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Posted (edited)

I have been with Photoshelter since 2005 and would still describe myself overall as a reasonably contented customer. However, in recent months I have noticed how their SEO is virtually non-existent. I did have a brief email exchange with them some time back in which they stated that they were aware of problems and would be taking steps to deal with this etc etc. So far I see nothing different. In the past this wasn't the case and my pics popped up towards the top of Google searches. 

 

It is all well and good having a website as part of the Photoshelter package but if none of the images are picked up by Google then clearly something important is wrong.

 

When I search Google for my small village I am pleased to see some of my Alamy images show up near the top - Alamy seems to be getting SEO sorted compared with the past - some of mine from other agencies, and these interspersed with images from general websites.

 

I can't find one from my website hosted by Photoshelter. Not one. And there must be hundreds.

 

I know that quite a few Alamy contributors use Photoshelter. For me it is a crucial part of my workflow. I will carry on using it because of that but this SEO issue is really annoying.

 

I wondered what others are finding with Photoshelter and specifically with SEO.

 

I would be grateful if others did not suggest alternatives to Photoshelter on this thread and it could kept to the point. Thanks.

Edited by geogphotos

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Be aware that it is not necessarily Photoshelters fault (or any other site that suddenly plunges in Google results)  You know how photographers moan about algorithm changes in stock agencies change where their photos appear in searches - multiple that by a lot and you have google.

Google has been known to make radical changes to its algorithm - and to specifically start marking down strategies that previously it marked up - so if someone is following the "top ten ways to appear at the top of the search" advice from 2 years ago it may well now have the opposite effect.  Now Google has all sorts of good-sounding reasons why it  does this but at the end of the day, the result is having to get someone who is approved of by google to do the SEO work.

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When I first used Photoshelter (having been on the Digital Railroad one before then), I got some great print sales from a show I attended. However, nothing to write home after this. I mainly used Photoshelter as a site to gain accreditations etc. and used it as a portfolio. Cancelled my contract with them over a year ago and they didn't even bother to write back to me asking for reasons. 

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Good image gallery descriptions seem to be the key to SEO on Photoshelter. That said SEO has definitely declined. It used to be excellent.

 

I may can my PS website this year. It used to more than pay for itself. Nothing but tumbleweeds and spam inquiries now...

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6 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

Good image gallery descriptions seem to be the key to SEO on Photoshelter. That said SEO has definitely declined. It used to be excellent.

 

I may can my PS website this year. It used to more than pay for itself. Nothing but tumbleweeds and spam inquiries now...

 

I have told them that while I am not about to cancel I am aware of other cheaper alternatives that are available and I am hop[ing to see an improvement in SEO.

 

They used to have a lively online 'community', but seemed to deliberately kill it off. So it is hard to get beyond 'company speak' these days, though I would not fault the person that I had an email exchange with for professionalism and friendliness. 

 

The other thing that bugs me is the 50 GB monthly bandwidth limit for 'free' and then you get charged. The charges mount up. When Digital Railroad folded ( mentioned above by vpics) it proved very problematic for those relying on it to download all their work quickly before the site disappeared. 

 

With unlimited storage I have suggested that they offer annual bandwidth and an increased amount of it. I do have other back-ups but even so. 

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

Good image gallery descriptions seem to be the key to SEO on Photoshelter. That said SEO has definitely declined. It used to be excellent.

 

I may can my PS website this year. It used to more than pay for itself. Nothing but tumbleweeds and spam inquiries now...

 

 

You have pointed out something that I need to do! Thanks

 

 

Edited by geogphotos

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I've been with them since 2008.  For years it easily paid for itself, but no more. As you have experienced, I used to find lots of my Photoshelter images showing up in google (word) searches and in image searches, but lately they seem to be nearly invisible. I've had some really good licenses via Photoshelter in the past, to excellent magazines such as Smithsonian,  to web designers from all across the US; I also got clients and invitations to show my work at galleries - all through google or site searches - in addition to getting clients and making sales from people who I sent to my site. I still very much like how easy it is to organize my backups and to organize the site itself and how good the site looks - but like you, I have noticed a sharp decline in photos from my site showing up in searches. 

 

I have also received a lot more spam in the past year as well as fraudulent emails purporting to want to hire me for bogus jobs. They can't police everything but I'm tired of the spam. It's gotten so prevalent that I'm now surprised when a Photoshelter inquiry turns out to be legit. 

