For many photographers, using Lightroom to publish photos to WordPress is a normal workflow. But what's really important for good SEO is rich metadata. Most of this metadata is held in image file fields called EXIF/IPTC/XMP. There's not a strict standard, and from my understanding, under the covers the data block formats are quite the mess.
But, with a few tools, you can populate this metadata in Lightroom and have it automatically populate fields in your WordPress image library, such as caption and alternative text. There's also Instagram Lightroom plugins for going that route, but that's out of scope for this series.
For the purposes of this series, I'll be using the following software:
- JF Image Wrangler - Lightroom plugin- Donation ware
- JF Geoencoding Support - Lightroom plugin - Donation ware
- PhotoPress Image Taxonomies - WordPress Plugin- Free
- Media Library Assistant - WordPress Plugin - Free
- Exif Pilot -PC Software - Free
And it doesn't matter how you get your photos into Lightroom, as there are a variety of both free and premium plugins. I happen to use LR/WP sync. Imagely has a product, if you use their paid version of the NextGEN gallery.
IPTC/EXIF/XMP Metadata Population
For this workflow to properly work to the fullest extent possible, Lightroom needs to be populated with a lot of data. Much of it is already there, right from your camera. But several fields, such as Title and Caption, are not. So first up, go into Lightroom and expand the Metadata panel in Library to include EXIF and IPTC fields. Then, enter an appropriate Title and Caption.
Now it's time to populate fields such as artist, creator, email and website infomation. This can be done via a metadata pre-set during import, or applied manually to photos post-processing.
Now I like to populate Sublocation, City, State / Province, Country, and ISO Country code. Where do you get this info? Well my photos are GPS tagged, so I know exactly where they were taken. However, the basic Lightroom map functionality does not always do the best geo reverse location lookup. This is where the donationware plugin Geoencoding Support comes in. It has a pretty smart reverse geolocation function which uses Google map APIs.
I won't show it's usage here, but it's pretty easy. Install the plugin, select your GPS encoded file(s) and then go to the Reverse Geo tab and click Bulk reverse-geocode selected images. Wait until it's done, then check out the IPTC data. It could well have changed a bit, and for the better. Or, of course, you can manually populate the fields if you don't geotag your photos.
Last but not least are keyword tags. Open the Keywording panel and enter a comma separated list of keywords.
This first post in the series shows you how to populate Lightroom with various metadata fields. Coming up I'll show you the plugin that lets you capture all of this metadata, "wrangle" it the way you want, and embed it in your image files. Then in a follow-up post, you will see the WordPress plugin in action that reads some of this metadata and automatically populates certain image file attributes such as the alternative text.