Using Google Images to Make Sales of your Pictures

Before you can sell your photos online, buyers first have to see them. That means putting up a website, creating an attractive portfolio and building traffic that comes and looks at your images. And hopefully places orders too.googleimagesearch.jpg

Protect Yourself Against Google’s Image Thieves
But one of the most popular ways that users search for pictures is also one of the most overlooked. Google Images indexes over a billion photos and has long been one of the first stops for anyone looking for an image.

Unfortunately, many of those people are hoping to steal photos rather than buy them.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use Google Images to market your pictures though. It just means you have to protect them as well as optimize them. To ignore the service simply because there are sharks out there would be a huge waste of a valuable opportunity.

Start with the protection. Any image you want to optimize for marketing on Google Images — in fact, any image you want to market online — has to have a big ugly watermark on it. As we’ve pointed out before, that’s not a foolproof method of protecting your photos but it will stop people from simply right-clicking and saving your images on their computers. That alone will cut out a large chunk of the threat.

Use the Watermark to Drive Sales
But here’s the opportunity. Instead of using a watermark that simply says “Property of John Smith” or whatever it may be, use a watermark that says “Image For Sale.” Someone who wants to use the image and is prepared to pay for it, would click to find out how much it costs. On the image page itself, you could either list your prices or suggest that the buyer gets in touch.

Obviously only a small proportion of the people who see your image will click and ask to buy, but the numbers alone could make it worthwhile, especially if your images are optimized to bring in large amounts of users.

That’s not hard to do. Some of the techniques used to drive images higher in search results are the same as those used to put Web pages in high positions: have lots of links leading in and put keywords in title tags and in the body copy, for example. But large images (those with more than 10,000 square pixels) tend to rank higher than small images, and keywords close to the image can also affect the photo’s tendency to turn up in search results.

Keywords Can Be a Clue to Market Size
Of course, relevant keywords should also be included in the file name, alt tag and image-title tag.

The importance of keywords can also give you a clue to marketability. Search terms that are particularly popular might suggest a large market — and that therefore you should be shooting images on those topics rather than for terms that are rarely sought. It might be worth picking one popular topic, optimizing some images for it and seeing if you generate any sales.

Google Images might not be the most obvious place for photographers to sell their images, but with so many people using it, it’s also too big to be overlooked. With the right strategies and the right care, it might just bring in the right amount of sales too

10 comments for this post.

  1. Will Said:

    Nice article. As far as I am concerned Google is the number one way to get your photos in front of buyers. I built my entire website around optimising for google and google image search and it is working very well... the hard bit is getting people to link to you!

  2. Trump Said:

    Google images is my one stop for finding images, I look nowhere else but google images. Great article, i usually only see people watermark their images with their name, it is a great idea to watermark it as for sale instead as there have been times I went away from an image because there were no signs of it being for sale.

  3. Nishi Said:

    nice article , I also have lot of images of wildlife so maybe I'll start selling some now.

  4. digi dude Said:

    Completely agree. Google is a number one search site on the web. And it is obviously the best way to promote one's images as well as content.

  5. Jordan McClements Said:

    Goos article.

    Do you have any statistics to show how many photos can been sold this way (or similar statistics)...


    (I hardly sell any photos becasue of Google Images, but do get a lot of page views, and make some decent pocket money by having Google Adsense on my image pages..)

  6. Eric Hamilton Said:

    I get a fair amount of traffic from Google Images, but I get a LOT more from Flickr.

  7. Aravind Teki Said:

    Good article. My images on travel and nature are available at Google Images. I never had any one contacted me for any image requirement.
    I have images from South India, Pushker, Taj Mahal Agra, Jaipur, Delhi, Hyderabad, Dubai, etc.

  8. Rosa Frei Said:

    Another great article with inspiring ideas. The watermark ideas is really very good, even though they look soooo ugly and destroy many nice pictures. Thanks for the article!

  9. Peter Said:

    got photo of fire on state highway 1 yesterday Sunday at about 1130 am the time is on the photo it is for sale get in quick its an open sale

  10. Jason Lavengood Said:

    Another good idea is to use a right click protection code on your site. This will also detour some users. At least they won't be able to get it as easy. This combined even with a smaller watermark can be effective as well.

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