HomeSEOSEO for Photographers: Getting Your Work Noticed Online

SEO for Photographers: Getting Your Work Noticed Online

SEO for photographers has more benefit than a person new to the web might think to consider. In fact, search engine optimization is a fundamental part of the web migration of many skilled professionals displaced by the economic downturn. Users that have discovered a need to make a website but have never written a line of HTML or used Photoshop are at a severe disadvantage in an increasing market. Steps taken to optimize a website can help to clear a path to new web professionals trying to create an independent means of income. Learning to apply SEO to a personal photography site can also help an amateur photographer with aspirations of semi-pro/professional business to get a head start.

First, let’s talk about what search engine optimization (SEO) is. Essentially, it is a series of steps taken to get web content higher search engine rankings. The higher your content’s ranking in a search engine, the higher the probability that more users will visit your site. Most new photographers don’t understand the benefits of having a search engine optimized website. They quickly throw a website together without much thought, thinking that it will result in new clients. Unfortunately, with no effort into optimizing a site, it will generally sit deep in search engine rankings, collecting virtual dust.

If you are a novice photographer or have been in the industry for a while, you need a website for your living portfolio. A living portfolio can be a great tool to get new clients, and many photographers are turning to the web to do this. Having a website to show off your photos can have many benefits. This depends on how much effort you want to put into your website and what type of benefits you want to receive from it. What’s important is that with a little bit of search engine optimization, your website can work for you while you sleep. The alternative to a living portfolio is making a CD of your work to hand out to potential clients. This is costly and becomes outdated media over time. A website is an investment in future work that can become a much more versatile and efficient living portfolio than hard copy photos.

What is SEO?

In order for beginners to understand the concept of Photography SEO, it’s far more accurate to say that keyword phrases are far more local and specific to the photography business. For example, wedding photographers shouldn’t optimize their website for the keyword phrase “weddings.” The competition for a keyword such as this is brutal, and it’s not likely to lead to quality traffic because people searching this keyword could be looking for a number of things from wedding themed clip art to information about the history of wedding culture. A wedding photographer’s goal is to appear in the search results of people who are looking for his or her particular style of photography in a certain location. An example keyword phrase might be “Miami traditional wedding photography.”

Search engine optimization – or SEO – is, quite simply, the process of ensuring your website appears in the results of search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, when potential customers are searching for phrases relevant to your business. When your site can be found by people who are looking for photography in your geographic area, you’ll improve your chances of being the ‘go-to’ photographer for that potential client.

Importance of SEO for Photographers

Approximately 60% of Google query results are clicked on by users, and of that 60%, around 8% of those result in clicking the back button instantly; the viewer didn’t find what they wanted. It is a harsh environment for a photographer with low patience for internet fumbling. A beautifully crafted website filled with Flash content may very well be passed by for a competitor’s minimally designed website which loads near instantly. An effective SEO service ensures a webpage that is equally gorgeous and quick to load. A rapid increase in site traffic has been observed in search engine rankings the closer the site gets to the prestigious position of #1. With numbers at an average of 160 clicks monthly at the 2nd place position, and 100 clicks at the 3rd place, 652 page visitors at the 1st position. A massive success rate requires top ranking and searchability.

SEO is absolutely vital for photographers. The concept is as familiar as these 3 letters are unrecognizable when actually spoken: CMY. This refers to the crucial concept of a visible webpage. With such emphasis on design and graphical content, a photographer’s website might be gorgeous, but is overwhelmed by the raw data. The sad fact is when a potential client is trolling through Google for a service, they are looking for one thing: quick gratification.

Benefits of SEO Services

In order to have a greater optimization of your website, there are SEO companies who also have SEO professionals to help you with your internet business. These professionals usually specialize in photographers and can provide you with the SEO web marketing solutions you need, which are cost-effective and can also aid in giving you a greater result at a ratio of the price. Your website will get a greater positioning high traffic, in turn achieving greater rankings. SEO photographer services can also provide a campaign to link up with your website and this will in turn aid in the targeted traffic or also called the niche traffic. Having this niche traffic will benefit you in photo SEO and photography marketing and will be an edge in your web business as the traffic is the right audience for your photos. This will also help your business compete with other photography businesses. Another benefit to using SEO services for photographers is using an optimization technique to correctly present your website to the search engines, giving it a greater rate of the search engine spiders understanding what your website is about. Remember that presentation is everything due to the fact the first impression is the lasting impression. An optimized website will always have a better chance of getting more ahead of unoptimized website. With SEO photographer services you can also achieve quality and a high return on investment. Usually the cost for the services are very competitive for what they can provide and the quality is a higher for a low price, through this in-depth process; monitoring and beneficial results can be achieved into transitioning to another approach without losing ROI. Due to the correct understandings of search engine algorithms the SEO professional can give you a comprehensive insight into what needs to be done and will also provide a SEO analysis that will be effective for the photo business. The analysis will also include how your website is doing in comparison to your competitors and what it will take to go above them.

