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How to Use Online Photos to Build SEO, Brand and Social Media

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Online photos offer an opportunity to build a website’s brand, social media presence and search engine optimization.

They also enhance the quality of the experience for any visitor on a website.

Some publishers and business owners may rightly claim to have few photos or even none. But they may be overlooking opportunities.

Any site can post canned or stock photos with articles to make the page more visually interesting and keep the visitor engaged.

Stock photos are a nice start, but original photos are even more valuable.

Basic Steps in Photo Management

A newspaper is a good example of how to manage photos that any website or business can imitate.

Large newspapers have dedicated photographers while small ones have reporters who use their own cameras.

They take some of the following steps with photo management.

Storage. Good management of photos first calls for storing them in a safe, central location. That location can be either a desktop computer with plenty of disk space or a cloud environment. The cloud environment can be extra space on the website host or even a photo site such as Flickr.

Organization. An actual weekly newspaper in Virginia has more than 30,000 photos. Simply storing them in one giant directory makes it impossible for anyone to find what they want. So the photos need to be organized by subject and sometimes, depending on the need, by date. Multiple, clearly named file directories go beyond just one directory.

Platform. Flickr offers the ability to organize photos by gallery and albums. WordPress has various gallery plugins that offer the same ability. Desktop software also is available, but it comes with the risk of a hardware failure.

Prioritizing. Keyword tagging with plugins or software takes photo management to a deeper level. Imagine having 10 photos of the same person or scene. There may be a reason to keep all 10, but they may have different purposes.

For example, one photo may have monetary value on a photo-selling website because of its high quality. Another may have lower quality but still some value for a public site. Tags will organize photos into those different levels and needs for quick and easy access.

Adding Value with Online Photos

Even a small business with a 20-page website can add create more value with photos.

A retailer sells hand-crafted furniture. The retailer takes a photo of each piece and can use them in multiple ways.

  1. Post a photo with an article about each piece on the website.
  2. Place the photo in social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+.
  3. Post all of the photos together on a photo-sharing site such as Flickr, Pinterest or Pixabay.

The above steps increase the value and engagement level of the website and social media sites. But what about brand?

Captions, alt tags and descriptions all offer an opportunity to build brand along with some extra SEO value.

They should always include the name of the photographer, business or website. When possible, use all of them.

Search engines capture these references. Do they lead to higher search rankings or authority? Probably, but no one knows for sure. They do get better rankings in the Bing and Google image databases, which are another source of search engine traffic.

Even if they have little or no impact on search engines, anyone who reads the captions will see the names. Therein lies the extra value for brand.

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