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Author Topic: What I have learned so far after 42 days online...  (Read 7315 times)

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« on: January 06, 2012, 18:38 »
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Id like to tell you about what I have learned so far building my site, SEO matters,  advertizing it ect

After 42 days online, I have not made one sale and so far I am averaging only 2-3 unique visitors a day (excluding myself of course).  I did read a lot from many various sources throughout the internet. From what I can understand, although Google do some indexing soon after your site is online, it can take up to 6 months before it is fully indexed.
It has been possible for me to see the Google indexation process through photodeck user interface.

Firstly, after your site is online, within the next few days and hardly without any intervention from your part, Google proceed by indexing your main page, secondary pages and thereafter every single image. Every page and image within your site gets a link. For that process to take place and for Google to become aware of your site, the only needed thing is a link of your main page somewhere within Google billions indexed sites. For me by just putting a link on this site a few weeks ago was sufficient for Google to pick it up and index it.

The next level of indexation gets a better look at the inner parts of your content and, presumably, that can take anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months after which the site should get a little boost in visitors. By that I mean, anything above 2-3 unique visitors a day. Of course, at that point, there are many other variables that would influence the number of visitors.
 
In the next level of indexation, Google create an indexed link leading to a page containing all images for every single different keyword amongst all your images. Therefore for someone that has over a thousand images containing an average of 30-50 keywords per image while subtracting the similar ones, it should create many thousands of links just with the keywords.

It is possible to see all those indexed links by simply using the Google command, site:, followed by your site main address. Therefore, in the Google field, without the quotes, you would apply the following syntax site:www.example.com and hit enter.  In my case, with 1300 images, I have 2260 links indexed so far. I can see that so far, my main page, all secondary pages, all images and many keywords have been indexed. Still are many more keywords to be indexed, hence why it still could take up to 6 months.

Regarding giving good jpg names, I know that some of you recommended to rename images so that they are better optimized for search engines. However one thing I have discovered having my site with photodeck, for each one of my image, the title within the image metadata is used as part of the name for an indexed link not the jpg file name.  Within all the indexed links I did not find any link carrying my file name. Furthermore, if you check your own gallery at Shutterstock, you will see that each image link contain the title from the title in the metadata not the file name. The difference in the handling of the image name between Shutterstock and Photodeck is that Photodeck does not add the extension jpg at the end of the link name while Shutterstock does. In both cases, in addition of the image metadata title being added to the link, dashes are put in between each word.  
 
Those findings, in my situation, lead me to believe that changing my file names would be a waste of time for now. Furthermore, I presumed it would not be too hard to find a script or maybe make one that would change your jpg file names with the ones from your image metadata titles. I think most of us have created better metadata titles then the file names.

Regarding advertising your site, this is the hard part. Obviously if you are going to make a site to sell images, you will want to tell people about it and this is the tricky part. Why? Because most people dont want to hear about it. I think this forum has been the most receptive when I introduced it few weeks ago. It is like living in your own world and talking to yourself as you look at the traffic of one two or three visitors a day. As I look at my spam folder getting filled with dozen of emails everyday which I have to filter out to make sure that I dont delete an important email, I do understand the dilemma.

Two weeks ago I got banned from another forum for spamming.  I introduce myself and put up a link in the advertize your website group but got very negative comments and eventually got banned while trying to defend myself.  I am a little more cautious now.

I had more success writing to people that already had my images for which many responded with positive comments while some even put up links on their sites. Many lost the knowledge of how my images were acquired and even one said that she had picked it up from Google Images and did not know it was copyrighted. For the latter,  I did explain to her that she was infringing copyright laws, gave her links on the subject  and  in exchange for her understanding I indicated to her that she could keep the image in place as long as she give me credit and a link to my site, which she agreed. Her site was only serving her small town selling used itemsnothing too fancy.

I found many of my images as facebook avatars which gave me great opportunities to introduce myself on their walls thanking them for using my images while leaving links.

This is truly difficult to get trusted and get that first sale but what I have learned is, whether a website is to be successful or not, it does take the time to find out.

Denis
denispepin.com
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 22:08 by cybernesco »


« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2012, 19:11 »
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Very interesting, and thanks.  Pundits and authors like Thomas Friedman like to talk about how in today's "flat", global, internet-based economy, anyone can create a product and start marketing to the world.  And as you've pointed out, that's a huge overstatement because the noise level on the internet is high and making your product known to buyers requires serious research, imagination, creativity, persistence and the willingness to bend some rules.  Oh, and luck.

 It's a giant haystack in which to scatter your needles.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 21:59 by stockastic »

« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2012, 21:46 »
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I've tried both image and video and both failed miserably for many reasons.

