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In the first of our tutorials explaining the best ways of getting your images seen, Image Source web expert Alex Jordan explains simple and effective ways of optimising your photographs

Contrary to popular belief, search engines do not cleverly decipher the content or context of an image by reading the image file. Nor do they extract the embedded IPTC Metadata (information about images stored within an image file) and use it as a ranking signal. Instead, we have to tell them in no uncertain terms what a photo is and what it is about.

Over the next 6 weeks I’m going to discuss and advise how photographers and webmasters can optimise their images for website performance, search engine optimisation and link bating.

Image Optimisation Series

During this series I will be discussing the following topics:

Feel free to post your comments below or direct queries to @AlexJordanUK through twitter.

Photographers and Image Optimisation

Having worked in SEO for over 5 years I’ve been lucky enough to work with a wide range of people.  During this time I’ve found that photographers are, generally speaking, very good at creating visually exciting websites, but not so good at optimising them for search engines. This usually means that they suffer less exposure and therefore fewer sales than they should be getting.

Whilst at CEPIC Congress 2012 back in May, I took the opportunity to speak to several photographers and leading industry figures to get their opinions on image optimisation. It occurred to me that most of the people I was speaking to had not really thought about image optimisation, with many assuming that search engines would simply read and interpret the IPTC Metadata they had provided.

Unfortunately for them, search engines do not currently use IPTC Metadata and probably never will (at least in the foreseeable future). Interestingly, this issue was later discussed and confirmed by Michael Steidl (IPTC) during the Metadata / IPTC conference. I have therefore put this series together to help photographers optimise their images and to clarify some of the misconceptions they have about image optimisation.

Check in next week to see why choosing the right file size and file type can positively affect your bank balance!


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