Few business and marketing challenges cause more frustration than does SEO for photographers.
Search engine optimization is one of those hot topics almost guaranteed to spark heated discussions or even cause arguments. I’ve witnessed some pretty spectacular flame wars erupt in the Facebook groups I belong to, so I know it has the potential to cause trouble!
My personal experience with SEO is extensive, and I’ve worked with professional photographers just like yourself for many years. In fact, one of the constant problems I see people struggling to overcome is getting their website listed by Google.
Being found by the right people looking for a photographer has become one of today’s toughest marketing challenges.
SEO For Photographers Used To Be Easy
There was a time when all you needed to market a photography business online was a website and some basic knowledge of search engine optimization.
Back in 2004, when I started my portrait and wedding photography business here in Memphis, I built a website from scratch, figured out which keywords I needed to target, and optimized my content to keep Google happy.
Of course, my technical IT background helped a lot, but the SEO part wasn’t anywhere near as challenging as coding a website by hand, for example.
Within a couple of months, my content ranked at the top of page one for many searchers in the area, and I had more than enough website visitors to keep me busy.
And it stayed that way for a long time.
Soon, other photographers asked me to help them achieve the same results, so I happily showed them the basics and off they went.
Today, SEO For Photographers Isn’t So Easy
Fast-forward to today, and we find a different picture altogether.
Google has plugged all the loopholes (not that I ever did recommend dubious SEO tactics in the past), and the top spots in the search results are occupied by established photographers who are hard to dislodge.
What’s a new professional photographer to do?
What’s possible if you just want to improve your own search rankings?
This is where jumping into SEO gets tricky for photographers these days.
One simple fact is this:
There’s no gaming the system anymore, and no easy way to finagle your way to the top of Google. There’s no guarantee your website will show up in the search results if all you have is a place to showcase your photographs and you don’t write enough text or have a good-quality blog.
It Can Be Done
By following some simple guidelines and creating quality content for your photography customers, you can make an impact in the search results and get your photography noticed by Google.
Yes, the recommendations you’ll learn here are simple ideas, but they work because they follow the core principle by which Google itself operates:
To help their customers (people looking for stuff) to find the most relevant and useful online resources for their current needs.
If we can help Google to do their job, and we do it in ways they approve of, then this can be done.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be “easy”.
In fact, SEO for photographers can be a difficult (but fun and rewarding) challenge to take on.
However, you must be prepared to work outside your comfort zone on some things, such as writing content or producing videos, but I promise you it’s well worth the effort.
This guide is intended to help make it less difficult, take less time, and get you faster results.
Ready to take up the SEO for photographers challenge?
Fantastic, let’s jump in!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What Is SEO And Why Does It Matter?
Before we get into the details of SEO techniques and other technical how-to information, we need to know what SEO is and why it should matter to you, the professional photographer. In this article, we'll look at that SEO actually means at its core, and 7 reasons why SEO is important for you as a business owner looking for more clients.
How Does SEO Work For Your Photography Business?
I get asked the question "how does SEO work?" all the time by photographers who want to a better understanding of how to get listed in Google. The answer isn't as complicated as many people assume it will be, and you don't have to know the full technical details in order to make it work for you. Here's a quick rundown of what you do need to know.
Clearing Up The SEO Jargon
Does the SEO world seem like it's full of confusing jargon to you? Baffled by some of the terminology, but can't seem to find a satisfactory explanation of what it means? Feel left out of the SEO crowd because you don't speak "SEO"? Here's a quick guide to some of the most common terminology you'll encounter as you research SEO and try to learn more about what to do and what not to do.
Photography SEO Myths Busted
Do you feel that SEO is too technical, takes too much time, or is the sole reserve of the big players in the photography industry? Have you succumbed to the idea that social media has replaced the need for SEO, or do you buy into the myth that Google will take care of itself and your website ranking all by itself? These are just some of the myths holding you back from success with SEO.
Should You Hire An SEO Company?
When SEO feels like too much of a burden for you to take on in your business (perhaps because you're overwhelmed with other things or you think SEO is just too technical), it's tempting to consider hiring an outside SEO company to do the work for you. However, make the wrong choice here and you could be in for more trouble than anything else.
