I have started a new photo site where I release all my photos into the pubic domain at <snip>. I’ve posted on flikr, morguefile, and a variety of other photo sites but I cannot get traction. I do get some traffic from those but very little. I’ve also posted some pictures onto Wiki Commons. Google has been very unfriendly to newer website since the last few updates so I cannot count on that for quite a while yet. Any tips?
One place where you might be able to build a core fan base is Reddit. There are a lot of people that want to share photos and if you mention your site as an option for people (in a non-spammy way) you might gain a few regular users.
You say “Google has been very unfriendly to newer website since the last few updates so I cannot count on that for quite a while yet.” I’m not sure that’s true. In general, Google likes fresh content, and, by definition, a new site usually fresh content.
If you are not getting traffic from Google, it could be that your site doesn’t have a substantial amount of text for Google to work with. If the site contains mostly photos, with little supporting text, then there will be nothing for Google to index. (Of course, I’m only guessing, as I haven’t seen the site.)
Taking a wider view, what exactly do you want to achieve with this site? Clearly, you are not planning to sell the photos (otherwise you wouldn’t have put them in the public domain). So are you hoping to sell your services as a photographer? Do you simply want people to see and admire the photos? Or what?
My point is that you can’t know how to promote something unless you know exactly what you are promoting. If you would care to share that information with us, it will help us to put you in the right direction.