September 21, 2018
The top 12 SEO tips for Photographers compiled by me, a wedding photographer. I hope this take out the intimidation of SEO and gets you clients finding you on Google!
SEO stands for search engine optimization. There are thousands of search engines, but for the sake of keeping this simple and relevant we are gonna focus on the current top dog: GOOGLE. SEO doesn’t need to be complicated or filled with a ton of technical jargon. This post is to give you actionable steps to improve your search engine results for your website. You do need to understand this takes time! Usually 6-18 months, if you are consistent and doing it right!
You don’t need to know everything about Google’s algorithm, you just need to know “The primary goal of Google is to provide users with the most relevant, highest quality results based on user search queries, i.e. their wants and needs when performing a search online.” When you are creating your website and blogging, always be thinking about how you can be a relevant, high quality search result for someone looking for your business.
Every website builder will be different, I am going to share SHOWIT and WORDPRESS.ORG tips since that is what I use for my site and blog. No matter what you use, your site needs to be mobile friendly!!! You will be severely knocked down in the search results if it is not.
These should be “location” then “Type of Photography” Photographer. I would do your city and state. Then for a few more you can choose a very specific location or venue you shoot at frequently. Mine are:
Utah Wedding Photographer
Salt Lake City Wedding Photographer
Park City Wedding Photographer
Arizona Wedding Photographer
Scottsdale Wedding Photographer
Now that you have these keywords, you will want to weave them into every page and every blog post. You will still write like a human. Don’t try to be sneaky and list those keywords a million times because that will hurt you.
H1 header just means the format of the text, at the top of this blog post my text is an H1 format (very large and bold). Depending on your website builder you are using it may have a different way to add the title. If you do not add a description, it will take the first 300 characters. You will want your description to be around 160 characters long and include 1 or 2 of your keyword phrases. The title is what shows at the big, blue text on the search result and the description is the smaller black text underneath it.
When you name your pages and blog posts, that will be reflected in your URL. You want it to read yourdomain.com/name-of-the-page. For example this post is https://kacilou.com/12-seo-tips-for-wedding-photographers. The title is relevant to what is on this page and shareable. If anyone saw this URL, they would know what is on the page. The keywords I put in the URL will now be associated with my site. Using short URLs are fine to share on social media, but you want to shorten it after you have published it on your full URL. On your wordpress.org site you will go to Settings<Permalinks<Select Post Name and Save.
Go to https://business.google.com (sign into your gmail account or create one if you don’t have one) then follow the prompts to add your business on the Google Business pages. When it asks for your address, you can choose to say that you are a service and go to your clients then check the box to hide your address. You need to enter your correct address though because Google will send you a postcard with a number you need to enter to verify you are a real business.
Why do this? Take a look at this photo. The top results are ads, then underneath the map are the Google Business listings (which you can also buy ads on)
To rank higher on the list of Google Businesses you need a complete profile and relevant reviews. So how do you get reviews, this part is kind of tricky because there is not a direct link you can send to your clients. You have to generate a link using this page:
You can send that link or create a branded sub-domain. I login to my domain registrar, go to manage my domain, then click add subdomain forwarding for reveiws.kacilou.com to forward to the Google Reviews URL. If you have a Godaddy account I can help you! If not you can reach out to whoever manages your domain to help you with it.
Then email some of your past clients and ask for a review. Be specific like “how did you feel before you hired me, how did you feel after? What did you love about the experience? What did you love about the photos?” then you can bribe them with a $5 starbucks e-gift card or discount on your session if you need to.
A backlink just means someone else is linking back to your site. They have put your URL somewhere on their website. There are tons of directories out there that you can be listed on for free. I just helped you get listed on 1 – Google Business – in the previous step. The other sites are similar. General directories are:
Then you can also use directories specific to your industry like I use https://weddingwire.com for a free listing for my wedding photography.
Along with that idea of getting backlinks, getting published on the RIGHT sites will improve your credibility. The more well known, credible the site is that you can get listed on THE BETTER. If you get your work published on Ruffled or Style Me Pretty or maybe The New York Times then your site will rank better way faster! Also focus on getting published by local newspapers so you can rank better for your location. Don’t get listed on scammy sites or sites that just list random links, that will hurt you!
