Working on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your photography website is like working out at the gym for your body. The hard part is not knowing what to do or how to do it, but rather in having the time, motivation, and consistency to get the results you’re looking for.
The goal of this article is to show you how simple SEO for photographers can be and give you a foundation to get you started. From there, it will be up to you to make it happen for yourself and your business. Because if you are able to apply these tips, you will undoubtedly see your traffic (and leads) increase.
Here are 11 basic tips to get you started with building your SEO for your photography studio.
Note: A big THANK YOU to the website builder, Format, for sponsoring this article and making this content possible. Format’s website builder for photographers includes a step-by-step layout that walks you through the basics of SEO, complete with charts that document your progress as you strengthen your site’s SEO.
1. Understand The Basics Of Keywords
The first step to SEO is understanding keywords. Think of your keywords as the words or phrases someone is typing into Google to find pages on your site. Are they searching your genre + the word “photographer” + your city, i.e. “New Orleans Newborn Photographer?” Are they searching for related terms and stumbling upon your work like venues and locations, i.e. “Marriott Los Angeles Wedding”? The first step in understanding how to rank well is determining what you are trying to rank for. Start your plan with a list of terms you’re trying to rank for.
2. Stick To A Single Keyword Per Page
The next step is to understand that every single page on your website, whether it be the home page or the blog entry, should target a keyword. For example, if you just blogged a recent maternity session at Central Park in New York, then you should consider trying to rank that page for the search term “Central Park Maternity Photography.”
One of the most common mistakes photographers make is trying to cram in dozens of keywords onto a page without focus or priority.
3. Use Your Keyword In The Content On The Page
The next step is to simply use that keyword organically and naturally in the Title, URL, Text, and Images.
Sticking with our previous example, the title of the post should be “Central Park Maternity Photography.” If you’d like, you may add in a few other words after such as the client’s names.
The URL (or slug) should also include the main keyword. In our example, it would be https://www.yourdomainname.com/irvine-regional-park-maternity-photography.
Use the exact phrase and related terms organically throughout the text of your post, including the headers (H1, H2, H3s, etc). Do not overuse it. As a rule of thumb, use it organically and you should be fine.
Use the exact phrase and related terms in the image names and the alt text used throughout the post. Here are a few examples:
4. Build Credible Backlinks
The next step is building credible backlinks, i.e. links to your site from other websites. Think of backlinks as having other sites vouch for your site. The more credible sites that vouch for your website (i.e. link to it), the more likely that page is to rank for your keywords.
How do you build backlinks? The first step is to create content that is link worthy. Create valuable, info-rich resources, share interesting thoughts, post remarkable photography projects and more. Get on preferred vendors lists, get featured in related online publications, get featured on photography gear and software company websites and blogs, write for photography blogs and more.
Backlink strategy is an area of SEO where you can apply your creativity. Think of innovative and new ways to get organic mentions and you should see your rankings climb.
5. Link Internally
As you write your content, be sure to reference and link related content. Besides being good for the user experience, linking from page to page allows the Google bots to crawl your site and index your pages. Also using the keyword which is the focus of the linked page in the hyperlink, will further reinforce the target topic of the linked-to page to Google, and help with rankings. Much like with everything else in SEO make sure you do not over-do your internal linking within content, and keep it modest and natural.
6. Get Creative with Your Pages
Many photographers target the same keywords like cities, popular venues and locations for photography, genres of photography, etc. Where you can start driving significant search traffic is targeting related keywords that others may not be thinking about.
Is anyone in your area targeting keywords for different cultures like “Chinese” or “Indian?” Is anyone targeting styles of photography like dramatic, bright, vintage, etc? What about general guidance related to your genre(s), like wardrobe tips, makeup tips, or wedding tips?
If your niche is business to business, like corporate headshots, have you considered creating content that gives guidance on where to use their headshots on their website and social media?
Of course, these are all just ideas and the best path for your business will require creativity on your end, as well as testing, failing, and learning along the way.
7. Submit Your Sitemap
Sitemaps help Google crawl and understand the content on your site. If you’re using a good website builder like Format, your sitemap is automatically created. All you have to do is submit it. Click here for more info.
8. Write An Engaging Meta Description
A “meta description” is a fancy term for page description used by search engines. It’s just the text that appears underneath your title in search engine results. The words in these descriptions DO NOT directly influence search results in Google, so focus on using language that makes your link clickable rather than trying to stuff in keywords. To input your meta descriptions in Format, simply fill out the boxes provided under the SEO tab in the backend of your website (see example above).
9. Signup For Google My Business
Organic search results and Maps search results differ. Having a Google My Business (GMB) account is critical for ranking in your maps search results for photographers. Sign up and fill out a robust and accurate profile, using your best imagery and strong, thoughtful messages in your description. Sign up here.
10. Use Consistent Names, Addresses And Phone Numbers In Listings
As you register your business in directories like Yelp, WeddingWire, Facebook Business Pages, etc, ensure you’re using consistent names, addresses, and phone numbers. These references will help your rankings in the maps search results. Local area codes and local phone numbers will typically rank better for local search results.
11. Track With Google Analytics
How do you know if any of your efforts are paying off? Installing Google Analytics is critical to understanding your traffic. You can find more instructions here.
These are just the basics of SEO. As you can dive deeper into a number of the tips we’ve covered, you need only apply the information provided here in order to immediately improve your website’s ranking.
For more information, please visit the SEO tutorials on Format.
This is a sponsored post for Format. The opinions stated are my own. Format is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.