The next step in our series on building your photography business is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for photographers.
Have you missed any of the previous posts? Here’s a quick recap of what we went over:
- Understanding the value of marketing your business and identifying your online marketing goals
- Marketing your online photography store on your website
- How to launch your photography blog, create content to post online, and share content through your email marketing efforts
As you continue to create content and adapt your online presence, SEO plays a very important role. Below you will find out more about SEO and some tips on how to use it.
What is SEO?
SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is the process of boosting your online visibility and increasing traffic to your website by free and organic search results found in a web search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. This process is based on what content you have on your website compared to other sites on the web by the words that are being searched. The content that you put on your website is evaluated by each search engine and then ranked against the other site’s content based on how relevant and similar it is to the searched words.
Google and other search engines routinely scour the internet for relevant information and then rank that information by using algorithms to determine if the content is relevant and useful. Once you enter a word or phrase into Google, it uses algorithms to provide a list of sites that it has determined as the best results for your search.
The Importance of SEO
Showing up on the first page of a Google search can make a world of a difference to drive business to your site and, ultimately, in your sales. You are competing against all sorts of people and organizations.
Studies indicate that there are over 2 trillion Google searches every year! More importantly, 75 percent of searchers never go past the first page.
The key is to set your content apart from the rest. The keywords you choose will be vital to ensure you stand out. A best practice would be to not choose “photographer” as your keyword due to it being too competitively ranked on Google. We will cover more tips on choosing keywords below.
When you do a search, how many pages down do you go to find the information you’re looking for? To dig deeper into how all this works, check out this study on Google search habits.
Now that you understand why SEO matters, let’s focus on the best practices for your photography business.
SEO Tips for Photographers
In a future post, we’ll get into more detail on how to research, analyze, and develop an effective content strategy for your photography business. For now, let’s look at some basic components that you can implement right away.
- Keywords – These are the core of your SEO strategy and the keywords you choose are VERY important to your success. Who you want to reach is called your target audience. Keep them in mind when you jot down all the important words and phrases that relate to your photography business. This is your initial list. For example, if you’re a landscape photographer, you might include landscape photography, mountain photography, nature photography, etc. But, these are too broad to be ranked on Google, so let’s get more specific.
- Get Local – If you work in a certain locale or photograph specific areas, include those on your list. And, when you include your location with Google Maps, it boosts your SEO. In our example, a landscape photographer who has a gallery in South Dakota and focuses on American national parks would include phrases such as, South Dakota landscape photographer, landscape photography of Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite nature photography, best wildlife photography of Zion National Park, and so on.
- Questions – The frequently asked questions (FAQs) you receive are an excellent source for keywords and blog post ideas. Include an FAQ page on your website, which will also boost your SEO. Some examples might include, Best Photography Excursions in Acadia National Park, 10 Lighting Tips for Landscape Photography, and How to Present Wildlife Photographs.
- Images – Google loves photographs that tell a story and relate to your content. Include photographs in your content and on your website to assist in your SEO efforts. Additionally, the images you share will help you rank in Google’s image search. To improve your SEO and image search results, make sure to add descriptive file names to your photos, captions and alternate text that include your keywords. If your gallery is located on another site, like SmugMug, look into their SEO practices, too.
For even more detailed information on best SEO practices for photographers, check out this post – Search Engine Optimization for Photographers – SEO Basics.
SEO Tools to Get You Started
As mentioned, we’ll be getting into more detail on how to best use these tools in a future post. Take some time to get familiar with them and play around with some of the keywords you’ve developed.
Moz – Provides SEO free and paid tools and information
Google Keyword Planner – Google’s free tool for keyword research
Keyword Tools – More keyword research
Yoast – WordPress plugin and SEO info
For even more, check out PC Magazine’s recent post on The Best SEO Tools of 2017.
SEO does take some time and knowledge, but it’s worth it to get the best results. Use these tools and simple tips to get you started and boost the Google results for your photography business.
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