that you upload. This step is between the onpage and offpage optimization but since it has to deal with the traffic directly thats why we are including it in the off page optimization. This also helps in branding and if someone is copying your images, you can simply spot it using watermark.
I suggest you to try Watermark reloaded plugin for WordPress, which will add automatic watermark to images you will upload. And, if you use Windows Live writer, this guide will help you to add watermark using Windows live writer.
Social Media Activity:
Make sure you are well connected to social media and your blog has the option to easily share images from your blog to the social media sites. There are various plugins that can help you in adding the sharing options to the blog. Now, since you are running an Image based website, make sure you add option to share images on Social sites like Facebook, Pinterest with one click.
Maintaining Social Media Profiles:
Everytime you update your blog, you should simultaneously update the Facebook, twitter and other profiles as well, so that you can interconnect the content with social media.
Pinterest is a very fast growing image sharing site where you can create profile, make board for your company or interest and then upload or share images. Other people can then easily like and re-pin your images. You can have a good pinterest guide here.
Give Embed Code:
If possible provide an embed code under the picture in your blog, so that if someone wants to add the picture to their site or blog, they can have a direct method to do so.
Stumble upon and Social Bookmarking:
You should make a good use of stumbleupon and other social bookmarking sites, through that images can easily go viral and this giving you a very good traffic.
Additionally, you should try to publish photos in a regular sequence that will keep your blog very fresh in search engines and the best method to do so is to schedule the blog posts/images after an exact period of time, this it will help you in having a good advantage of fresh posts.
Use Flickr and other Photo sharing sites:
Lets go back to above point of Watermarking and once your images are ready and watermarked. Upload them to Flickr and other photo-sharing sites. You can use proper license attribution and get a link back to your site. You should look at the useful guide shared earlier here: How to Drive traffic from Flickr using images.
Here are some of the essential PhotoBlogs plugin that I recommend, for any other blog check out Best WordPress plugins for SEO.
- Watermark reloaded plugin to Watermark images
- Smush.it WordPress Plugin to Compress images
- SEO Friendly Images Plugin
- Any good WordPress cache plugin.
Along with all the steps mentioned in the On page and off page optimization of photo blogs, it should be kept in mind that the normal SEO methodologies must be followed in the photoblogs as well. With a mix breed of normal SEO as well as SEO for photo blogs you can have very good results from the photo blogs that you are running. Do share your personal experiences if you have ever dealt with photoblogs.