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Stock Photography Authors: RealWire News Distribution, PR.com Newswire, Pixamba Ltd, Roberto Marinello

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Microstock Portfolio Analysis with Free LightBurner Tools

Get the most of your stock photography portfolio optimizing it for the online sales

New free microstock service LightBurner keeps adding new functionality and new customers. The latest software update includes more new stuff in the Analytics sections of the subscribers account. We will review here just one group of LightBurner' Microstock Portfolio Analysis tools, discussing how they can help microstock photographers and graphics artists to sell more stock photos and illustrations via microstock photography sites.

Disclaimer: all numbers, stats and graphs in this article are used for illustrative purposes only.

LightBurner Analytics: The SEO Tools
This group of graphs shows the current status of customer's LightBurner portfolio from the SEO perspective. Microstock is a part of the Internet domain and online stock photography agencies play the Internet game following the common SEO rules. If you want your images to sell well you also have to know these rule and to follow them. For a large and quality online portfolio SEO-compliance is probably one of the most important success factors, particularly on the highly competitive microstock market.

Microstock agencies use image metadata in searches,  and embed it into dynamically created web pages when showing images, categories, authors portfolios and similar.

Microstock Photo Page at iStock


Most online stock photography agencies use a stock image title as the title of the dynamic page they create for that image. See "Beautiful blonde woman" text in the browser' title bar on the top of the image above? This is the image title taken by iStock system from this image' IPTC/XMP metadata on upload, and saved in iStock database. Now this title is displayed each time a page for "Beautiful blonde woman" is viewed. The title is also repeated on the web page itself, describing the image to the buyers and to the search engines.

Search engines pay special attention to pages titles because this is what they display in search results as hyperlinks.

Keywords are probably less visual on this iStock page, but definitely not for the search engines. Keywords come at least twice on a stock image page at major microstocks: once as HTML metadata, and the second time as visible hyperlinks helping to perform a search by that keyword. Here are the keywords for this page embedded into HTML metadata:

<!DOCTYPE html><html><head><title>Beautiful blonde woman | Royalty Free Stock Photo Image | iStockphoto.com</title><meta charset="utf-8"> <meta name="language" content="EN" > <meta name="title" content="Beautiful blonde woman | Royalty Free Stock Photo Image" > <meta name="description" content="Royalty Free Stock Photo, Beautiful blonde woman, copyright gruizza, iStockphoto LP" > <meta name="keywords" content="Beauty, Beautiful, Blond Hair, Blue Eyes, Carefree, Caucasian, Close-up, Copy Space, Color Image, Cute, Looking At Camera, Human Face, Female, Human Finger, Ring, Earring, Teenage Girls, Women, Human Hand, Human Head, Horizontal, Head And Shoulders, Make-up, Candid, Nature, Mouth Open, People, Photography, Purity, Sensuality, Naked, Sex Symbol, Studio Shot, One Woman Only, Young Adult, One Person, Expressing Positivity, Young Women, Only Young Women, Front View, Touching, dark background, stock images, royalty free images, stock photography, stock photos, inexpensive, istockphoto" ><!--[if lt IE 9]><script src="/static/1293128469/js/html5.js"></script><![endif]--><link href="/istock_news_rss.php" rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="iStockphoto.com - Latest News" > <link href="/feeds/newest/" rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="iStockphoto.com - Latest Images" > <link href="/istock_forums_rss.php" rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="iStockphoto.com - Latest Forum Threads" >


I would not say that iStockphoto does a great SEO here since very similar keywords like "Young Women, Only Young Women" will be typically considered as duplicates and the list of keywords in this HTML meta tag is way too long. Anyway, it's good enough to illustrate my point.

Keywords you select play an important role in SEO, used at least once, and typically twice on each stock photo page. Keywords help search engines to index microstock content with proper tags, and help microstock buyers to easily search by clicking a keyword link.

Stock Photo Keywords at iStock


And here LightBurner comes to help. New SEO analytical tools available with any free LightBurner account help microstock contributors to properly index their stock photos with metadata before submission, optimized for the search engines and for the online use.

Let's take a look what LightBurner can do for your stock photography portfolio.

Length Of Stock Images' Titles


The graph above shows that this LightBurner portfolio got 586 titles shorter than 30 characters. It is a a serious warning, since for the best SEO we have to keep our titles reasonable long and keywords-intensive. The graph suggest to target the 'long titles' group, which has no image in this specific portfolio at the moment.

In fact, the above iStock image of blond woman is a good example of a bad title :)

Here is why: this title has only 3 words, and the total length is just 22 characters. Even knowing that iStock' web-cannibals always eat up about 60-70 title characters by adding most searched general terms like "stock photo" and "royalty free", we still can easily have our own 50-chars title, getting more traffic from the search engines for the keywords, specific for our images titles.

Do that. Try 40+ characters length titles. I am sure you will see the difference in your stock photos sales in a few months.

Next LightBurner graph showing how many images have some keywords in their titles.

Number Of Keywords In Title


And here we got the red flag again! Less than half of this portfolio has a keyword in the stock photos titles!

Specifying keywords is a good way to describe your stock image because buyers typically find images by their keywords. From the other hand, if no keywords are used in the title it simply means that the selected title is not descriptive and should be replaced.

Non-descriptive titles are really bad for SEO. With no keywords in the title your stock images will not be found in the search engines searches and will not sell well. An image by another microstock photographer, who reasonably used keywords in the images titles will be preferred by the search engines.

Next graph displays the distribution of the stock photos portfolio by the keywords groups depending on the number of keywords.

Number Of Keywords Per A Stock Photo


It looks like the images in the reviewed portfolio are heavily 'over-keyworded'. Indeed, 35-50 keywords are typically enough to describe an image for any microstock agency.  We need even less than that for the proper SEO. 35-50 keywords per image will typically give the best performance for our stock images portfolio.

In the next article we will review more microstock portfolio analytical tools available with any free LightBurner account.

More Stories By Pixamba Ltd

Pixamba (http://www.pixamba.com) is a software development company which creates state-of-the-art media services. Pixamba develops and operates LightBurner (http://lightburner.com), a new free microstock content submission service for the contributing stock photographers. Pixamba is also a developer of ProStockMaster software (http://www.prostockmaster.com), the first in the world desktop workflow management application for contributing stock imagery artists.