Some of the most creative people in the world are those that see the world through a lens. A digital lens, 30mm lens or telephoto lens – each lends a unique perspective to the photographer’s capture. Accompanied by just the right camera, lighting, subject and inspiration – a very captivating image can be created. Technology has made photography a breathtaking artform, and for some, an affordable hobby. Recent technology has also made it easier than ever before to share and show off those captured treasures.
As the popularity of photoblogs (a photographer’s social media inspired website devoted to images) rises, so too does the competition for reaching online audiences. Fortunately, there are three key factors that a photographer can implement right away to encourage search engines to favor their site.
Scary word, we know, that’s why we like to use it. This is a complex website programmer code word that simply means the instructions on a website a search engine reads to categorize the information on your page. Think of this like the data points on an old-timey card catalog. Metadata are key data points that you don’t want to miss – they are easy to overlook – and fairly easy to update and implement.
Like lenses to a camera, there are several categories of metadata and hundreds of different types. Great photoblogs will incorporate best practices for the main five: title, description, keywords, EXIF and robots.
One of our biggest pet peeves is coming across a website with a scary-looking shark image and see the name of the file to be “shar01.jpg”. If you want your image to ever be found by anybody on earth who speaks the same language as you, you need to give your image a name. Most people don’t name their children “boy01.kid” and images on websites should have a name other then “shar01.jpg”. In fact, having a name like “scary-shark-teeth.jpg” would be far more effective, especially if your web visitor is blind.
Speaking of blind web visitors, while you are taking advantage of file names, add ALT data to your image. ALT is a type of metadata that is displayed in the rare off-chance that your image can’t be. Think of this as a placeholder for your image for blind visitors, broken websites, or nosey search engines that want to know what your image is about. Just in case they want to add it to their image search libraries.
There are some fantastic WordPress 3.0 themes now available specifically for photoblogs that take advantage of EXIF data. EXIF is a type of metadata created by the camera that includes very specific camera setting information that can be extracted and displayed very nicely with an image. The blogs that use these display a great sense of transparency and professionalism with this artform. And as nosey web-surfers, the more information I can see about you, the more I’m going to like you.