Robert_Charlton - 9:17 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)
Their art speaks for itself, and it's rare for an artist to give a description above a couple of words.
Not to get into analyzing another site, but DA has a very active community with large number of user comments. I don't think you can ignore this in considering why they rank. It's also not necessarily typical of other art and photography sites, where the whole point of a site might be to present images in an austere, fine arts gallery-like environment. So "photography" and "art" and types of community an market areas may be extremely different.
If yes..add more "descriptive" text..describe it to a blind art aficionado
I think this is a wonderful way of putting it. Yes, this is one approach, and one I like. I think it's possible to add unobtrusive text to a page, slightly grayed down, eg, on a black bg, that shouldn't interfere with an image at all. It becomes a design problem to be solved.
To toss out a bunch of questions/observations that come to mind within the broad topic of the opening post...
- are we talking only about stock image sites here? Seems to me that different kinds of sites... even different kinds of stock sites... may have different kinds targeting priorities, depending on the type of art and the market.
- depending on the above, what are you targeting, beyond, say, [stock keyword]?... The artist's name? The image subject matter? The photographic genre? If we're going beyond stock sites, are we talking about an art gallery name?... or perhaps even an artist's commercial services?
- if an individual artist's site, one photo or painting per page, or a jQuery gallery?
- if a stock site, organize images anonymously by subject matter, or by specific photographer, or both? Do dupe image-content issues apply to different data sorts?
- how does Panda react to a page that contains an image above the fold with the description to a blind art aficionado below?
- lots of art isn't about the name of its subject matter. So if you're verbally optimizing, what are you targeting?
- how does Google respond to a collection of images that aren't thematically connected?
- if you want to avoid image search, are you essentially throwing in the towel?