Using key words like "funny animal photos" and cute cat pictures" without research is like gambling...and in the long run gambling is no way to run your business.
Lol Cats, Funny Animal Pictures and Key Words
I want people to find my funny animal pictures, a lot of people. I want to make it really easy for cat lovers and cat owners to find all my funny feline photos (nice alliteration huh?). I have been uploading these photos to my website, key wording them and adding appropriate text. Well, not exactly appropriate as it turns out. I did some research on what may be the most popular site for funny animal pics, icanhasacheeseburger. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the keyword searches that deliver the most traffic to that site are words like “lol cats”, “lolcats”, and “lolcat”. Those are keywords that I would never have thought of! “Funny Cat Pics”, “Humorous Kitten Photos”, and all the usual suspects are well covered, but the most important words had been entirely left out of my site.
Good Karma and A Pile of Money
There are some pretty big numbers at stake as well. There are over thirty million cat owners in the United States alone. Cats are the number one pet in the U.S., and people spend more money on cat food than on baby food! There are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world, with 33 different breeds. The American cat population reached nearly 68 million in 1996. Did you know that 25% of cat owners blow-dry their cat’s hair after a bath? But I digress! If I can bring a smile to each of those cat owners…that is a lot of good karma (and, OK, could be a rather large pile of money as well). And don’t forget all the people who buy gifts for cat lovers and owners…I want them to find my cat products on CafePress.com.
SEO, Search Terms and Research
No matter which audience you are trying to reach, corporate art buyers, art directors, graphic designers, or wedding clients, if you haven’t researched that audience, what search terms they actually use, there is a very good chance you may be missing the mark. When you study what terms people use for searching, whether for “laugh out loud cats”, or “ethnic business and lifestyle stock photos” or “black cats in front of full moons ”, you are sure to find surprises. If you are serious about drawing traffic, the traffic you want, to your site…do the research!
The Time Is Now
The time to do that research is now. Not only does it take a great deal of time to rise higher in the search rankings, but the longer you wait the harder it is going to be to make that move. The photographer sites that I have encountered that are bringing in a hundred thousand or more unique visitors a month have invariably been the result of not just photographers well-versed in the Internet, but also are sites that are the result of many years of SEO efforts.
LOL Pictures, Google Analytics and The Future
I have to admit, I am as resistant to doing research as anyone…I certainly don’t do enough of it. It isn’t what I want to be doing…I want to be making those lol pictures, not pouring over Wordtracker, Compete.com, or Google Analytics. But on the other hand, if I still want to be making a good living at photography five years from now, it just might be the smartest thing I could be doing.
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