 

Social media shares from my site often get messed up too. Another frustration that is causing me lost revenue. Have you noticed this? 

 

I don't have any answers for you, except to confirm that you are not alone in the issues you've noticed, and I share your frustration. I have invested a huge amount of time and effort in my website. I even paid for a new blog setup some years back so that it would work seamlessly with Photoshelter, only to have it stop working properly after I had invested time and money in it., committing to a 5-year deal, which I am about to drop (the blog setup - ready to start over from scratch). I'm not ready to invest in a new website yet.  It is frustrating to feel that we are at the mercy of various digital providers -  scary to work so hard at something and have all that work be for nothing. I just can't face re-uploading close to a terabyte of images somewhere else and trying to build a new site. But I may reconsider if things don't improve. 

 

I recognize that when google changes things, it can wreak havoc on SEO. I'll be truly surprised if Photoshelter doesn't straighten things out soon since they host the websites of so many Photographers - I hope so. 

 

 

 

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Thanks very much for the comments. 

 

Photoshelter certainly have a responsibility to deliver on this so I hope that they are getting lots of feedback from photographers encouraging them to get a move on. After all one of their business claims is that they offer SEO expertise and it isn't good enough to just say that Google have changed the rules. Knowing how to respond to Google is part of what we pay Photoshelter for. 

 

Are photographers putting enough pressure on them?

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I did my own review of Google search results recently.  Using rather narrowly-defined searches so there would not be thousands of images found, I found that Google found my images in the Alamy collection much more frequently than those (same ones) in my PhotoShelter website collection.  So I asked PhotoShelter for their comment.  After complimenting me on my on-page metadata (keywords, captions, etc.) they offered the following advice:

 

The main thing you will want to pay attention to when it comes to driving traffic to your site is backlinks (people who link back to your website) and the "anchor text" (the linked text).

If you haven't embarked on a strategy to create backlinks (e.g. blogging about your website, getting other people to blog about you, etc), then you won't have much success with search engines, and therefore you won't have many visits. You should think of each link as an endorsement of your content. The more links, the more likely the search engines are likely to consider you a credible search result.

Some places to start:
- If you are a member of communities or trade organizations, create backlinks from your profile page
- Create a blog and write entries each time you publish new content on your website.
- Consider content trades whereby other sites link to you in return. We often "guest" blog to reach a wider audience as well as get a backlink.

Even a handful of backlinks can have an effect on your SEO because most people have zero backlinks to their website.

 

I don't blog and don't think I have time to do it.  Their advice may be valid, but of course it puts the onus on me to achieve better results, and not on themselves.

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Posted (edited)

I have been with them since the start (as well as their failed stock attempt), I use them for a very specialized collection of images that is my main passion (stock and stock images are not).

 

I have reported a number of issues to them over the last couple of years, they always respond very politely and positively (fantastic customer services team) but I always get the impression they are just locked into a system that they do not have the resources (my opinion) to reprogram and I end up with lots of "tea and sympathy". 

In March they took in 8M$ from a VC which they said would help with new offices in NYC, collaboration improvements, more staff and new templates. 

 

I have not hidden my disappointment with their lack of ongoing development over the past years, they were miles ahead of the competition before (as you know their backend system and capabilities are a joy to use) but now the market has changed IMO and the are not setting themselves apart. Their 10% sales fee would be a potential issue for me but I had not sold anything for years with them so I turned off the online sales hoping to see some emails of interest from agents/viewers but that has not been the case either.

Like has been said/inferred in some previous posts, if I could find a suitable cheaper alternative (PS is a minimum of 30/month for enough storage to operate IMHO) I would probably move  but am waiting to see if the 8M$ brings any improvements for me at my level of usage. I suppose I WANT to stay with them but need them to start improving to give me confidence, I was shocked how quickly and ruthlessly they dumped the stock agency all those years ago when the sales numbers were not immediately met.

For SEO I don't seem to have any issues, but have not done anything special and I don't have gallery descriptions (although I will now start adding them if it will improve further ;+)

 



 

 

 

Edited by Panthera tigris

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My experience is pretty much on pair with the last comment. I have a personal project there, not stock, did the thing with back linking  tight to the few key words as they suggested long time ago (in 2010 I think) and it worked, some print sales in the beginning and nothing ever since. The site can be found easily by 2-3 keywords I used to describe my project with,  name/description of the gallery, image subject, but keywords? utterly useless. I am thinking about pulling the plug...

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