As a photographer, the Internet is your showcase. It’s where you can give people a glimpse of your creative talents and professional skill, and where you can garner new clients, generate new interest, and more.
This is all possible, of course, if you are using the Internet in the right ways and taking advantage of all of the tools and resources available to you. That includes SEO.
Most photographers are surprised to learn that SEO is relevant to their business. The key is right there at the end of the sentence, though– business.
As long as you have an online business of some kind, whether you’re selling prints, offering photography services, or just trying to book gigs and get deals by showcasing your work, you’re trying to drum up some kind of business. Therefore, optimizing your content is going to be critical to your success.
We’ll talk more about why photography SEO is important below, and after that, you will find valuable insight on why you should avoid DIY optimization, what your strategy should include, popular keywords, and more.
It’s really all about the process– and it is a process, not just a tool. That will be discussed later, though. For now, let’s talk about why you need SEO and what it can offer you.
Why SEO is important for your photography business
As mentioned above, if you have a photography business, you need search engine optimization. Businesses operating online today are competing in a very tight market and there is very little room to be left behind.
In fact, while few people go further than the first page of search results, most people don’t even scroll past the page break mid-screen, so you really have to impress if you want to get noticed.
Fact: 60-80% of all clickthrough traffic goes to the TOP THREE search results.
Search engine optimization is important because it helps you increase your search rankings. The process involves using specific keywords and improving the content and overall presence that you have, both on your website and off, to get your business pages ranked higher in search results when people search for relevant photography services or businesses.
Optimizing often does a lot more for your photography business than any other passive traffic source.
SEO is a much better source of passive traffic than social media, for example, because it requires less effort on your part. Social media is a great tool, but it requires constant management and updates, which you might not have the time or means to commit to.
If you put a solid SEO strategy in place, you’ll enjoy a lot more hands-off traffic generation. Plus, it will be targeted traffic, which will increase the quality of your leads and your conversation rates.
How do you think people find your business? A fair majority of them are going to perform a simple Internet search for “photographers” or “photographers near me”, or something of the like.
Therefore, if your online presence isn’t optimized so that it can be ranked in the search results, you’re not going to get as much business as you could from the online audience.
The other big part of this is that in many cases, people are searching for local photographers, so you’ll have to include that in your SEO strategy to get the best outcome.
The bottom line is that if you invest in SEO for your photography business, you’ll see an increase in traffic, leads, and conversions when it’s done right.
Should you go DIY for your photography SEO?
Speaking of doing it right, many people wonder if this is something that they can do on their own. While there are some aspects of search engine optimization and maintaining your campaigns that you might be able to handle, the bulk of this process is generally best left to the professionals.
They work with optimization every single day and they know what the search engines are looking for. More importantly, they can handle the work while you focus on your photography.
SEO agencies and experts do know how to optimize your online presence to improve your chances of ranking higher in the search engines. However, even they don’t know the “secret” algorithm that Google uses for ranking sites.
Google will offer guidelines and best practices for those who wish to optimize, but it won’t spill the beans behind it’s ranking methods. This is partially to ensure that no one can “work the system” to get false rankings, which was a common practice in the past.
If you feel overwhelmed or confused, don’t. First of all, it isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Secondly, you don’t have to go it alone– in fact, we’re telling you that you shouldn’t.
Would you tell someone who wanted professional results to take their own wedding photos? It just makes sense. Especially when you consider that SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools out there and your main (or perhaps only) expense will be paying your SEO team to get your website optimized.
SEO Checklist for Photographers
To get started, there are some basic elements that you’ll want to include on your to-do list to discuss with your SEO provider. You may have already completed some of these, or you may be starting totally fresh. Either way, take notes and pay attention if you want to get started on the right foot with SEO for photographers.
Get Discovered and Indexed
You can’t rank for SEO until your site has been discovered and indexed by Google. The first step in building a successful optimization strategy is to have an online presence that can be combed by the search engines in order to get those rankings that you desire.
