5 tips to make your 500px.com photos rank high in search results
In August, I published 15 tips to get your photos Popular on 500px.com. As I mentioned, each photo you upload gets 24 hours to rise towards the front page, propelled in that direction by likes, favourites and comments from other community members, after which a 10 point penalty is applied so that ‘fresher’ photos get their turn. Thereafter, to some extent, photos descend into oblivion as their pulse score decays.
Nevertheless, there are a number of ways you can tailor what is effectively a photo blog post – you create textual content around it – to help people using the site as a stock library. With the advent of 500px Prime licensing, this is becoming increasingly important. Here are my top five tips to get your photos found by potential buyers.
1. A meaningful title
You can be all artistic if you wish; some of my photos are a case in point; for example, River of fire or Infinity. Using a prosaic description of what you can see works better for keyword searches; for example, Tower Bridge from The Shard or Sunset in the New Forest. Just avoid titling your photo ‘xxxx’ or similar, as some members do.
2. A full description
If it’s not apparent from the title, I try to describe what’s in the scene. I have also recently started adding how I post-processed the image. 500px.com permits HTML in the description field, so you can add a link to your own website if you wish. Personally, I’d avoid adding only a generic ‘please visit my website’ message and nothing else.
For me, this comes from the taxonomy (tree of keywords) I have developed for myself in Lightroom (when uploading an image via the 500px.com export plugin, uncheck the ‘Export as Lightroom hierarchy’ option, so that all of your nested keywords are exported). Common tags might include Summer, Dusk and Landscape. In short, for which search terms would you like your photo to be returned? Dominant colours are worth including; even more so are themes that your photo could represent, such as summer holiday or urban decay. They will also help buyers looking for photos that could, for example, illustrate magazine features.
As explained in my guest post for Ordnance Survey, I use the Map module in Lightroom to add GPS coordinates to my landscapes so that, once the photo is uploaded, it can be found geographically on 500px.com/map. I have, though, also started to add location keywords once again.
This is all good search engine optimisation – the sort of thing you should practise on any blog posts you write.
5. Your profile
One further thing you should optimise is your profile: it’s what establishes your credibility. So:
- A good profile photo (ideally not a cartoon, your cat or one in which your camera obscures your face).
- A brief description of yourself – as an amateur photographer, I stick to why I’m on 500px.com but if you have won awards and been featured in leading magazines, this is the place to put it.
- Links to your website, pages on Flickr, Google Plus and anywhere else you want to be found.
If you upgrade to Awesome, you can create that all-important online Portfolio and point your own domain name at it. Mine is at portfolio.dbrenton.com. The great thing about hosting it at 500px.com is that fellow photographers vote on your photos as you upload them to the community in your attempt to get to the top of Popular, so you can harness the wisdom of the crowd as well as your own instinct to decide which really are you best photos to be showcased.
I hope you find these tips useful. Feel free to share yours in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.