"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.