Optimizing Your Website

Starting on good foundations is key to achieving good results, the very same analogy can be applied to building in this instance. Picking the right domain name is an important factor in displaying your professional identity and the type of work you produce. If you’re a wedding photographer it might be ideal to include the words ‘wedding photography’ into the domain. This also has a positive effect in terms of SEO, as the terms included in your domain name will also act as potential keywords (more on this later). Following on from this, domain authority can be built in a similar way – a new build house isn’t likely to have a motorway running behind it, just as a brand new website is unlikely to receive heavy traffic, quickly. Enter contests, like your work in internet marketing, to help build valuable inbound links to your website. By hosting a relevant contextual link this can certainly attract large amounts of extra visitors viewing your work (and bear a positive effect on your SEO!).

You absolutely are reading my mind… because the title of this section probably sums up what you are hoping to achieve (and fully understand) in the most succinct way possible. The implementation of superior SEO techniques is something that separates websites – pushing your entire online body of work to the top of Google should be a top priority. Online exposure can have a very direct effect on your income and job opportunities, so it’s important that you understand the ins and outs of SEO for your website. Despite much of SEO falling under a somewhat ‘dark art’, it lifts up quite a bit of the smoke and mirrors when it comes to getting known.

Keyword Research for Photographers

Keep in mind that you’ll need to determine how people are searching for the types of photographs you take, and then take the time to optimize your site for those keywords. For keywords, one of your main goals is to find the words or phrases that are relevant to your business, have the highest search volume, and the least competition. There are several keyword research tools available, but the easiest to use is the free Google External Keyword Tool. This tool is designed for users of Google AdWords, but it can still be used to find the most searched for keywords to implement on your website. With this tool you can search for keyword and ad group ideas, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new list by multiplying several lists of keywords together. This will be the best in the business since it offers a comprehensive list of keywords and tells you the search volume and competition level for each. Once you’ve gathered a list of keywords you’d like to target, it’s best to create an excel spreadsheet to organize the keyword, the search volume, and the competition level. Now you’re ready to optimize your site with these keywords to try and get your site ranking well.

On-Page Optimization Techniques

– Create a high quality site structure: A site’s structure should be based around the main target keywords, with the most important being closest to the root. Each page should be accessible from at least one static text link.

– Optimize keyword usage within the page: Include the target keywords in the meta tags, use the keywords in the title of the page, and use keywords within the main heading on the page. All pages should be focused on one main keyword and any synonyms. Keyword density is a factor in how relevant a page is to a search term. But this doesn’t mean to fill the page with the same keyword over and over, the text should flow and be human readable.

– Make a search engine friendly URL: Each URL should be permanent and consist of parameters related to the content. Dynamic parameters in URLs are hard to index and should always be rewritten. Every page should have a unique URL.

On-page optimization refers to all measures that can be taken directly within the website in order to improve its position in the search rankings. It is the effort taken to communicate with the search engines and confirm that the target search phrases are focused in a way that the search engines can understand. The most important aspect of on-page optimization is the information being communicated or in other words the keywords being used; but there are many other factors that are included in on-page optimization. Here’s a list of on-page optimization techniques that should always be adhered to:

Creating Engaging Content

Google defines quality content as “using engaging media and constructing high quality sites to persuade and manipulate the visitor to be involved with the site in a positive manner.” Creating engaging content is possible for any business website, no matter what field of work they specialize in. Engaging content on photography websites is simply ‘a must’ and I can’t stress that enough. There are many different ways in which a website owner can create content that is guaranteed to engage their visitors. Photographers should make use of their media and utilize it to tell a story. Whether it is a story about the specific photo or a story about the process of creating the photo. Utilizing the image to tell a story or explain a process is an excellent way to engage the viewer so that they will remain on the website longer and purchase a print. Often a photographer will have a photo that has a very unique and interesting story behind it. By creating a blog post or article that explains the story and the process of how the photo was captured, the viewer of the site will feel more of a connection to the image and in turn will be more likely to purchase a print or hire the photographer for an event. Visual stories are great content for photography websites, but writing is not the only way to explain a story. Sometimes the photographer may capture a sequence of photos that explain a story. For example, a photojournalist may cover a news story—instilling these photos in a flash player and writing a small description is an excellent way to capture a viewer’s continual interest. Flash players that utilize images and audio are another great tool for engaging the viewer. This method is often overlooked because of its SEO unfriendliness, but if used in moderation, it can be an excellent way to capture the attention of the viewer. Finally, contests and giveaways are an excellent way to engage site visitors and create a ‘buzz’ about the website. At any given time, Ritz Cracker has over $5,000 in prizes up for grabs during contests to help drive customer engagement. By offering free photo prints or a free photo session, a photographer can create a ‘buzz’ and the contestants are likely to return to the website on multiple occasions to check if they have won.

