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Microstock Portfolio Analysis With Free LightBurner Tools

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New free microstock submission service LightBurner keeps adding new functionality. The latest update includes more new stuff in the Analytics sections of the subscribers account.

In this post I will review the first group of LightBurner’ Analytics tools, discussing how they cgoan help you to sell more photos via microstock photography sites.

Disclaimer: all numbers, stats and graphs in this posts are used for illustrative purposes only. They may or may not be based on the real statistical data.


LightBurner Analytics: The SEO Group

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

Microstock Photo Page at iStock

Most online stock photography agencies will use a stock image title as the title of the dynamic page, created 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 @iStock

Stock Photo Keywords @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 review a few samples.

Length Of Stock Images Titles

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 we typically will try 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 – the title has only 3 words, and the total length is 22 characters only. Even knowing that iStock’ 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 much more sympathies from the search engines.

Do that. Try 50+ characters length titles. I am sure you will see the difference in your stock photos sales quite soon.

And here is another graph, showing how many images carry keywords in their titles.

Number Of Keywords In Title

Number Of Keywords In Title

And here we are getting the red flag again!

Less than half of the portfolio has a keyword in the stock photos title.

We specify the keywords because it’s a good way to describe the stock image. Furthermore, buyers search by the keywords. If no keywords are used in the title it simply means that that title is non-descriptive and it should be replaced.

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

Yet another graph below shows the distribution of the stock photos portfolio by the keywords groups depending on the number of keywords.

Number Of Keywords Per A Stock Photo

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 post I will review other microstock portfolio analytical tools coming with you free LightBuner account.

Get a free LightBurner account now, check out how your portfolio looks to the search engines. Maximize the portfolio’ visibility and sales.

Stock photography software update, soon

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So, what you can expect in the upcoming version?
Let me give you a brief preview.

As usual, we listen very carefully to our customers, knowing that what they ask for is what they need.
We are working on:

1. Altering file statuses & stock photos upload time, so you can mark any image on your HD as “already uploaded” to some microstock agency. This will help to avoid re-uploads, providing one source for the stock image archive data.

2. Speeding up the images browsing. Like many other application, ProStockMaster will now store the generated thumbnails in the DB, thus making the browsing of the folder fast & efficient.

3. The keywords generation user interface will change, allowing you to play with the list of existing and generated keywords for each new keyword you enter.

4. StockXpert issue is solved in this release.

I am thinking about adding “find a duplicate image” functionality (anyway PSM keeps the images DB and anyway the app knows a lot about each indexed image), but I am not sure that there is a demand for that. Drop me a message/comment if you think it is something required.

We do not plan adding any new stock photography agency this time. Instead, we had to remove Lucky Oliver microstock from the list.
We are checking what else we can do in the short term, not delaying the upcoming release for too long.

We plan releasing the new version of PSM microstock tool in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

David

Keyphrases handling by various stock photo agencies

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So here is the trick that Terry pointed me out a few months ago and Jorgen confirmed the same issue for some more agencies:
IPTC keyphrases interpreting differs between various stock agencies.

It means that if you index your image with a keyphrase like blue water, it will be retrieved OK from IPTC data on e.g. iStockphoto, but will become two keywords blue and water on e.g. Shutterstock. If you will try another trick by doble-qouting your keyphrase (note that PSM is a rare applications which allows you doing that without any problem) and your original keyphrase becomes to be “blue water”, Shutterstock will show it correctly as a blue water keyphrase, but iStockphoto will not show it at all (BTW, why is that iStockphoto.com?)

Uploading stock photos to iStockphoto.com and maximum number of IPTC keywords

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The automated keywords suggestion mechanism implemented in ProStockMaster brings you tens of relevant keywords matching your stock photo or an illustration. You can enter keywords in virtually any language and our microstock software will save them all with the image, in an IPTC section of the file. Thus your stock images will always carry IPTC metadata and can become searchable by IPTC-reading software like ProStockMaster or Adobe CS family.

IPTC keywords ggestion for stock photography

Probably the fastest and the easiest way to add keywords and metadata to stock photos and raster illustrations, multilingual

Some stock agencies, like iStockphoto.com restrict maximum number of keywords a stock photo can contain. (Anyone can tell me why they do it? I have absolutely no idea. I can not find any logic why they limit maximum amount of keywords. In my understanding, the more keywords an image has, the better it will be found in the searches – what’s wrong with that? However, it seems that iStockPhoto has a different point of view)

Current keywords limit defined by iStockphoto stands for 50 keywords. ProStockMaster does not limit the maximum number of IPTC keywords in a stock image, but it do counts how many keywords the photograph got. And once it is more than 50, the keywords counter become red.

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