11 SEO tips for your photoblog

Richard Hearne offered some great tips for making Irish photoblog mcawilliams.com more visible on the search engines and they’re very good general search engine optimization tips that can be applied to any website.

He has grouped his tips into the following categories:

  1. Site Architecture
  2. On-Page Optimisation
  3. Off-site Optimisation

Richard’s post is well worth reading, even if you don’t have a photoblog. I know I learned a thing or two that are already paying off!

I have a few more tips to add to those above. Most of them are geared towards the photo blog community rather than general blogging sites, but read on even if you’re not running a photoblog!

  1. Join Photoblogs.org before you do anything else. It’s the center of the photoblog universe and it’s worth participating in the community there.
  2. Join VFXY and Cool photoblogs. VFXY displays thumbnails of their member’s blogs which is great for driving traffic. Coolphotoblogs is a photoblog directory. I’m a member of the former, but something went wrong with my application to the latter and I haven’t bothered figuring it out yet.
  3. Join Flickr, Zooomr, 23HQ and any other social photo sharing site you care to mention. Zooomr are offering premium accounts to bloggers still I think. You can host your photo there, saving your bandwidth costs. It’s also a very good way of exposing your photography to a wider audience. Thanks to Flickr I’ve almost made back the cost of hosting this website through sales of my photos.
  4. Taking a leaf from Richard above, if you host your images on Flickr, they require a link back to that picture’s page on flickr.com. Make sure you don’t leak page rank by adding rel=’external nofollow’ to that link. The same applies to Zooomr and 23HQ of course.
  5. Visit the Photoblogs.org wiki, especially the tips and tricks page and how to get traffic to your photoblog.
  6. Write. Search engines can’t do much with an image, but if you describe the image in a small paragraph of text that will help. In a similar vein, every photo should have a title. It might be tempting to number the image, or call them “Untitled #98″, “Untitled #99″, “Untitled #100″ and so on, but that won’t help people find your website.
  7. As you’re now writing, link. Link to other sites and blogs and do it often. Photoblogs don’t link enough. Where’s the conversation? Everybody has their heads stuck in the sand doing their own thing, afraid that they’ll lose visitors for good if they leave their site. Link to specific blog posts and those posts will be sent a “ping” or a “trackback”. That tells that blog’s owner you’ve been talking about his work. It also plants a link to your blog right in his comments section where his visitors can find it and follow what you said about his work. Here’s a ping my blog sent to an older post on my site. My feed reader post has lots of external links. Oh look, there’ll be a ping from that link too! Links really are the lifeblood of your blog.
  8. I may be biased, but I recommend you use WordPress to host your photoblog. It has support for pinging and trackbacks out of the box, a facility some other photoblog software don’t have. If you don’t want to host a WordPress blog yourself, open a blog on WordPress.com and check out what people are posting about photography, photos and even flickr. It’s a bit more limited than a regular WordPress blog but you’ll get a good feel for it. Best of all, you can export your blog and host it yourself when you feel up to it!
  9. If you do use WordPress, install Ultimate Tag Warrior so your posts are categorised in a fine grained manner. Tags do wonderful things for search engines, and this is a must have for any WordPress blog. Note that tagging support is going into WordPress right now, but it’s still being developed. I think a small script to convert UTW tags to WordPress tags is called for. Hopefully I’ll have it running here within the next few days.
  10. Join Google webmaster tools and enable “Enhanced Image Search”. Read more about it here but I’ve noticed an increase in hits from Google Image Search since I opted in to it.
  11. Claim your blog on Technorati. Here’s the Technorati page for this blog. Add an icon to your user account to encourage clicks on your stories there.

With a few changes to your photoblog you can drastically increase the traffic to your site and share your work with a wider audience. You never know, one of your photos could become a viral email attachment sent around to thousands of people in offices and homes.

The most sent around duck photo

I would love to know who made an email attachment of my thieving duck and thank them. The Aflac Duck seems to be a well known part of American insurance marketing and people got a kick out of these ducks stealing money from a lady on the street!

Apparently my thieving duck has become “the most sent-around-ha-ha-look-at-the-duck photo evar” but I wish I had watermarked the image with my blog url. It has appeared on:

To those that linked back here, thank you. To the rest, shame on you, why didn’t you use Google and find my blog?

I’m still chuffed that an image of mine is now an “urban legand” of sorts. Not many can say that! More comments on flickr but please link here if you’re going to link anywhere!

Update – welcome visitors from the Zefrank forum!

Update on June 14th. It appears the News of the World newspaper used the Thieving Duck last Sunday. I sent them off an email this afternoon so hopefully I will hear from them within a day or two.

Clearing out my feed reader

My feed addiction has got to stop! It’s a great way to keep up to date on my favourite blogs but when it gets to over 300 blogs then something has to be done. That means cutting back on my subscriptions. Unfortunately the first to go will be those photoblogs that don’t offer a full feed, or only show thumbnails. If I had time, I’d visit your blog every day but I don’t, and it’s impossible to judge the merits of a photo from a tiny thumbprint of an image.

Without further ado, here’s the list of blogs I have dropped from my feed reader. If you’ve come here because you saw traffic to your blog through a link in this post, please consider a full feed. I’d be back like a shot because I enjoyed your photography enough to subscribe in the first place!

Your feed readers are the most loyal of your readers and they should be treated accordingly. Give them something to get their teeth into instead of a small morsel and you’ll find that traffic to your blog increases, you’ll get more links to your posts and maybe even more comments by an appreciative audience.

Here are the photography related blogs that stay.

And a lot more but I got tired of copy/pasting everything.

Coming up on Monday: search engine tips for your photoblog. Don’t miss it!

Poster size prints only 9.99

Turkish Trabordine only 19.99! Where’s that Muunkaay!

No, Daft Dave hasn’t invaded the blogosphere yet, but until the 31st of March Photobox.ie are offering poster size prints for only €9.99 which seems like quite a good deal. I’m ordering a few prints off them to see what the quality is like but I’ve ordered before and been happy with the results so hopefully they won’t disappoint.

Give tired rooms a stunning makeover by creating a feature wall with poster prints. Why not try using interesting crops to create a series of prints – as A3, 16″x12″, 18″x12″, 20″x16″ A2 and 30″x20″ size prints are just €9.99 each! Just enter offer code CREATEWALLARTIE at the checkout. The only limit is your creativity!

Shorpy’s 100 year old photoblog

Someday the photos being posted today will look antiquated and some may be studied by historians but we can do the same now thanks to the efforts of Shorpy. All the photos on this blog are from 100 years ago, at the start of the 20th century and offer a glimpse into a very different time. They’re super, I’m hooked and subscribed already!

Two years ago I posted two pictures comparing a street scene in Cork in 1930 against the same one in 2005. I keep meaning to do more of them but as the old images are still copyrighted I need to ask permission first. Cork Past and Present is an excellent collection of images from the past that is a wonderful resource to compare what the city looked like with what it is now. I might try some more old and new photos linking to pages on that site.

Are there any other old photo sites or blogs out there? (via)