As a photographer, it is important to ensure that as many people see your website as possible. To do this you need to employ effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics. These efforts will help the search engines find the content on your site that is relevant to user searches. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the SEO for Photographers tips and strategies that you can use to improve your photography website and attract more traffic.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
If you are not familiar with how SEO works, don’t worry. SEO, or search engine optimization, is simply the process of optimizing your website and blog posts so that they appear higher in search engine results pages.
The basics – when someone performs a search using Google, Yahoo! or Bing, they are presented with a list of websites that match their search query. People searching the internet for information rarely look beyond the first page of the search engine results. So the goal of proper post or page SEO is to get your site ranking in the top 10 results.
Before we dive into the tips and strategies for SEO for Photographers, let’s first take a quick look at what search engine optimization is and how search engines use your relevant keywords to display results and affect page ranking.
So this is the fundamental reason you apply SEO principles to your website. If your site does not appear on the first page of the results, then it won’t attract clicks. You need to make sure that it appears at the top of that search results list so people can find it easily and quickly.
How does SEO Work?
Search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing use complex algorithms to determine which websites should appear at the top of their search results pages (SERPs). These algorithms consider many factors when determining a website’s ranking in a search engine’s results pages. These factors can include content relevancy, the number of links pointing back to the website from other sites (known as “backlinks”), website age, and more.
These algorithms are proprietary to each search engine company, so there’s no one outside of those companies that can know exactly how they work. However, the hive mind of the internet has some pretty good guesses about the inner workings of search engines. So the tactics and suggestions are more along the lines of “Best Practices” rather than sure things.
That being said, there are several things that you can easily do to improve your SEO and help your website rank higher on search engine results pages. Let’s dig in and start working on implementing these tactics.
How can I improve my website’s SEO?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of SEO let’s take a look at some specific strategies for SEO tips for photographers. We’ll go through each section in detail below:
1 – Optimize your Website Speed
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that your website loads quickly. People will get impatient and leave before seeing your website if it takes more than a few seconds to display. Google’s algorithm is aware of this and will reward faster loading sites in their search results.
2 – Optimize your Website for Mobile Devices
Since a growing number of people access the internet through their smartphones and tablets. So you need to make sure that your website is optimized for those devices. Again, Google rewards mobile-friendly sites in the search results.
3 – Include keywords in your website content
Make sure to include keywords or keyphrases in the Title, Headings, and text of your home page and blog posts. This will help the search algorithms know what your site is about. Adding keywords is one of the most important actions you can take to improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages.
4 – Include a Meta Description on Posts and Pages
It’s important to include a meta description in your site’s HTML. It’s a tag in HTML that summarizes the content of a page. Search engines display it in search results so that users can see a quick description of the page. Since users make choices based on this text, it’s a critical aspect of SEO.
In WordPress, you can access the meta description using a plugin like the free version Yoast SEO. If you use Squarespace, it’s built into the system.
5 – Create Backlinks to your Site.
Write guest posts on other relevant websites. The owners of those sites will often allow you to put a link back to your site as part of the post. Search engines will see these links and start seeing your site as an authority.
6 – Submit your Website to Online Directories
Submitting your website to online directories will help increase the number of backlinks pointing to your website. While these links won’t count for much they do still improve your site’s ranking in search engine results pages.
7 – Post Regularly on Social Media Platforms
Posting on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter drives more traffic back to your website. Be sure that you include a link to your website or blog post so people can easily find it.
What is an SEO Keyword?
An SEO keyword is a word or phrase that you target to rank your website in search engine results pages. When someone performs a search on Google, Yahoo! or Bing, the search engines will return websites that match the keywords entered into the search query. It’s important for SEO to try to match the search terms people are using with the content on your page.
What are Some SEO Keyword Tips for Photographers?
Using keywords, search engines like Google use SEO to figure out what sites are about and link them to search terms that people use when they’re looking for something online.
For example, if you are a photographer specializing in headshot photography, you would want to target the keyword “headshot photography” as one of your SEO keywords. This way, when someone searches for information on headshot photography, your website will appear on the search results pages.
Another example targeting a more local SEO, if your business offers headshot portraits within New York City clients, you would target a keyword of “headshot photography New York City.” This way, your site would show up in the Google search results when someone searches for headshot photography in New York City.
By optimizing your site’s SEO, you are more likely to appear higher on that list of search results. Those results direct people interested in your services to visit your website instead of someone else’s.
Don’t Target Simple Keywords
When you start to think about keywords for your business, try to stay away from the obvious ones – headshots, senior portraits, infant photos. These are well-known keywords and are very competitive. I guarantee that other, more established businesses have the SEO rankings for these locked up.