How To Do Effective Keyword Research
No one can hire you if they can't find you and, to do that, you have to make sure your web pages are listed in the Google search results in response to the most appropriate search phrases your potential customers are using to look for a photographer. But doing keyword research can be more of an art than a science at times, and everyone has their own unique set. Here's how to find yours.
Organizing Your Content For Better SEO
Do you have a website content SEO strategy, or are you doing SEO on a page-by-page or post-by-post basis as and when you think you need to? If you don't have a plan, you could be hurting your SEO efforts, so here are some tips and ideas on how to structure the SEO for your photography website to avoid many of the most common problems.
A Photography Website SEO Checklist
The technical on-site part of SEO for your photography website involves knowing where to use the keywords you've chosen to target. Many photographers make the mistaken assumption that this is going to be difficult, but there are only 10 things you really need to remember, none of them difficult. Here they are for you.
A Photography Blogging SEO Checklist
Blogging can be a challenge in itself for many photographers, especially if they lack confidence in their writing, so it can help tremendously not to have to worry about the technical aspects of SEO for blog posts. Here's how.
How To Do Local SEO For Your Photography Website
In general, professional photographers work mostly with clients who live near their studio or within easy driving distance. To give you the best chance of capturing the attention of those clients when they're actively searching for a photographer, you need to know how to do local SEO for your photography website. Here's how...
Social Media Marketing And SEO
While search engine optimization (SEO) and social media might seem like strange company, there are connections between the two, and there's strong evidence to suggest that Google is making progressively more use of social signals such as likes, retweets, comments and other forms of engagement in their ranking calculations.
How To Get Other Websites To Link To You
Links are like the currency of SEO on the Internet. Generally speaking, the more links you can get pointing to your web page the higher its perceived authority and the the higher it will rank on Google. Of course, this is a simplified view and you'll see in the next section that not all links are created equally. The best links are those you naturally attract by virtue of having good content, but here are 5 ways you can increase the chances of acquiring more valuable links to your content.
Why Not All Links Are Created Equal
You've already learned the value of attracting links to your content from other website owners, and every link is worth something. However, not all links are created equal, and some are worth a lot more than others. Understanding why this happens is important when it comes to running a link-building strategy for your photography website, as you don't want to waste too much time focusing on the wrong things.
Does Your Photography Website Meet Google’s Mobile Ranking Criteria?
Google now use expanded criteria for checking mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in mobile search results. This is to help users find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices - is YOUR photography website ready for the "mopocalypse"?
Tracking And Measuring Your Progress
Having gone to all the trouble and effort to optimize your website content for the search engines, it's well worth the extra time and effort to track and measure your progress so you can more easily see what's working and what you might need to spend more time on with your SEO. Here are some of the best tools to track and measure your photography SEO.
SEO On Photography Blogs For Photographers Who Want To Make Better Client Connections
The role search engine optimization (SEO) plays in the effectiveness of your photography blog for making good client connections, and why the world of SEO might not be all you thought it was.
Why Chasing Search Engine Rankings With Questionable SEO Is A Huge Waste Of Your Valuable Time
Does search engine optimization (SEO) keep you up at night wondering how to get around Google's ranking algorithms to get your website on page one? Having trouble finding the best "how-to" articles with tips, tricks, and SEO secrets on how to do SEO? You might be chasing ghosts because SEO is not what most photographers think it is, and you could be wasting valuable time on stuff that just doesn't work!
SEO For Photography Blogs: How To Get Your Posts Noticed By Google
Doing SEO for photography blogs isn't the same as optimizing a blog on a more general topic. For example, professional photographers have a much smaller pool of keywords to target, which can lead to possible keyword cannibalization problems if those keyword phrases are not managed properly. Here are some tips for SEO on photography blogs to help your posts get found by the right people in the search engines. And, contrary to popular belief, it is NOT necessary for you to do SEO on every blog post. Here's why...
Photography SEO Tip: Chasing The Long Tail Of Search
Discover what long tail search means and how you can optimize your photography website to catch more meaningful web traffic through good SEO practices...
How To Organize Your Photography Keywords To Balance SEO And Attract Your Ideal Clients
Choosing the right popular photography keywords is essential to attract your ideal clients and get you ranked higher in search engines - but there are pitfalls, and it's not ALWAYS necessary to stress out over SEO. Find out how you can easily balance SEO and your content marketing...