Off-Page SEO Strategies

Link building is one of the key essentials to a successful off-page SEO strategy. By placing your website URL on other high-ranking, relevant websites, you can build up your PageRank, search engine rankings, and site traffic. It is important to ensure you have the correct anchor text for your hyperlinks too. The anchor text is the clickable word(s) that users will see as a hyperlink to your website. Using descriptive, keyword-rich text will help to achieve better rankings for your keywords. For example, a photography equipment store specializing in tripods would want the anchor text to be something like “quality photography tripods” rather than just “tripods” or a pointless one like “click here”. Anchor text provides search engines with an indication of the subject matter of the landing page. You can start a link building campaign by finding and contacting websites with similarities to your industry and asking them to add a hyperlink to your site in return for a link on yours. Guest Blogging is also an effective form of link building. Write an article on another relevant, high PageRank website and in return, you can ask for a link and short author biography that’s included in their blog post to provide information about yourself and your photography services. This will also help with direct traffic and improve your brand awareness.

Building High-Quality Backlinks

There are a number of strategies to achieving high-quality backlinks, but the best generally involve the production of unique, high-quality content. The general rule is that more interesting and engaging content is more likely to attract links. This includes formatting infographics, or implementing video content that is highly relevant to your niche. A proven method is the creation of a blog, engaging with the industry or product by writing compelling and interesting content. This is more likely to attract links than an online store. High quality articles or white papers are also great sources of links. Writing a peer-reviewed article and getting it published will be a massive attractor of .gov and .edu links. This can be achieved through websites like Ezine, GoArticles, and ArticleBase. Offering to write a free guest post on a complimentary website is a sure-fire way to gain exposure and linking for your blog or website. Make sure the content is of high quality as it will be a reflection on your site and product. With an abundance of low-cost labor available online, it has become increasingly popular to outsource content creation to a third party. While caution should be applied when doing this, with careful planning it can greatly increase the quality and efficiency of the content creation process.

At its core, the concept of “backlinking” is the practice of having an external website link back to your own webpage. Building these links is often regarded as the most challenging and time-consuming part of an SEO’s job, but also the most crucial to success. High quality links not only greatly increase a site’s ranking in search engine results, but they also build consumer faith in the site’s content and product.

Social Media Marketing for Photographers

Because of this, a strong social media presence becomes an important part of your marketing strategy, considering that this can make your site less reliant on search engine results due to increased traffic from social media. When done correctly, this increased traffic can first and foremost lead to increased business coming from social media itself. This can have an immediate impact as one job can lead to many more through word of mouth and linking, and so before you know it, social media has done a great deal for your business. Social media traffic can also increase your site’s visibility, as can traffic from any source. This can indirectly improve your search engine results as you earn more backlinks and general traffic which SEO strives to achieve.

Social media has taken the world by storm, and with it comes a wide array of opportunities for reaching an audience. Social media is something that we all use in our everyday lives now, and if you’re not, it’s about time you did! It’s important to remember that although social media can have an impact on your business, it doesn’t have a direct impact on your page’s ranking on search engines. However, social media profiles generally rank amongst the highest results in search engines.

Guest Blogging and Influencer Outreach

In today’s world, marketing your business and gaining its reputation is one of the hardest tasks to fulfill. Marketing relies heavily on people knowing of your service, and given the broadness of photographers, how do people know of your service? SEO is a fantastic way to raise the visibility of your website. While it is a perfect way to improve business in the long term, a new photographer may opt for pay per click marketing to get immediate work. With the methods outlined in this article, your newly found traffic can work as a method of reducing immediate marketing costs and growing the organic presence of your website. With your newly found traffic from improved search engine rankings, you will need to maintain people’s interest in your work and give them a good impression of your business. Nowadays, it is no longer about telling people that you are the best. It’s about showing it to them and having them come to that conclusion themselves. With every method of photography, there is someone who is doing exactly what you are trying to achieve, whether they are more experienced, better at marketing, or simply better at photography. Guest blogging and influencer outreach is a fantastic way of learning from these people and setting an example for potential clients.

Guest blogging and influencer outreach is similar to link building, but it is much more long term and the better the partnership, the more reward. However, if you are looking for easy backlinks and do not plan on remaining in contact with the influencer, don’t bother. You will just be damaging your reputation. Start in the same way you would for link building, but be more selective with the blogs that you write to and the people that you contact. Take time to build a relationship with the influencer and make sure that their audience is in your target market. The aim is for you to write a blog for the influencer or a guest blog which contains a followed link to your website. This is a great way to bring traffic to your website and will improve your online presence. It is also a good chance to improve your article writing skills. An influencer may bring a large following from social media sites to your website, and for this, you can be added as a guest on a social media promotion. Step away from the keyboard by meeting an influencer face to face. For example, let’s say that you are a wedding photographer. Meeting the owner of a wedding magazine may lead you to a business deal in which you exchange discounted services for a wedding article of yours to be posted on social media. This article will act as a shown example of your work.