You should use what is known as long-tail keywords. These are typically 4 or more words that someone is searching specifically for. Since the search is specific, there will be fewer searches for long-tail keywords. However, since the goal of SEO is to get your site on the first search result page (SERP), these will be more effective.
Some examples of long-tail keywords are –
Using long-tail keywords allows you better target your area of expertise (aka nitch) and attract the people who are looking for the services you provide.
What Keywords Should I Use?
The best place to start is to answer one or both of these questions –
Answer in as few words as possible. Imagine you are talking to someone you just met in an elevator who knows nothing about you or what you do.
Take just the part of the answer that relates to the business activity (i.e. “pet portraits”) and you created your basic keyword. Once you have it, head over to one of the keyword planners like Google Adwords or Moz Keyword Explorer. Enter your keyword and the planners will generate lists of keywords related to your main one. This list will help guide you to in creating additional keywords for your site,
Can I Do SEO on My Own?
SEO strategy is a skill that can be learned over time by anyone. It will take a bit of work, but there are many online resources and books to help you learn more about SEO and how to use it for your website.
The first step in improving the SEO on your photography site is determining which keywords or phrases users might enter into Bing or Google search engine when they need information about your company’s specific line of services or products.
The good news is that you can do some simple things on your own to improve how well your site ranks in search engines. Here are the basic tips (I know that some are repeated from above, but they are important so I’m just reinforcing the concepts) –
SEO isn’t a one-time task—it’s something that requires ongoing effort. Try to stay up-to-date with SEO best practices and make sure you’re using them on your website so it remains relevant in Google searches.
How to Check your Website’s SEO
External Site Analysis
The best way to check the SEO for your website is by using a tool like Google Search Console. This free resource from Google provides information about how well your site ranks in search engines and tips on improving your ranking.
Another great option for checking your website’s SEO health is Moz. Moz has a free tool that gives you insights into how well your site ranks on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and more. Moz also offers a paid plan if you want more advanced features like keyword research or link-building tools to help improve your SEO score even more.
On Site Tools
(Note – My sites are all based on WordPress, so this information is based on that platform. Other platforms will offer similar tools)
Another good way to check and perfect the SEO on your WordPress website is to add an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO to help you optimize your blog post for search engines.
The Yoast plugin is a great SEO guide and will prompt you to correctly set the post’s meta description and page title based on the keyword you have chosen for the blog post. It also tests for the correct number of:
In addition to SEO analysis, the Yoast plugin will also check the readability of the content and analyze the blog post based on:
What are Good SEO Keywords for Photographers?
When choosing SEO keywords for photography, it’s necessary to think about what people might be looking for when using a search engine. As discussed above, stay away from simple keywords and try to make sure you are using long-tail keyword terms.
For example, if someone wants to find wedding photographers in New York City, they are likely to enter “wedding photographers NYC” in their browser as the keyword or phrase. So it’s necessary to think of what keyword terms someone interested in your business will use in a search. This is called search intent.
Search intent SEO keywords for photography might include:
Tip – Brainstorm a list of potential keywords or phrases related to the services you offer. These can be general terms or specific to the type of photography you specialize in.
Once you have a list of potential keywords, you can check their monthly search volume using a tool like MOZ Keyword Planner or AHrefs.com (Google or Bing). This will give you an idea of how many people are looking for that keyword each month.
Ideally, you want to target keywords with a high monthly search volume and low competition. This means that there aren’t many websites targeting that keyword term, making it easier for your website to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
How Do I Drive Traffic to my Photography Website?
We know that the old adage of “Once you build it, they will come” is a falsehood. Just because you’ve created a beautiful website for your business, doesn’t mean it will attract any attention from the search engines.
There are several ways to drive traffic to your photography website and keep users engaged once they arrive. These include:
1 – Improve SEO
This really is key and what this SEO guidepost is all about. It’s something you can do on your own and once you have the principles down it becomes second nature. Rember to track how well your SEO is performing using tools like Google search console. If you are using WordPress you can even install a plugin to display search console results in the admin section. This way you can monitor how your blog posts are performing.
2 – Provide a Link Back from other Websites
When you can get a link to your site from another one that is related to yours in some way, then you generate traffic from the users of that site. Some possible places are photography forums where people discuss the same topics you cover on your blog. Doing this helps drive traffic by increasing visibility among people looking specifically for those kinds of things.
3 – Write Guest Posts
Write guest posts about your work on other photography websites; this helps introduce you to new audiences while promoting the website you’re writing for.
