Key Words Are Key.
I will readily admit that I am not an expert on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). But the one thing I do know, is that in order for your images to be found, Google and other search engines need to be able to “see” them. To that end, proper key-wording, file names, and captioning are essential.
The last-minute purchase if this image, just 6 days before Christmas, was a strong reminder of just how important. Proper key-wording and a descriptive file name helped the buyer find my image in her search for photos of Baxter Lake, the small lake I happen to live on. As luck would have it, this was to be a gift to the parents of the woman’s boyfriend, who also happen to live on the same lake. Yup, small world.
When I delivered the print, I asked the woman how she found me and this image? She had simply Googled “Baxter Lake,” while looking for photos, and this image of mine came up front row center in Google Images, among others of course, several more of which were mine as well.
Without proper key-wording, changing the file name, and adding a good description in the metadata the sale may never have been made.
Google is blind.
One of the first thing I do with any image that I plan to post to the web, be it my website, Facebook fan page, or right here on my blog, is change the file name. The original file name of the image above was “_MG_0301.CR2.”
Quick, without looking at the photo, only the file name, can you tell me wat that image might look like? Google’s web crawlers can’t either, to Google, and other search engines, it’s just numbers and letters. Now try it with, “baxter-lake-sunrise-with-boulder-and-reflection-0301.jpg,” I bet you and Google will have a better idea of what the image looks like.
More than just a name.
The file name is just part of the equation for getting your images discovered. It all begins with keywords. Second only to telling Lightroom where to put the file upon import, is key-wording. I do this not only to help me find the images later, but also so they are part of the file from that point on.
Here is the list of key words in this images metadata as they appear in my Lightroom catalog.
Helping the blind to see.
The caption, or description, you add to the image file is also very important. You can get as elaborate, or as basic as you wish, but the best description I’ve heard of how to write that caption is to write it as if you were describing your image to a blind person, trying to covey not only the look, but the emotion of the image as well.
Here’s where you get to put your creative writing skills to good use.
What you do before you even think about sharing your image with the world, has a lot to do with how much of the world is able to find it.
Some light reading about key-wording and SEO.