Create Your Google My Business Page
This is one key to successful search engine optimization that is often overlooked. You need to create your “My Business” page, fill out all of the content completely and accurately, and especially make sure that your contact information is consistent and accurate.
You can leave this to the SEO team, or you can attempt to tackle it yourself to give it your own personal touch. You’ll want to include it in your SEO analysis if you already have one, though.
Optimize Titles and Tags
This is perhaps the easiest place to capitalize on SEO when it comes to the content on your website. You don’t have to worry about things like keyword density or providing value-added content.
As long as titles and tags meet the appropriate length requirements and include your keywords, you’ll be able to optimize them quickly and easily. While you’re at it, your URLs should also be search-engine friendly.
Do Keyword Research
You can’t just choose to focus on adding the phrases “photography” and “photographer” to your content, or adding your location to keywords and calling it local SEO.
If you’re going to be most effective with your SEO campaigns, you have to do the required keyword research to ensure that you are using the best keywords and phrases to generate the highest rankings and traffic. Before the end of this guide, we’ll go over some of the most popular keywords you should be focusing on to help get you started.
Your website needs to be mobile-friendly if you are going to generate any traffic. Today’s Google searcher is probably on a tablet or smartphone, after all, with more than half of all searches being performed from a mobile device.
Therefore, if your website is heavy, bogged down, or just not optimized for mobile rendering, you’re not going to make a great impression. Many companies take the mobile-first approach in website design in order to circumvent any issues with converting from a desktop site to mobile.
Although you could create a checklist with more than two dozen different tips and tasks to cover, that’s where your SEO partner will come into play. They’ll handle all the details and even help you with the items on the checklist above to ensure that you are ready to optimize and take your mobile presence to the next level.
Creating an effective SEO strategy for photographers
In order to develop a solid SEO strategy, you need to see what others are doing and read up on current trends and best practices. There’s a lot of background information involved in effective search engine optimization, so if you aren’t familiar with the process, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out where to start.
You need to start with a goal and a plan for how you are going to use SEO to improve your photography business.
Since we’ve already talked so much about the details of SEO, here’s a simple list of tips and tricks that will help you build a solid SEO strategy to increase the traffic to your photography website:
- Give the same amount of attention to your website as you do your off-page optimization. Your business directory listings, social media, and other off-page efforts are just as important to optimize as your website itself.
- Avoid keyword stuffing, duplicate content, and repetitive keyword use. All of these are bad practices and will definitely get you penalized by the search engines. Take the extra time to check and double-check your keywords and duplicate content so you don’t get dinged by the search engines.
- Streamline your online presence. Often, photographers and creatives will have multiple websites and off-page profiles that can be bulky and hard to keep up with. You should have one website with all of your services, as well as a streamlined online presence off of the site that is optimized and easily accessed by those who are seeking your type of products or services.
- Know the best practices of SEO at all times. There is nothing wrong with educating yourself on photography SEO, even if you’re hiring people to do the work for you. By knowing the best practices of optimization yourself, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your SEO provider and make sure that your strategy is solid in every way.
- Study the competition. You don’t want to copy anyone, but you should study what others are doing, and what is successful so that you can gather inspiration for your own SEO campaigns. Check out what tactics people are using, which ones are working, and even which ones aren’t so that you know what to avoid.
- Remember that SEO is about more than keywords. You also need to brush up your website and make sure that you provide valuable content that is informative and positions your brand as an authority in the industry. When it comes to search rankings, Google cares far more about reputation than keywords these days.
The ultimate tip for effective creation and execution of your SEO strategy is one that we’ve discussed a couple of times already: hiring a professional agency to do the work. Their expertise will help you get the best optimization and ensure that your efforts continue to succeed.
They can analyze your current situation, make recommendations and help you come up with a solid SEO strategy, and take care of the implementation, monitoring, making changes, and more.
Building a timeline to implement your SEO strategy
Part of the success that you find in SEO is in the timing. Not only do you have to implement the right strategies, but you have to do so in the right order and on a timeline that is effective for producing results.
