"Here, Grasshopper," said the old Master of Stock Photography, "Take this hammer."
At his command, Grasshopper obediently took the hammer and began to follow the instructions of his Master.
"Clasp both your hands around the handle. Good! Now hold the hammer down and below your waist. Make sure the flat part of the head faces away from you."
Grasshopper looked up into the old mans face. "What are you going to teach me today, Master?"
"Today, young Grasshopper, we are going to learn the TRUTH about Search Engine Optimization and how to promote your portfolio. Now... when I wave my hand, I want you to quickly bend your elbows and swing the hammer up as fast as you can."
Master paused and stood very still. Then suddenly, without warning, he waved his hand and Grasshopper flawlessly performed the maneuver.
"Master! I just hit my head with the hammer!"
"Did it hurt, Grasshopper?"
"Yes! Very much so, Master!"
"Good! I want you to continue doing that for the rest of the day. Come back tomorrow and we will continue the lesson."
The next morning was a glorious and warm sunny day. The blue in the sky was intense and it was filled with giant cotton balls that slowly rambled on their journey to the horizon. Grasshopper's head was covered with welts and bruises from striking his head multiple times with the hammer as instructed.
"Ah, young Grasshopper! I see you have been learning about Search Engine Optimization and how to promote your stock portfolio!"
"Yes, Master! And it has been very painful! But I do not seem to be any wiser!"
The old Kung Fu Master then pulled out his laptop and began typing. He went to Google.com and did an image search for OLD VINTAGE FARM TRUCK. This image came up as the very first picture in the results: ]
"Master! That's one of your pictures! How did you get it to come up first in the millions of other pictures on the internet! Did you Tweet the image? Did you put it on Facebook? Pinterest?"
Master waved his hand.
"No, Grasshopper, Tweeting images and Facebooking is a waste of time."
"But Master, everyone says you need to do that to promote your portfolio!"
Master waved his hand again.
"Grasshopper, let me tell you how Google really works. Back in ancient times, more specifically, the early 1990's, web sites began to realize the importance of coming up first in search engine results. In those days, a common trick was to hide the word 'SEX' everywhere within the web site.
"However, Google began to get wise to these artificial gimmicks so they began to adjust their algorithms. Google learned how to weed out the noise and pull information for TRUE RELEVANCY. It's the same today. Google knows people are Tweeting and Facebooking because they think they can fool Google into giving them higher search placement. Google would go out of business if their search results did not provide TRUE RELEVANCY. Therefore it is a complete waste of time to Tweet, Facebook, and blog your images because Google and other search engines virtually do not use social media in their algorithms!
"But Master! Everyone says you need to use Twitter and Facebook to promote your portfolio!"
Once again the old Master waves his hand.
"That is enough for today, Grasshopper. You are to continue practicing with your hammer and come back tomorrow."
The next day brought another beautiful morning. The face on Grasshopper was virtually a bloody pulp but you could see the eagerness in his eyes to learn how to promote his stock portfolio.
"Young Grasshopper, are we any wiser today?"
"Remember yesterday when I showed you the picture that was ranked at the top of our Google search? Let's do that again with some other images."
Master booted up the laptop and began to search on more images. There was this image, ] after he searched on FUNNY BUSINESSMAN FLIP FLOPS. Then ] with MATURE SENIOR COUPLE FIGHTING. Again, ] after typing RODENT MOUSE TRAP ISOLATED. The very first image that appeared in the Google search results was always an image from Master's portfolio!
"Here, young Grasshopper, take the laptop and prove it to yourself. If you type in the same keywords as I did, you will find these images coming up first in Google. Make sure you are searching on IMAGES and not the web.
Grasshopper was in awe as he tried the same searches and exclaimed, "Master, this is impossible! How can your images come up first in the search when you don't Tweet or Facebook? You don't use ANY social media!"
"It's as I explained yesterday. Google knows all the tricks on how people try to fool the search engine into giving their images a higher placement. A simple page on Facebook is fine but it's a complete waste of time tweeting and blogging because Google uses different criteria for ranking. You are mistaken if you think otherwise.
"But, Master! Everyone knows you should spend all your time Tweeting and Facebooking and blogging!" Master quickly waves his hand.
"Grasshopper, have I not PROVED to you with the searches above that social media does virtually nothing for promoting your portfolio? Google weeds out all the tricks in order to have reliable results and TRUE RELEVANCY when someone does a search. They learned that back in ancient times when they realized web sites were flooding their web pages with the word 'SEX’ and other irrelevant content.
