Creating SEO-Optimized Images in Lightroom: 4 Key Pieces

You’re a photographer, not a writer.

So why do you need to add keywords to your blog posts when your photography portfolio should be enough to entice your audience, engage visitors, and persuade potential clients that they should be booking you?

Today, I am going to let you in on one of my favorite, most trusted hacks when it comes to editing photos in Lightroom, and marketing in general: Creating SEO-optimized images in Lightroom.

If you are unfamiliar with SEO - the term is short for search engine optimization - and if this is new to you, basically SEO is a set of design, data, and publishing practices that help websites be found by others and therefore, leads to gaining higher traffic. 

As a photographer - creating images in Lightroom with SEO-optimized titles is definitely a step worth implementing because search engines don’t only analyze the text on your website or online portfolio, they also analyze the file names of your images, too.  

Search engines also check relevancy to ensure that what they are landing on matches what they are searching for. While there really isn't any magic to SEO when it comes to images, what it really just comes down to is adding context to your pictures in a way that makes sense for computers to read. 

So with that, here are 3 key pieces to file creation that I want you to consider going forward when editing in lightroom!

1. The title

When you upload photos to your website, the title of the image is what tells Google what that image is all about.  So while you or I might be able to look at the photo and know exactly what it is - google cannot.  Instead, Google uses the text in your title and the alt text (which I will get into) to determine what is actually in that shot. 

The goal is to name your files to accurately depict what the image is while keeping photo organization in mind, too. A key tip is to be sure you use keywords in your file naming process and try to avoid using abbreviations.  If you usually add company filing details in the name, that is okay - but it’s still smart to add a descriptive word to the file name as well.  Try separating the keyword and descriptive words using hyphens.  Customize each image's file name uniquely for the best results. 

An example of a bad title vs a good title:  

DsCm75929.jpg  is not an ideal title. 

Pontoon-boat-mexico-sunset.jpg is a great, SEO friendly title. 

2. The file Size

Image sizing is important for one simple reason: speed.

There is simply no reason to use a 1600 x 1600 image resolution unless you are actually going to need to use that large of an image.
The higher the resolution, the longer it takes your files to load.  A slower loading webpage, in the end, results in losing traffic ( a.k.a. Valuable, potential clients). My rule of thumb is typically to only use the highest resolution necessary for the space the image will be taking up.

A standard resolution for web images is 72dpi, for example. 

3. Metadat

There is an entire list of descriptive categories that Lightroom offers when it comes to metadata in your library.  You can even create metadata presets so that you don’t have to always re-enter the same information that you want to store within the back of your images. 

For example - The copyright field is very important. You can input contact information related to you, and there are a number of fields to fill out.  Instead of copying this information every single time onto your content - you can just create and add your metadata preset and add it every single time. 

4. Alt Text 

 Alt text is used in a situation where an image cannot show up on the readers' screen.  If the viewer is unable to view the image - alt text will describe to them what they would be seeing.  This is especially important when optimizing your page for readers with visual impairment - even if they cannot see the image, having alt text allows them to still understand the message you are trying to convey.   

When writing alt text, describe exactly what is happening in the image using relevant keywords. 

For example: “Portrait of a Bride and groom standing in front of an old rustic barn” is great as the text allows you to visualize exactly what the photograph is. 

SEO can get pretty complicated, but the proof is out there... optimized image titles, file sizing, metadata and alt tags are all very important factors that Google looks at when ranking websites.  Of course, there is no guarantee that simply following these hacks will automatically move your site to the first page of Google's results, but taking these basic SEO steps can definitely help your chances - so it is a great place to start!

Jasmin Jade xx

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