For starters, you’ll want to implement things and monitor them for a while before hastily making changes. Although every company is different, a general SEO timeline should look something like this:
- Complete analysis of the website, off-page content, and competition.
- Keyword research and establishment of a solid SEO strategy.
- On-page optimization and improvements will be made first, including tags, titles, user experience, and more.
- Initial reports and analytics provided to help strategize moving forward.
- Off-page efforts take precedence here, including inbound link analysis, which will ensure that all inbound links offer the best landing or destination page.
- Local directories and online reviews will be examined and expanded.
- Google Analytics or a similar tool will be used to analyze the current progress and set the future strategy.
- Review of social media, search engine indexing, and website and site map.
- Optimization of any new content and a refresh of already-implemented techniques and tools.
- Ongoing strategies put into place for consultation, monitoring, link building, and continuous optimization efforts.
Again, this is just a rough timeline and every business is going to have different needs.
However, as you can see by the months laid out here, it really is important to remember that SEO is a process that is not going to happen overnight.
8 photography keywords to focus on in your SEO
We’ve discussed how finding the right keywords is a critical step in the SEO process. In photography, you have to get creative and focus on your specific niche if you want to be the most successful. Think about what your customers might be searching for if they wanted to find your business.
You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner or other keyword research tools to help you learn which keywords are going to be most popular in relation to your photography business.
Here are the most popular keywords for photography SEO that every photographer needs to be capitalizing on in their campaigns. Although you’ll want to perform your own keyword research still, you can get a head start by adding these words to the list.
- Professional photography near me
- Wedding photography
- Photo printing
- Couple photos
- Wedding photographer
- Family photos
- Newborn photography
- Professional photographer near me
Bear in mind that if you have any specific niche keywords or areas of focus that you can offer, it will help further refine the available and popular keywords. This is where performing your own keyword research comes into play– the best keywords for your photography business might not be the best keywords for the next one.
When you hire professionals to assist with your SEO strategy, you can ensure that you will get the best keywords. Plus, you will know that they are implemented effectively and getting you the best results. Many of these keywords can be varied to create new keywords or phrases. As always, there are a few big things to keep in mind:
- “Near me” is always a good tail, since most people are looking for local services
- You should also optimize for local SEO with city or state information, and specifically if you offer local event or special occasion photography.
- You can’t just use “Chicago photographer” on every page of your website or off-page content. You have to vary your keywords and choose more specific, relevant options so that it reflects the page content and still ranks for search purposes.
- Just because a keyword is popular doesn’t make it relevant to your business. You might find that the top two or three keyword choices don’t actually reflect your business well, and that’s okay. The most important thing is to use the keywords that are going to be the most effective for your photography business.
Now that you understand a little more about the keywords that you should be using and how best to use them, you’re pretty much ready to get started on the SEO process for your photography business.
You’ill be able to increase your visibility, improve your sense of authority, and most importantly, get those ever-so-valuable rankings that you deserve.
Get help from reputable SEO consultants
At the end of the day, the best answer to how to handle your SEO for photography is to work with experienced SEO services. They can provide you with the reputable, skilled consultants that you need to implement and manage your photography SEO campaign with ease.
Hiring professionals is about the only real expense that you’ll have with this cost-effective marketing solution, and it’s always an investment well-made.
The assistance of professional SEO services is going to be invaluable to your success. You have a business to run and you don’t necessarily have the time or skill to implement a strong search engine optimization process. Even if you have the time, you might not know where to begin.
Working with an agency saves all the hassle and helps you capitalize on photography SEO in the best ways possible. It’s all about giving your business the best chances of success. Part of that comes in leaving the complex nature of SEO to the pros.
At Ranq, we’ve been helping provide people with the SEO solutions that they need. Our boutique agency is committed to offering a personal connection and giving you the dedicated attention that you deserve.
We only take on a few clients at a time to ensure that everyone gets the best service and the most focused team, which allows us to give you better optimization solutions than some large, faceless SEO firm.
Call us today to discuss your needs and find out how your photography SEO can be on its way to the next level when you choose to work with us.