Google vs Getty

The Google / Getty Stock Images Situation

photo

Over the last few weeks, I have closely followed the situation that currently exists between Google, and Getty Images.

It comes almost immediately after the problems with Instagram terms of service – which were re-issued to state that

“Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.”

“Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service’s Privacy Policy.”

These terms have since been revised, Getty though has continued to broker a deal with Google that seems on the face of it to be totally unreasonable.  On the Google Drive Blog  they announced 5000 new images were to be made available free of charge to Google Drive users.  Create an image on Google Drive, and choose your image to illustrate it.  Whether for personal, or commercial use the images are free.

Where do these images come from?  Well, a lot seem to come from ‘i-stock’ , and others from the Getty/Flickr relationship.

This is a licence deal arranged with Google, through Getty images and iStock RF collections.  There was an initial pool of several thousand images licensed from Getty and iStock RF that are on the Getty platform.

What does this mean – well initially we have seen that some photographers whose images are sourced through Flickr to the Getty RF pool, have received around $12 per image, to have their images on the Google Drive search.  Images which have had the metadata stripped and can therefore not be traced back to the photographer.

So – initially, if you have photos on Flickr, which are currently in the Getty pool, you may find them turning up on Google Drive.. You will know if this has happened, as it will show in the October / November 2012 statements.  The main problem as I see it, is that you have images of people who have signed a model release stating that their image will not be used for certain purposes – but once out in the wild – they could end up anywhere – and the photographer can’t do anything about it.  The Getty contract is suitably vague, and even if you pull out of the programme, you can’t recover images already sold.

There has been another post on the iStock website

“We’ve heard you, and we’ve met with Google and are working with them to refine the implementation which we believe will address some of the concerns raised over the past several days–including copyright ownership.”

Maybe the agreement will be changed.  I’ll be watching to see how this one develops.

SEO – Part deux……

Although there are many sites out there, and people who are willing to sell you their SEO expertise, I’m now of the opinion that with some careful reading, and work on your site, you can improve your ratings immensely.

Keyword research is very important – it acts as a navigator for your site and blog, and allows you to see what items are actually being searched for.  I suggest you head over to Google’s Keyword Tool.   Search each keyword to check how many websites turned out on the search engine result page (SERP) – these are your major competitors.

There are sites that will generate keywords for you, but mostly these are not free…. a good one is Word Tracker – and they do offer a free trial.

As Google Webmaster Tools, crawl the Oaktree site – they are coming up with keywords – and I can now identify these and amend them within the site itself.  I’m slowly amending my keyword page titles, so that the bots can group pages into the correct categories. Search engines will put your keywords in BOLD in the listings, which is good, in that will attract extra attention from people who are searching.

Engines also pay a great deal of attention to inbound links to your site.  I see that Google is already finding a number of links from sites I didn’t realise were linking to mine.  The key here is not to have links from spam sites, or from other low ranking ones, but to have them from credible businesses where-ever possible  – emphasise quality over quantity when you are looking for these.

Lastly in this post, Robots.txt – I noticed this on the Google Webmaster pages. It tells search bots, what to search, and what not to search – it also helps prevent irrelevant items being linked to your own site, which is good.

Don’t forget that people search the web for information, and SEO is only the beginning … I’m moving onwards with this – but for the moment, it’s back to work, taking great images for next year.

Improving your SEO

A couple of weeks ago, I realised that my images were not showing up on Google searches as well as I would have expected.  I’d done a publicity shoot for a theatre, and though the client was pleased with the results, I wanted to publicise those images even more, and drive more traffic through to my website.  A frantic search revealed the odd one, but more from sources that were not mine !

Research through my site host (Zenfolio) showed me that a lot of the tools I needed were already available to me, and there was an excellent tutorial online, which I dutifully worked through.  My hit rate increased almost overnight, but there’s some distance to go yet.

Recently, I shot Keith Lemon in Blackpool, but images didn’t feature in the google search…. today, after 3 days work – it ranked number 1 on the first page….. the two images circled are mine…….

I’ve researched Google Webmaster tools, and Webmaster Bing – and though Oaktree has not yet been crawled by  Bing (they say it can take months sometimes for results to show), I’m hopeful that things will continue to improve.

On that basis, here’s what I’ve learned to improve traffic through the website

1. Add a blog – new content encourages more visits,  and Search Engine Traffic, especially if updated regularly.

2. Use Google Analytics – it’s free, and links in nicely to your site.  Sign up for Google Webmaster tools too.

3. Use lots of keywords – keyword every image on your site (something I’m still working on) and make your keywords relevant.

4. Use headers and footers where-ever you can.

5. Use Meta Tags – a great way to provide search engines with information about their sites. Meta tags can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients.

6. Make Backlinks to your site……..
Backlinks, also known as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks, and inward links, are incoming links from outside to your site – if you use firefox, the following may be of interest.

NoDoFollow Add-on for Firefox
Download new NoDoFollow 1.5 plugin by Jayce from here
Install it and restart firefox.
If you want to check a blog is do-follow or no-follow, right click on any part of your webpage in firefox and click NoDoFollow. Do-Follow links turns BLUE and No-Follow turns RED.

Wikipedia has this to say about backlinks….
Search engines often use the number of backlinks that a website has as one of the most important factors for determining that website’s search engine ranking, popularity and importance. Google‘s description of their PageRank system, for instance, notes that Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. Knowledge of this form of search engine rankings has fueled a portion of the SEO industry commonly termed linkspam, where a company attempts to place as many inbound links as possible to their site regardless of the context of the originating site.

Websites often employ various search engine optimization techniques to increase the number of backlinks pointing to their website. Some methods are free for use by everyone whereas some methods like linkbaiting requires quite a bit of planning and marketing to work. Some websites stumble upon “linkbaiting” naturally; the sites that are the first with a tidbit of ‘breaking news’ about a celebrity are good examples of that. When “linkbait” happens, many websites will link to the ‘baiting’ website because there is information there that is of extreme interest to a large number of people.

I’ll be revisiting this again after more research – so you may wish to consider this a “Part 1”

Enjoy your SEO…. !!