Photography SEO and Web Marketing Workshop: How to Create Great Content
What is great content?
High-quality content is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Great content gets shared and linked to, which boosts overall rankings. Furthermore, great content keeps users on your site, answers questions, and provides an overall good user experience. Here are a few ways to ensure that you’re producing great content.
As a photographer, your photos are your primary content. I mention this because it’s not uncommon to see photographers spending time and resources in the wrong place.
If you’re investing hundreds of hours in creating pages for SEO but the photography stinks, then you’re basically painting a collapsing house. Getting people to visit your site and driving links to your site will feel like pulling teeth. And if you happen to get viewers on your site, getting them to actually book will be a whole new challenge.
Be sure to work on your core skills as a photographer AT THE SAME TIME that you work on your SEO and web marketing. SEO is simply a way to get your work discovered, but your clients need to find what they’re looking for after you have their attention. Start improving your photography with SLR Lounge Education (http://www.slrlounge.com/store).
Be Different | Do Something “Epic”
Beyond simply being a good photographer, finding ways to differentiate your work will help your SEO and web marketing considerably. Add different techniques to your current style like unique post production styles, HDR photography, tilt-shift photography, advanced composites, advanced flash techniques, or any other skills that result in something different from the norm.
Consider setting up concept shoots that are both creative and different. Epic work gets shared. Epic work gets featured in magazines and large websites. These shoots don’t always have a direct monetary payoff, but being creative and different will benefit you in terms of exposure and SEO.
Have Great Informational Content
Besides great photography, it’s absolutely critical that you create great resources on your site. This is the step that most photographers miss. Most photographers only create a few basic pages beyond their blog entries, like a contact and an “about us” page. While you don’t necessarily have to have hundreds of pages on your website, having a large, useful, and well-planned set of pages will help immensely.
Remember, your main website URL will target your main keyword while each individual page will target one of your niche keywords. Though it’s okay to use a targeted keyword from one page in another page on your site, generally try to stay focused on one or two keywords for each page.
To find and discover pages you should create, start with the NICE Acronym:
N – Need: What do your clients need to know?
I – Interests: What other interests does your target audience have?
C – Common Questions: What are common questions from your clients?
E – Emphasize: What areas of your business do you want to emphasize?
This initial list does not have to be comprehensive, as you can always add more pages to your website later down the line. But having a starting list will help with your planning and execution. Because you probably can’t write everything in one sitting, set a schedule to populate this content. We suggest 1 day a week for most photography studios.
Here are some sample answers to the questions above, followed by potential ideas for content that might be useful for users asking those questions. We are going to switch to the example of Sarah Kim, a fictitious newborn photographer in Salt Lake City, Utah.
N – What do your Clients Need to Know?
Sarah’s newborn photography clients need to know basic information about her services. This means that Sarah should create a page dedicated to her “newborn photography services,” detailing what she does and the areas she covers. Sarah’s clients will need to know how to book, schedule, and contact her. These topics would also deserve one or two pages. Sarah’s clients should know a little bit about her, so she should certainly create a personalized “about” page. Her clients should know the ideal timeframe after birth to take newborn pictures as well as the procedures and preparation leading up to the shoot. Every business is different, so take your time and provide valuable information for your clients.
I – What are your Target Clients’ Interests?
As parents of newborns, Sarah’s clients are interested in all things related to their precious new baby, from infant health to baby fashion and everything in between. She might consider creating pages that cater to these interests beyond photography services. An article on “baby wardrobe tips” for their upcoming shoot would do well. Some tips on “newborn safety” during shoots would also resonate with clients. General tips on “infant development” and interesting links to useful articles are all great ideas to include on her website.
C – What are COMMON Questions From Your Clients?
Sarah hears the same questions a few times and realizes that more people must be wondering the same thing. “How long is a shoot? What should I bring? What gear do you use?” These are all things that might help Sarah’s clients find answers. By answering these questions, Sarah’s accomplishing many things. First off, as their source of information, she’s keeping the users on her site and building trust and authority. Secondly, she’s saving herself time because now these well-educated clients no longer need those additional emails. And lastly, she’s creating content that may become a reference and receive attention (and links) from other websites.
E – What Areas of Your Photography do You Want to EMPHASIZE?
Sarah is a versatile newborn photographer who does everything well, from lighting to posing to post production. She also has a distinct and desirable style that shows in her imagery. Even then, she should create a few pages that emphasize her distinguishing characteristics. For example, maybe she has a very distinct post-production style. If that’s the case, showing some before and after images on a page might “wow” a client. Also, Sarah is incredible with compositing images so that she can get her newborns in positions that are otherwise unsafe or difficult. A full tutorial or explanation would allow her clients to gain further appreciation of her skill set and see her has a leader in the industry.
Keyword Planner Reminder
Of course, as you answer these questions and create amazing content, make sure you keep your keywords in mind. More importantly, stay open-minded to adopting new keywords to use as you brainstorm. As much as we think we know our clients, sometimes pages you think will be great don’t generate a lot of interest, while ones that you are unsure of end up performing really well.
When writing your content, have the keyword planner open in another window. Remember, small nuances in the phrasing of the keywords make a big difference. Think back to our San Francisco Wedding Photography vs. San Francisco Wedding Photographer example in the last chapter.
Think of your potential title for each page and put it into the keyword planner. From there, you should get a good idea of what to title your post as well as what words to use within the post.
For example, let’s assume that Sarah wants to create a web page about the safety precautions she takes for her Newborn Photography. She decides to use the keyword “Newborn Photography Safety,” so she plugs it into the Keyword Planner.
She sees that there are about 50 monthly searches and there or no better alternatives for that topic. So she decides to create a page using that keyword as the title. Within the keyword planner, she also notices that “Newborn Composite Photography” gets about 20 searches a month, so she decides to create a page with that title as well.
While none of these are big numbers individually, as a whole, Sarah will see an increase in relevant traffic. More importantly, Sarah will continue to see traffic on these pages in the long run as long as the information doesn’t become irrelevant. In addition, the pages provide incredible value to her clients and increase their overall perception of her expertise.