"It's a complicated subject and Google isn't going to tell us all their secrets on how they create their rankings. But if you want to rank high in web searches, then YOU NEED TO PROPERLY KEYWORD YOUR IMAGES. THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO.
"There is more knowledge to be learned but if you can grasp this simple concept then you can move to a new level within your stock career. Instead of wasting time Tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging, you should spend the time shooting more images or learning new photo editing techniques. You will get more sales if you produce QUALITY images and CONCEPTS..
"But, Master! EVERYONE says to use social media!"
"Young Grasshopper, did I not prove to you your images can come up FIRST out of millions of other images WITHOUT social media? Must you believe everything you hear?
"Grasshopper, if you continue to believe that social media will cause you to rank higher in web searches, then you might as well continue to beat your head with a hammer until you knock some sense into it!
Once again the old Master waves his hand.
The Earth is round? Since when? Keep it up and you'll be excommunicated. And as we all know, the solar system revolves around the Earth.
Some people just can't be taught because they are so busy defending their position they don't see the facts.
@Montylola, good to see you're paying attention. There are limits to everything, but think about it. If you try to find your image with the LESSER keywords, there are going to be way too many other images out there that rank higher.
So it's one reason why STRONG keywording is important. And to "hammer" the point more, Likes, Tweets, and Pins aren't going to lift an image high enough in the rankings if someone uses your secondary keywords. Strong keywords will always trump Tweets.
My goal here is to demonstrate how Google really works and to help Contributors use their time wisely. Myth-busting is a difficult task because I know many people out there are going to be in denial with this topic. Even after proving the earth is round...
I think we are ALL missing something here, all the images that you searched for and found were using the title of the image NOT any of the keywords in the keyword list it would be good to see the results of your searches if you used individual keywords.
Of course you are going to find your images by doing a title search. But unless the people looking for images actually puts in the exact words of your images they will not be found. If they miss out one word a whole load of other images are returned.
I really like the post though very informative and something that I agree with totally.
@Ivdanu, there y' go. Taking poetic license doesn't mean I'm making it up. Google MIGHT notice if you get thousands of tweets. Have fun spending your weekend tweeting and Google knows if you set up a bot thinking you can fool them.
Bottom line: How many hours do you need to spend each month with social media in order to get your image ranked higher than #!?
Bloody Hell, it's true! I did Google the exact title of an image I uploaded abount 6 h ago and it came up first on Images Google!
Dudau, if you were to meet the Old Master, you will learn he has spent 30-plus years working in Information Technology and other technical fields.
The searches in the blog are REAL Google searches and the images DO come up FIRST. How can that be? The Old Master can tell you why but the lesson is lost on those who refuse to let go of the hammer.
And this is even after PROVING with search examples. Shall we have the Old Master randomly pick images in the portfolios of people who responded to this blog and offer more proof with more search examples? Beware if you want to take up the Old Master with that. He has already tried it. The Contributors will be happy with the results. WHACK!
Kung Fu is a beautiful discipline, but if you want to survive in these wild streets you need to focus on boxing. It's a jungle out there, man, Kung Fu is not enough anymore.
Social Media is useless without reactions. In fact, social media is not as important as the signals coming from social media. The likes, the shares, the retweets, the repins, these are creating the real impact on your images' ranking.
It's ok to listen to the old kung fu masters, but remember that they usually die broke, on some top of a mountain somewhere, eating tree roots. The stars are in the ring.
An excellent work of non-fiction :)
Nice creative writing to illustrate a point. :)
Very well said!You have a gift at writing.Very usefull..Thank you
I want to know if SEX is still on first place.
Whahaha...brilliantly done Wisconsinart. Thanks for the info, lesson and smiles :-)
Funny,very funny and useful!Thank you,Wisconsinart!This is one of the most useful articles(blogs)!Another like from me!WHACK!:))
Funny and instructional to read your blogs, as always!
As Confucius says, "Who say I say all those things they say I say?"
Wonderful read - and Oh So True! K-
Very funny and very useful, thanks :) One like from me! But, Mas... :))
Here you wisely blog, putting the images among relevant content.
Nice and really fun to read :D
Apposite and instructive article with a master Kung Fu !
"YOU NEED TO PROPERLY KEYWORD YOUR IMAGES. THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO".
" Instead of wasting time Tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging, you should spend the time shooting more images or learning new photo editing techniques. "
Yes, this is what I like the most.
Have a nice day ! :-)