Google is an incredible source of income and opportunity for photographers. If you struggle to find your way to the front page for what you do and the related keywords, there is hope. You may have heard SEO (search engine optimization) is dead. Fortunately, it’s not true. There are many things you can do to drive more website traffic from Google. I did it, other photographers do it, and you can too.
I now rank well for many key terms such Detroit food photographer. Actually, I rank well for many of my businesses. Here is how I do it.
The way I approach SEO is not much different from fifteen years ago. Considering all the changes in the Google algorithm, that may seem like a strange statement. Maybe I was foolish not to use many of the tricks available to me at the time. However, I knew what Google wanted, the same as they do today. A quality resource the search engine can send their customers to when seeking an answer or solution.Google wants a quality resource the search engine can send their customers to when seeking an answer or solution. Click To Tweet
I make sure my pages are focused and provide good information. This is often a problem for photographers because most photography websites are image heavy, for good reason. Yet, if you want to be found online, you need to make adjustments.
Below is a video I created to get you started on some foundation SEO concepts.
Link to SEO video: https://youtu.be/arsuH1kgp_o
Page Set Up
SEO is not a one time event. It’s a continuous process of improvement, addition and adjustments. Yet, you need to start somewhere and the starting point is to set up each page for success.SEO is not a one time event. It's a continuous process of improvement, addition and adjustments. Click To Tweet
I like to think of each web page is an opportunity to be found. The more quality pages I add to my website, the more authority it earns over time. Especially as people link to and share my web pages.
To begin the process, I plan what the web page is about. It’s important to be specific. Lets use dessert photography, for example. The web page title, also known as the title tag, is the most important real estate on a web page. It sets expectations about the page for the search engine. Everything else on the page should support your title.
In the case of a dessert photography page, I consider the intent of the people who search for a dessert photographer and how it relates to my work. If you display dessert photography for stock, then the word photography is correct. This is because the likely intent of the searcher is photographic images, not a photographer to create such images.
If you are a photographer for hire, then use Dessert Photographer. What about location? Are you looking for local clients? then add your location – Detroit is mine. Test modifiers, such as, the best or for hire. I’ve found them helpful on some pages. You will need to test and experiment to see if they work for you.
My title page might look like <title> Detroit Dessert Photographer For Hire </tile>.
Wait! what about my name? Unless you are a famous brand, ranking for your name is not a priority. As long as you have your name and information on your website, Google knows who and where you are. SEO is to attract the people who don’t know you and are looking for what you create.
Once you create a title, it’s important to create a strong description. The description is not for the search engines as much is it is for searcher. This is where you sell the click. Below is a video explaining the idea.
Link to video: https://youtu.be/f33rVcBXKWI (sorry for the audio on this one)
Next, fill out all the tags you can. This includes photograph alt tags and file names. Alt tags help the search engines understand what each photograph is about. Make sure you use descriptive language, including your keywords. Although the keyword tag has little or no value to Google, if your platform has the option, fill it out anyway. Remember to focus your keywords. You don’t need and should not you place every variation of your keywords. This is known as keyword stuffing, which can lead to a search penalty.
How Do You Rank?
If I want to rank for a topic, I check out the competition. In this example, I would search Detroit dessert photographer and see what Google offers as the top three to five results. I will then go to Moz open site explorer to see how the site ranks in authority compared to mine. If all the competitors websites have drastically more links and authority, I may consider a different direction, for now.
If my website is comparable or within range, I develop a plan. The plan is to offer more than the competition. I count the number of photos, words and videos on the page. If their page has 500 words, I’ll write 750 words for my new page. The photographer may have a portfolio with ten images, so, I’ll place fifteen. If they have a 2 minute video, I’ll create a five-minute video. My goal is to create a better resource.
You can apply these techniques to more than just the work you create. What about vendors, locations, equipment and the styles you apply? Maybe there is a popular local hall for weddings. Create a web page as a wedding photographer specializing in that specific location. How about seniors and your local high school? Keep searching for new topics to improve your website as a resource for your target markets and region.
Link It Up
Share your new page with your social media. Give people permission to link to your site. If you have clients who use your dessert images on their website, ask them to link relevant pages to your pages. Don’t be shy. If you have other websites or pages related to dessert photography, such as a food photography page. Link to your new page as a relevant resource. If you do it right, over time others will naturally link to you too.
Every few days or weeks look for a new resource to add a link. Maybe there is a directory for food photographers. Write a blog post about dessert photography and link to your page. Guest post on food or photography websites. You have many options. Still, it is important to remember quality is important. Avoid spammy websites and linking opportunities.
Get active in your community. Speak about your work. Even if your name is mentioned as a dessert photographer online without a link, it can have SEO value.
If your competition has 20 links to their dessert webpage, set a goal to develop twenty-five quality links over time.
Additional SEO Thoughts
To keep my rankings strong, I review my websites regularly. Some sites of less importance have faded, while others remain strong. To keep my websites strong, I continue to add pages and relevant information. I try to keep my websites modern looking and examine the visitor experience.
Does my website display well on multiple types of screens? Does it load fast and can visitors find what they are looking for quickly? The visitor experience is very important to Google. I never assume my website guest will figure it out.
If you want to succeed, like I do at SEO, put yourself in the shoes of searcher looking for a solution and understand Google wants to offer the best resource.
How long does it take to work? Well, I have a video for that too.