4 – Add Social Media Buttons
Add social media buttons on every page of the website so visitors can easily share content with their friends and followers (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest). Also, include links back from those social media sites! This will help increase exposure for both you and those who follow them.
5 – Join Relevant Photography Groups
Join relevant photography groups or forums that allow you to post content in them (like on Reddit). Being active will help you show up when someone searches for your name and services offered at these locations. These results will help bring people who may not otherwise know about them directly into contact with what they need.
6 – Submit Your Site to Online Directories
Submit a link to your website to online directories specific to photographers (for example – wedding photographers can use The Knot or WeddingWire).
What about Image SEO?
Use Smaller Images
Because we use a visual medium, photographers have image-heavy sites. And those images tend to be high quality, so they have larger file sizes and take longer to download.
Therefore it’s important to perform image optimization to improve the performance of your website. Optimizing the images makes them smaller in size and reduces the number of bytes downloaded to the user’s browser.
The first step in image optimization is determining what images need optimization. One way to do this is by using an online tool like Google Webmaster Tools or Yahoo! Site Explorer. These tools will tell you how many images are being indexed by search engines and how large those images are.
Once you know which images need to be optimized, the next step is to reduce the picture’s file size. You can do this manually by adjusting the quality of the image or using a software tool like Photoshop or ImageOptim.
Use Next Generation Image Formats
WebP is a new image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Google developed WebP as a response to the increasing popularity of high-resolution displays and the need for smaller file sizes to improve page load times. It’s important to know that Google’s search tools will penalize you for not using this new image format.
The WebP format offers image quality similar to or better than JPEG but with file sizes up to 25% smaller. This makes it a good option for photographers who want to reduce the size of their images without sacrificing quality.
The problem is that not all browsers support the new WebP format, so this can cause your images not to show up in older browsers. If you have a WordPress website, the easiest way to convert your images to WebP format and serve them to supported browsers is to use a plugin such as ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
The plugin will convert your images and thumbnails from JPG, GIF, or PNG to WebP and automatically replace them in the site’s pages when the code detects a supported browser.
Include Titles and Alt Text
When adding images to your website, it’s important to include Alt Text. This is the text that’s displayed in place of an image if, for some reason, the image can’t be loaded.
The Alt Text should be a brief, accurate description of the image to help the search engines understand what the image is about. And it’s an excellent way to improve your website’s SEO, as it allows the search engines to understand your pages’ content.
The Title attribute is another way to help search engines understand your images and how they relate to the web page content. It’s a descriptive text used with links and images, and it will appear when someone hovers their mouse over the image or link on a page.
The Alt Text should describe the image in detail, while the Title attribute gives users a brief description of the image. It’s important to note that while they’re both used by search engines, the Title attribute doesn’t significantly impact SEO as the Alt Text does.
Dealing with Website Changes
If your website gets updated or you move your pages around and the URL structure changes, you will lose all the built-up SEO value. Because the algorithms have no way to know that the content they found at the new URL is the same as the old one.
For example, if your URL changes from –
The search engines will see the second one as a new page and all your SEO efforts on the original page will be lost.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to fix this. You will need to create a redirect, also known as a 301 redirect for the old URL. This tells the search engines and browsers that the page has moved to a new address.
If you have updated your site and did not get a list of all the old URLs you need to create 301 redirects for, then you can use your website analytics tool (such as Google Analytics) to generate a list of the old URLs.
There are multiple plugging for WordPress to manage redirects. I suggest looking at one called Redirection. It will automatically create 301 redirects when a page changes and allow you to manually create new redirects as needed.
Is SEO Still Relevant in 2022?
SEO is even more critical for every business today than in previous years. It’s one of the most effective ways to drive website traffic. And when it comes to photography websites, in particular, SEO can be the difference between being seen by potential clients and remaining invisible online.
SEO is one of those things that is always changing. What worked in 2018 might not work in 2022. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore SEO altogether. Some basic principles will help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you don’t pay attention to the SEO value in your content, nobody will find your website through Google or Bing. And that means if you are a wedding photographer, nobody will book a session with you.
SEO is a critical element of any successful photography business. The tips provided in this article will help you improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages, and ensure that your potential clients can find you online. However, SEO is always changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends and techniques.
In the end, SEO is a great way to make sure that your website gets more traffic and potential clients. But it’s also important to ensure that your website looks professional and has relevant content.
I hope you found these tips and strategies on SEO for Photographers interesting.
Always Remember – Content is King!
If you liked this article, then check out my other guides for more information on photography and technology.