This is a great way to collaborate with another business so you can help each other. This will make you look well connected and be able to share someone’s knowledge with your followers and you share your knowledge with their followers. For example, I would love to swap with a florist. They could do a guest blog post on my site like “3 ways to keep your flowers fresh on your wedding day” which my followers would love. Now I have new keywords I can rank for that potential clients of mine could be searching. Then I would write a post on their blog like “10 photo ideas for the bride and her bouquet”. If you are a family photographer, you could swap with a daycare or nanny or children’s clothing store. All you need to do is find a business that has the same type of client as you and reach out to them for a collaboration.
When you are naming your final images, include your keywords! I title them “location of shoot – type of shoot – by Kaci Lou Photography” like “Big Cottonwood Canyon Engagement Photos by Kaci Lou Photography”. This will be the title of your image. After the images are uploaded to your wordpress.org blog you can edit the “alt text” which is the keyword phrase that will be associated with your image. For my client blog posts, I just copy my title as the alt text for every image. You could take the time to make image unique like “Rose gold wedding ring with halo on a leaf + the location”. But I don’t take the time to do so eek.
You can change the alt text on your image by editing the image, then it is on the bottom right. You need to do this for every image on your site, not just your blog.
This hurts many photographers because we want to show our images at the highest resolution and best quality, but large image files take a long time to load. You need your site to load in milliseconds. This site will let you put in your URL to see how you can optimize your site to load better-
My trick – I use Jpeg Mini Pro! It is a downloadable lightroom plugin, that when you export your images it will reduce them by 5-12 times without any loss of quality for printing! I used to export twice-one full resolution set and one for web. Now I export once, I can share all the images on the web, they upload fast to my client’s gallery and they can print them at the same quality as high resolution!
Go to https://analytics.google.com you will need to add your domain name and they will give you a piece of code to add onto your site so they can track who is visiting your site. What you measure, will improve! I use Google analytics to see the different sources that bring me the most traffic. Organic Search = SEO!
You also want to sign up for a Google Webmaster account so you can track the keywords you are ranking for and how many clicks they are getting. https://google.com/webmasters
Clicks means they clicked on my search listing
Impression means someone saw my listing in their search result
CTR means “click through rate” which is clicks divided by impressions so how many people saw my ad actually clicked on it.
Average position means the spot in the search results that my site was listed. You want to be in the top 3-10 to get any traction.
Don’t delete pages or post if at all possible! But if you must, you need to forward that URL somewhere otherwise it is going to show a dead page and you are losing that traffic. Say for example you blog a family session, that blog post gets shared by friends and family on Facebook and maybe one of their cousins blogs it. As time goes on you are getting visitors checking out that post coming to your site. If you delete it because you became a wedding photographer, now this visitors are going nowhere when they still could have used your services in the future. So you want to forward that page to one that is relevant maybe a family wedding photo blog post.
Also update your “404 page” which is the page that shows when the link isn’t working. Here is mine-
You could type in any random keyword after my domain and it will show it.
I could go on for hours and hours about blogging tactics, but for the purposes of SEO this is what you need to know. In your wordpress.org site, go to plugins<add new< SEO by Yoast and install it then activate it. Now when you go to write a blog post, you will see the Yoast SEO tips underneath. It will show you what your title and description look like. It will tell you if the keyword was added in your post enough. It will tell you if the post is easy to read and so much more!
For your topic, you want to share information that you are an expert on that would help your client. You don’t want to publish post after post about “Top Utah Wedding Photographer”. You need to mix in your client work with personal blog posts (why you do what you do, who you are, how you got into business) and info posts your clients would be searching for like what to wear, how to plan their photos, how to print their photos, vendors they may need, etc. The more shareable the post is, the better your SEO will be on it, what I call Google Juice!
You’ll want to keep the post around 300 words. I am typically way too in-depth, but that is better than not enough. Have your keyword you are going after in the title, first paragraph, and in one of the paragraph headers. Then end with a call to action like “leave a comment with your thoughts” or “If you still need a wedding photographer, click here to go to my contact form” or “If you liked this blog, check out this blog post too”. That way you can make the most out of your traffic coming to your site!
If you have any other tips you want to share or questions/comments about this post, please comment below 🙂