First of all, why would buyers actually frequent a photographer's site that offers a few hundred or a couple of thousand images?

That only works if you are working in a special niche, a very special and unique niche.

Other than that Google won't help you much either. While all your pages might be indexed, as long as you offer "generic" stock stuff, other long standing stock sites will be ranked higher for single images than yours anyway.

After 5 years I have a decent ranking for various search phrases that I used on my site but just having visitors isn't going to cut the cheese either...

You need targeted traffic - that's all that matters. You don't even have to be indexed on Google to get that but it involves a lot of work on your part.

Achieving targeted traffic is the holy grail of successful internet marketing. I wish I could figure it out. I tried youtube videos, twitter, Google+ (I hate Facebook) but nothing more than a few commissioned gigs came out of it.

The only regular jobs I get originated from the big stock agencies so go figure.

I spent so much time on getting the sites off the ground but I have to admit I was not ready to spend also $$$ on any marketing, which might have made a difference. I'm not proficient in that area either so it probably would have been a waste as well...

« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 22:00 »
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cybernesco, I hope you aren't discouraged; the knowledge you've gained is extremely valuable and could be used to sell any number of things besides stock photos.

RacePhoto

« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2012, 03:44 »
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So it won't get lost:

"the title within the image metadata is used as part of the name for an indexed link not the jpg file name" YES! It's more work to add a title, but what you really want is the ALT TEXT for every image:  Google officially confirmed that it mainly focuses on an alt text when trying to understand what an image is about. There is a difference.

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/12/using-alt-attributes-smartly.html

You could probably spend more time hunting for Google tricks than working on the website or doing anything else. Glad to do anything small to help everyone here who's trying to run their own site. I think the ALT TEXT factor is important if you want to be searched by image name.

Here's another one that just came out. Maybe I'm just slow and missed it. But Google and other search engines (the world doesn't revolve around Google alone yet!) Look for pages that change. If you are running a cobweb site (what I've been calling dormant and dead websites with no updates for what seems is years, since the days of dial-up) then the search engine will reduce your rank. Make changes to content or the front pages. Search engines like live sites not stale ones.

Just like the "Nofollow" that stops some tagline and forum spam, the identical phrase and link, will also get discarded by Google. This is a brilliant move as far as I'm concerned because the cretins that write in forums and post links to their websites, often with no relevance to anything in the message, are wasting their time. If you are going to spam the internet, you might as well know, that the people who write search algorithms, are not idiots who live in a closet.

For every trick that we can come up with to artificially raise our rank, they have ten more that will try to discover and avoid erroneous placement higher than it should be.
 
Years ago, people who spammed up their HTML Metadata tags were downgraded for repeating words. Lots of people thought they were tricking the search. Instead they were shooting their rank down by themselves. Duplicate words, repeating words, down went the score.

I wish there was a way for buyers to give photos a spam rank and move it back in the search for false tags, but that would lead to abuse, so we'll never see it. Hint search for "Vintage Bicycle" on any agency and see a collection from the same person of about 80 pictures of a girl (the same girl!) sitting on a bicycle in every possible pose, she changes clothes and repeats many of the same shots, with an old bike. Most you can't even see the bike, and it's not the subject. You know when you see the girl in the blue dress, on every micro site, over and over.

Anyway. There you go three small tips for better placement. Use the ALT TEXT tag and get better results. Vary your link descriptions or they get ignored. Repeating Meta Tags in the header will hurt your rank.

« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2012, 15:47 »
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Thank you skockastic and racephoto for your comments!!

That only works if you are working in a special niche, a very special and unique niche.

Or maybe it can work if you can reach the ones that already had your images for sometime and use those images to your advantage to create a perception of a niche. After all a niche is all about perception isnt it.  I think it could work especially if images in question have been used by well known and trusted establishments and more so if, in addition, those establishments have not attached any credit to them. Why? Because that give that much more reason to say Hello I am, so and so, the copyright owner and I would like to say thank you for using my image..ect."  I would not dare asking about how they got the image as that would kill the bigger opportunity.

Here is an example of what I mean, while searching using Google Images I found that Harvard University has been using one of my fruits and vegetables image to illustrate an article at the following address:

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-full-story/

In addition, you will see that the image does not carry any credit anywhere on the page. This was my clue to introduce myself.  At the bottom of the page I click on the facebook icon leading to this Harvard department facebook page and introduce myself as per following link:

http://www.facebook.com/harvardpublichealth

I believe that this kind of niche perception can be nurtured and spread around as shown above. Of course nothing is immediate but this could have a cumulative effect in the long run. I could sit all day every day for the next couple of weeks finding opportunities in this manner, but then nothing else would get done.