Tracking and Analyzing SEO Performance

Monitoring keyword rankings is fairly straightforward and involves tracking the position of specific keywords over time. At first, it is essential to only target a small number of search terms so as to make data analysis both manageable and accurate. Keyword rank monitoring will provide a picture of the direct effects specific changes to your website have on its search engine performance. An increase in the position of a particular keyword following on-site optimization is confirmation that the changes are beneficial. Any rapid decrease or dropping out of the rankings for a keyword may indicate a penalty and is an alert to check for any changes in on or off-site optimization.

Setting up a tracking system will allow you to monitor and improve the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. The system must be flexible, allowing for easy and quick changes, as any prolonged negative change in search engine position can result in a significant loss of business. While Web CEO features a rank checker which has proven to be very accurate, there are several alternatives such as Rank Tracker which also produce good results.

Once your SEO techniques are applied online, the next step is to monitor performance via a tracking system. This can be a complex and time-consuming task and is often best managed by specialist SEOs. However, the various tracking and analysis techniques are worthwhile and result in a greater understanding of search engine behavior and how it relates to your site.

Setting Up Google Analytics for Your Photography Website

The next step is to verify that the code has been installed accurately on your website. You can do this by checking the ‘tracking status’ in the admin tab of your Google Analytics account. The status should display ‘awaiting data’, which will change to ‘receiving data’ once the tracking code has successfully gathered data. An alternative way to do this is to view the source code of your website and search for the tracking code. If you can see the code Google has provided you, your tracking code has been installed correctly.

The first step in using Google Analytics is to set up an account on the Google Analytics website. Once this is complete, Google will assist you in choosing the appropriate type of tracking code. As a basic user of Google Analytics, you can select the standard tracking code, but the async tracking code is recommended for advanced users or those using AJAX. This type of tracking code will improve the speed that your website loads at (which is useful if you have a website with many images) and the accuracy of the data collected within your reports. After this, you will be given a piece of code which you must install on your website, and this code is what will gather the data and begin tracking the performance of your website.

Monitoring Keyword Rankings

By this point in our guide, you will already have a good idea about the keywords that are driving traffic to your site thanks to Google Analytics. Now what you want to do is keep a close eye on where your keywords are ranking in the search engine results pages (sometimes referred to as SERPs). This can be done manually, but you may find it extremely time consuming (especially as your site grows) and inaccurate due to personalised search and the sheer number of keywords you are likely to be aiming to rank highly for. There are many keyword rank tracking tools out there. Depending on your level of investment in SEO, you may decide to go for a paid tool (Moz and Rank Checker are good examples) or if your budget is limited there are free tools like Cute Rank and SEOBook. You can use these tools to schedule regular checks on where your site is ranking for certain keywords and over time you can build up a clearer picture of which of your SEO efforts are bearing fruit and which are wasting your time. This can be very useful for making decisions about the direction of your SEO campaign. Over time, the market changes, search engines evolve and your site will develop. This means that a keyword with strong traffic and low competition when you first start optimising for it can change dramatically. You may find that it becomes too competitive for you to have any chance of ranking highly, or that it’s not really worth the time you are putting into it compared to potential gains. Similarly you may find that some long tail keywords start bringing in large amounts of traffic that you hadn’t originally anticipated. By continually tracking your keyword rankings, you can adapt the focus of your SEO campaign to coincide with changes and get the best possible results.

Analyzing Website Traffic and User Behavior

From the time you’ve begun incorporating changes to your website in hopes of enhancing your search engine rankings, you have to start examining the results. Here at the Equipment section of Google, you can find records on the visitors that has shown up just recently, including keywords used, the time of arrival, what they looked at or bought, and how much they spent. That is a tremendously useful tool for seeing if the search traffic is really bringing you customers to your website. It lets you see what a certain keyword has brought in terms of visits compared to another keyword. This is useful if you decide to try to improve on the more successful keywords to bring in even more visitors. You can also track the landing pages of the visitor as well as exit pages. This is important because some parts of your website may be more effective than others. If you have a particular entry or exit page that is losing visitors, you may want to verify that part of the page is showing the correct information. Under the standard performance tab, there is the option of a tab called ‘search queries’. This option is designed to show your website’s average position across the search traffic it’s coming from different keywords. It’ll show a list of keywords and average position of your website in the search results. This is an effective way to track which keywords are bringing in the most traffic and see if the work you’ve done is effective.

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