Search engine optimization (SEO) for your website is a critical step to getting your photos in front of new clients. For any photography website SEO campaign, there are three major steps that you need to take.
First of all, before starting on an SEO campaign for your photography website, you need to decide what you want ton be found for. Your business name is likely to be easy to optimize for — it’s probably unique, after all! However, how useful is it to be found for “My Beautiful Photography Studio?” The reality is, if someone is searching for your exact business name, then they already know about you.
What you really want is to get in front of people who don’t know who you are already. You want to get in front of people who are looking for someone who does what you do, but doesn’t necessarily know who they want to do it.
That’s where an SEO campaign comes in.
Deciding search terms for your photography website SEO campaign
Do keyword research to find who’s working in your niche. Start a mindmap of all the things that you do, that clients could find you for. If you have a lot of things that you do — that’s fine. All of these will come into play in your photography website SEO campaign.
For now, decide on what the main thing is you want to be found for. Usually, this includes the location you work in, the main kind of work you’re looking for, and then the word photographer. You can include a word about the style or niche as well. This is especially useful in large markets where there are a lot of photographers. It helps people who like your style find you quickly.
Your main SEO key phrase might be something like:
- New York family photographer
- Brisbane lifestyle wedding photographer
- Toronto portrait studio photographer
Planning your photography website SEO campaign in three steps
Now that you know what you want to be found for, you can design your SEO campaign. There are three parts: Optimizing your on-page content, creating on-site content, and creating off-site content.
Part 1 of your photography website SEO campaign: Optimize on-page content
This is the quickest and easiest part of SEO. Optimizing your on-page content should always be your first step, and all website builders (that I know of) include built-in tools to help you do this.
Find your website’s SEO tool (e.g. install Yoast on your WordPress website). Follow any overall site optimization steps it gives you (generating a site map, etc). For each page of your site, follow the prompts it gives you to optimize the page for your chosen term. It will include things like choosing the right title, including the keywords across the page, adding alt tags and captions to your photos on the page, etc.
You’ll need to optimize your homepage, contact page, portfolio page, about page, etc. Use your main SEO key phrase and a different variation of it for each separate page.
It’s also critical to use the right size images on your site to make sure it loads fast. This is a whole huge topic in itself, so I’ll just mention it here. The main thing to know is that if your images are too large, they load slowly, which causes people to bounce off your site quickly, which is bad for SEO. Keep images to the minimum needed and make sure they are optimized using a tool like EWWW Image Optimizer.
Part 2 of your SEO campaign: Create on-site content
The next part of an SEO campaign for your website is blogging strategically. Plan out a blog calendar you can stick to (like every week, two weeks or month). Each article must be optimized using the same SEO tool you used for your pages.
However, you want to choose a different SEO term for each article — don’t keep optimizing over and over for “New York wedding photographer.” You want to give clients new inroads into your work. Go back to your mindmap and use it to plan topics: Write about styles you work in, weddings you’ve photographed, locations you use, and so on. Think of each article as a doorway into your work. What is the handle that clients can grab to open that door?
Creating on-site content is a critical part of improving your site’s SEO. It keeps search engines looking at your site because it is being regularly updated. It also keeps people on your site longer, which tells the search engines that your site is important and useful.
Part 3 of your SEO campaign: Create off-site content
The final part of building your SEO is getting search engines to see and trust the authority of your site. Authority means that your site has trustworthy information that answers people’s questions. The way you build this authority is by getting backlinks to your website from other trusted sources (and then keep people on your site when they arrive — by completing Step 2!). In other words: You need to write content for other websites in your industry.
Research other photographers and blogs who would be interested in your mindmap topics. Write a personalized, thoughtful, specific, researched article pitch, asking to blog on their website. Do not spam websites asking to guest post with a generic email. It will be ignored.
Write the article, deliver it on time, and repeat! Over time, this is how you build up the authority of your website in search engines’ eyes.
A successful photography website SEO campaign is a long-term investment
Actioning these three parts is a long-term project. You can’t rush it, even if you had the time up front. It takes time for search engines to build up credibility for your site. The great thing about blogging is that articles don’t disappear into the algorithm like social media posts can. They stick around, and they keep working for you. You can refresh them year after year and keep people coming back to your site. You can rest assured it’s time well spent.
If you need help with your SEO strategy — reach out! I’d love to help you out. And while you’re working on your website, make sure you’ve avoided these common mistakes and check that you’ve updated everything on your site in this list.
Leave a Reply