Other than that Google won't help you much either. While all your pages might be indexed, as long as you offer "generic" stock stuff, other long standing stock sites will be ranked higher for single images than yours anyway.

Again, the difference between generic and niche is all about perception.  Yes I do agree that some images are more unique then others to the eyes of most of us and therefore can be readily attributed to a niche, however I do believe that once any image is embedded into a page to illustrate an article or a site, that image become a unique image to illustrate that content and therefore become a niche image to their viewers. The trick is to spread the word from that perception to people that care.

After 5 years I have a decent ranking for various search phrases that I used on my site but just having visitors isn't going to cut the cheese either...

Can you provide a link to check it out?

Achieving targeted traffic is the holy grail of successful internet marketing. I wish I could figure it out. I tried youtube videos, twitter, Google+ (I hate Facebook) but nothing more than a few commissioned gigs came out of it.

Why do you hate facebook?  With their ad interface, you simply tailor your ad to the audience you want. You get to choose your "target audience" by countries, languages, interests by putting in keywords, ages etc... After which facebook calculate automatically your target audience which could be diminished from 800 millions to a few thousands. You could even target just Getty or just Shutterstock customers if you want or you could target an audience that likes reading a certain magazine mixed with people that are "editor in chiefs". Name the target you want, they have it.

I used a lot of could would and maybe because thats all I can do with the limited knowledge and resources I have.  My methods will probably not work but this is the best I can do.

Thank you Click_Click for your input

Denis
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 10:44 by cybernesco »

« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2012, 15:59 »
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"This was my clue to introduce myself."

Do buyers really want to be bothered by contributors?

« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2012, 16:03 »
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"This was my clue to introduce myself."

Do buyers really want to be bothered by contributors?

I don't know yet

« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2012, 16:50 »
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Initially, no one wants to be bothered by anyone selling anything.  But sometimes a mutually beneficial relationship nevertheless gets started.   It seems to me that if you could get a foot in the door with a couple of direct sales,  you might one day get a callback asking if you could do som custom shots, maybe  similar to what you'd sold as stock, but more specific - or with their logo in the background.
Companies always end up going back to vendors they know and trust.

« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2012, 17:00 »
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Initially, no one wants to be bothered by anyone selling anything.  But sometimes a mutually beneficial relationship nevertheless gets started.   It seems to me that if you could get a foot in the door with a couple of direct sales,  you might one day get a callback asking if you could do som custom shots, maybe  similar to what you'd sold as stock, but more specific - or with their logo in the background.
Companies always end up going back to vendors they know and trust.

This is my sentiment as well stockastic, thanks
Denis

« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2012, 18:19 »
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Initially, no one wants to be bothered by anyone selling anything. ...

I don't think you can just paint this so black and white.
Photoshelter hosted a webinar recently with the chief editor of GQ magazine talking about what kind of imagery they are looking for, how the shoots get chosen/planned etc.
The editor emphasized that she is being approached by new photographers on a daily basis which in itself no problem at all. She'd get annoyed if you send her an email every single day with 20 photos as attachments about your latest projects but on the other hand she did pick photographers who randomly contacted and presented a couple shots that hit the nerve and she was wowed and hired them.

I think you have to put yourself out there, just don't be so clumsy about it. A little (or better a lot) of professionalism doesn't hurt and if you want to do some high gloss stuff I don't see a problem contacting magazine editors to showcase your skills.

« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2012, 07:51 »
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First of all, why would buyers actually frequent a photographer's site that offers a few hundred or a couple of thousand images?

If you are selling microstock, then you won't attract visitors who want to pepper their blog with countless images every month. On the other hand if you are licensing images at more traditional prices, the customer is only looking for 1 image in particular to fit their needs. They don't care if you have millions of others, because they aren't looking for an all-you-can-eat buffet. So if they find a great image through Google and they trust your website, they will never notice what else you have for sale nor will they care.

The biggest reason you need a lot of images for a site other than a microstock virtual agency is to create a large footprint. The more images you have, the better chance you have of getting noticed. Once you get noticed, people talk about you. When they talk about you, the search engines catch on and raise your rankings. It snow balls, and no it isn't easy.

Dan Heller and QT Luong are two excellent examples of photographers who have done it all on their own, sans agency. Best yet, their blogs are very informative as to how they did it. Just to whet your appetite, they both receive about 10,000 to 20,000 unique visitors per day. And they host about 40K to 70K images each. So that is what you are shooting for long term.


 

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