SEO for Images using Robin on Ivy

This post started as a little experiment in SEO for images, it’s ended up more of a post about illegal image use, but you’ll understand the purpose of it by the end, I think!. Using this image of a robin in my garden, as it’s nearly Christmas), I have optimised the title, filename and content of the post  to include the words Robin on Ivy in an attempt to get it ranked high in Google search results for the query “Robin on Ivy”.  For the purpose of this exercise you will need to search including the speach marks otherwise you’ll end up with images about batman rather then garden birds!

robin on ivy

Click this image to buy prints or downloads, cards are available on redbubble

I started by searching for the search term “Robin on Ivy” and noticed some rather alarming things.

This is an image that I uploaded to istock images some years ago whilst dabbling in stock images. I only sold a few and my credits were not enough to get paid when they switched systems, so I lost all my credit!

Since then Getty bought iStock and has also changed the way they do business with third party suppliers. To my surprise, the second highest position for my image is from a site called (the first being my image on redbubble where I have sold a few cards) .

So now, simply from uploading to iStock, the image is now being sold by Getty and I’m not sure I’m happy about that, so after this experiment is over I will delete my iStock account and will update you on how long it takes to get my image down form the other sites.

There is no simple way to delete an iStock account so be wary, I’ve just emailed them using their form, agin I’ll probably write about this later. Even deactivating images is a struggle, I cannot find the answers on the web so if anyone knows how to do this please let me know in the comments.

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Marketing for photography in a social revolution

Everything changes. Technology advances at lightning speed changing the way we live and communicate. The art of photography has been irrevocably changed. There are the obvious changes in the way we capture and process images, and then there are the ways in which we view and share images.

When I was a darkroom photographer, I would dodge and burn and print. The only way that I could get my images seen was to hang them on the wall or get them published in magazines. It was really hard to get noticed, to get exposure. Now I have Flickr, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and my own photography blog and website. I can get my images viewed by thousands in a very short space of time. I also have some control over how my images are indexed by the search engines, driving traffic to each of these accounts.

marketing for photographers

It’s time to look at the Photography industry in a different way

Photographers who cling onto the past, expecting to be able to earn large sums of money for one negative or slide are sadly disengaged from today’s market. Documentary and press photographers have been hard hit. Papers today can get cheap, and even free images, from members of the public for most news worthy events. It is true that the quality of images often suffers as a consequence and that many talented photographers are finding it harder and harder to make a living.

Then there is the stock image industry. Millions of people are uploading billions of images down-loadable, sometimes, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Does this mean the death of the photographic industry, not at all; it means a transformation of the industry. People can speculate about whether it’s good or bad, but that is not going to help photographers get ahead. The first online digital image sharing services, introducing the concept of micro-pricing, were developed by entrepreneurs who recognised that the boundaries between creators and users have disappeared.

The stock image game is still there to be played but it is tougher than ever before. You need some dedication, persistence and hard work to make any money out of it and even then that is often not enough.

Successful photographers need to understand and use different tools and platforms for marketing, and either sell more images for less money, or be so good at photography, social marketing and search engine optimisation that both their images and their services as a photographer get noticed.

Whilst traditional photographers may get satisfaction playing the blame game, calling the stock image industry to task about their unscrupulous licensing model. They may heave and sigh that amateurs call themselves professionals because they have bought themselves a great piece of kit and can click a shutter, but all of this is a waste of time. To survive as a photographer now means refocusing on what works right now. To get noticed as a photographer you will still need to be great at what you do to make any money out of your art. However, being good is no longer enough; you will need to learn new marketing skills, social media marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation) and content marketing.

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be writing a series of articles on the subject. Sharing what I have learned from over a decade of digital marketing for Silicon Beach Training in Brighton. So keep coming back and follow me on  Facebook,  TwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and LinkedIn for more instalments.