SEO tips come in thick and fast these days. Most business owners have realized the importance of this subject, and that brings a surge of misinformation from websites claiming to be experts. Now, I do not make this claim. I am no SEO expert. I’ve muddled my way through but have always felt somewhat lost. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a gigantic subject. Most companies have specific people, or departments, working toward improving this. It’s no wonder that we can sometimes feel overcome by confusion when this subject rears its ugly head.
A little while ago, SLR Lounge released the Photography SEO And Web Marketing E-Book. When I heard about this, I knew I had to read it. If any of you attempt to navigate the SEO/Social media jungle (bonus points for guessing the reference there) by visiting the multitude of websites available, you will know how difficult this subject can be. My biggest issue is that I often feel the advice given is not relevant to a little photography businessman like me. That’s why this book is so great.
Here are 5 SEO tips that I picked up from this book that I thought were particularly relevant to photographers, and rarely mentioned elsewhere.
SEO Tip 1: Create An XML Image Sitemap
Sitemaps allow webmasters to give data to search engines on how they should crawl your website. As much as you may want your beautiful new website to be found on Google, Bing, or Yahoo if those search engines are not navigating/crawling your site correctly, they may be missing entire sections. That would be terrible right?
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A Sitemap will help Google to navigate your site, understand its hierarchy and content, thus allowing it to be properly indexed. An Image Sitemap is essential for photographers but until I read this book, I had no idea! It’s essentially the same as a regular Sitemap but for your images. Allowing search engines to read the information contained within them and, therefore, rank in image searches. That’s pretty important for a photographer.
If you use WordPress for your website, check out Udinra All Image Sitemap. It’s a useful plugin that will take care of your Image Sitemap needs.
SEO Tip 2: Tailor Blog Posts To Specific Keywords
The Photography SEO And Web Marketing E-Book gave me lots of lightbulb moments. One of these came in the form of tailoring my blog content to my keywords. The first step in this process is to choose the best keywords for your business. This is not a process which should be rushed. Once you’ve chosen a number of keywords you want to rank for, these words will affect many future decisions.
But what benefits do I get from tailoring my blog posts?
- Using the overall keywords you have decided to rank for, blog posts can become an opportunity to have these terms naturally occur on your site. Search engines don’t like what’s known as Keyword stuffing, and this allows you to avoid that while adding relevant keywords; helping your chances of ranking for them.
- By identifying search terms, or long tail keywords, with little competition, you can create blog posts targeted to these and quickly rank. Some keywords have so much competition that ranking for them takes a looooong time, whereas you may find other search terms which a properly created blog post could very quickly rank for.
SEO Tip 3: Choose 5-10 Keywords To Rank For
There are lots of photographers out there. I’m not going to complain about the over-saturation of the market (blah blah blah), but it would be naïve not to recognize that there are a lot of us. There are also a lot of keywords that you may want to rank for. Do you think you’ll be able to rank for everything?
Unless you are willing to PAY search engines large sums of money to rank for everything, you will not be able to do so. It requires consistent effort to rank for even mildly competitive keywords. Imagine how much time you would need to dedicate to rank for lots of relevant keywords. It may be tempting to take a machine gun approach but, in the long run, it will only serve to damage your efforts.
Choose 5-10 core keywords you want to rank for. On top of those 5-10, you can find some less competitive keywords to tailor blog posts and other content to. Don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s easy to do.
BONUS TIP: Create a spreadsheet with all the main pages on your site. Use this spreadsheet to keep track of everything and assign keywords to pages. The image above shows a copy of one I’ve been creating for myself.
SEO Tip 4: Use Keywords Within Your Social Media
This was another SEO tip that common sense would deem obvious, but as photographers, we don’t always think about this stuff.
Google indexes social media pages (for example, your Facebook Business page!) That means that when people type “family photographer in south London” into Google, my website may appear (it doesn’t yet) but so could my Facebook business page. It’s yet another opportunity to be found.
When writing social media posts, keep this tip in mind. Try to add keywords, in an organic way, to your posts and throughout your profile.
SEO Tip 5: Add A Pin It Button To Your Website
This is another social media one but it’s pretty special. The 2nd largest source of referral traffic to the Lin and Jirsa blog is…drum roll please…Pinterest. It’s one of those social media sites that seems tailor made for photographers but I didn’t realize its potential until I read this book.
Just as mentioned above, Pinterest posts and boards are indexed by search engines, increasing your chances of being found in search engine results pages. However, not only this but every post on Pinterest has to link somewhere. This will usually be your website.
Imagine if you encouraged clients to build their own Pinterest boards with inspiration for their shoot. Ideally, most of these Pins will come directly from your own images. Those Pins will then be shared with your clients’ followers and be linking straight back to your site.
If you’d like your clients to be able to Pin your images, make sure you add a ‘Pin It’ button to your site. The image above shows my preferred WordPress plugin for this, you can find it here.
I found this book to be extremely useful. It is full of SEO tips just like these which can have a positive impact on your business. SEO may not be the most glamorous of topics, but a successful and profitable business is. If this has whetted your appetite for SEO, then you can find the E-book here.