This week, we’re excited to feature some amazing tips about SEO for photographers with a real-life expert, Catalina from SEO is FUN. Known in the photography industry first as a badass photographer, travelling around the world with her amazing talents, Catalina now owns several businesses and has ideas for more. Seriously – she’s cool! Jumping in with some awesome content for photographers, read on about why SEO is so important to have in your creative business’s marketing structure.
Why is it important to invest in SEO as a photographer?
SEO, verse social media, is a worthwhile investment in the long term. We have all seen social media apps come and go. I remember MySpace and my carefully chosen top 8. Unfortunately, social media apps do come and go and you have no ownership over the work you put into them. Most likely all the likes and follower count won’t transfer over. But search engines aren’t going anywhere any time soon. And most likely if you rank well on one, you rank well on the others and the ones to come since they will follow similar algorithms to determine rankings. Taking steps to get your website and blog posts to rank now is one of the best things you can do for your business.
I am so thankful I quite randomly became obsessed with SEO early in the game. At this point I receive 2-10 inquiries each day. Yep, you read that right. Every day. I received 3 while in the process of writing this article today. The sooner you get started on it, the better as it does take time to learn and to implement well. But once it is implemented and you start ranking it will work on its own to bring in consistent business. Most social media apps you need to nearly constantly be putting out content to grow. SEO is much more about quality over quantity. A well targeted, quality page or blog post even just once a month will take you so far. That sounds much more my speed. Posting to socials every single day seems really exhausting to this introvert. And that’s another great thing about SEO: the freedom to step away from the apps when we need to, or just want to, without fearing the loss of business.
Isn’t SEO super hard and complicated?
No! It really isn’t. If you have a website and are creating blog posts, you are already doing 80% of the work. There are more technical aspects for sure but so much of SEO is very easy to understand. When I teach, I focus first on actually explaining the history of search engines, why they do what they do, and what connects a search engine to our website before I even talk about what to put in titles or how to do alt text. I believe understanding the “why” first is imperative to understanding the “how” and actually makes the “how” so, so much easier. I think every photographer and creative can absolutely learn SEO and succeed at it. You don’t have to be a techy person. Truly.
This was my passion behind creating the SEO is FUN brand and online courses. I purposely made everything fun, bright, and approachable since I found so much SEO education out there to be stark, bland, and confusing. I created the education I wish I had access to when I first started. It would have saved me years of figuring all this stuff out on my own.
8 SEO Tips Photographers Need to Know
#1. Page 1 rankings should not be the only goal.
You want to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. How do they behave? What are they searching for? What potential problems do they need solved? These questions are what will lead you to developing what keywords or keyphrases you should be targeting with your content. You can get Page 1 rankings for all sorts of different phrases, but it is wasted efforts if they aren’t phrases your potential customers are actually searching.
#2. Make sure to include your target keywords in your title, meta description, and body text.
Creating a blog post is a lot like writing a book. We know every book has a title, sub-title/description, and lots of text. Your blog posts are no different. Make sure your blog post title, meta description, and body text is filled out and contains the target keyword phrase you are targeting. Extra tip: make sure your keyword phrase is mentioned within the first paragraph of your body text and a few more times throughout the text.
#3. Write for people, not for search engines.
While you should of course mention your keyword phrases in your content, this should happen naturally since what you are targeting is the topic of the article. You shouldn’t just copy and paste your keywords all over in a spammy way. If you read your content and it looks spammy to you, then it probably will to Google. And Google hates spammy content. Focus first on writing great content potential customers will love while also keeping in mind to work in the keywords you are targeting.
#4. Consider using titles that stand out.
We have all most likely used Google to search for something. We type in our search phrase, hit enter, and the first thing we see is the Page 1 search results. But take a pause for a second and think about what first draws your eye. Most of us naturally skip right passed the ads without even realizing it. Certain words or phrases in the links we see may draw our attention more than others. I say this to point out that there is an almost instant review our brain does of the results we see and in a split second. There are links on the first page we skip over and others that grab our attention. Not only do you want your content on page 1, you also don’t want it to fall into the skipped over category. So how do we grab the attention of a searcher quickly? By being creative about how we look on the page 1 search results. The title is what pulls into the SERPs. So your blog post title is what users see. So how can you make your title more eye-catching and appealing so that searchers eyes are drawn to it first? Get creative with your titles and see if you can up your click throughs and conversions.
#5. Each blog post or piece of contact should really only target 1-2 keyword phrases.
Stop keyword stuffing. It doesn’t work, and it hasn’t worked for several years now. Let’s says the topic of your blog post is about an “Intimate Wedding in Yosemite”. Then that is really the only thing it should be targeting, meaning the titles, descriptions, body text, etc should really only be talking about that topic. It doesn’t help to add additional keywords like “Intimate Wedding in Yosemite Adventurous California Wedding and Elopement Photographer”. See how I tried to attach a bunch of other keywords? This just wont be helpful. And on that note…
#6. You are definitely using tags wrong and you need to fix it.
OK, maybe some people out there are using them correctly, but almost every photographer blog I see is using them very, very incorrectly. And this could actually be effecting your SEO negatively. Tags on your blog posts are NOT like hashtags on Instagram. Hashtags on Instagram can be sort of used in abundance and don’t need to relate to each other. Tags on your blog posts are more like sub-categories. Your categories are most like things like “wedding”, “engagement”, “elopement”, etc. You may have 4-7 categories like this. Tags are your sub-categories and should only be used if they have a specific organizational purpose. Do you have an organization purpose for your tags? Are you using a sort of more advanced SEO tactic that involves editing your tags pages carefully so that they target and rank? Are your answers no? Then stop using tags. Or use them very sparingly and with intention. Are you thinking right now: “uh oh, I use like 50 tags on every blog post”. Its OK, you’re not alone, but go clean them up. Delete all the ones that do not have a specific purpose. Or you can also opt to have Google not index your tag pages.
#7. Getting backlinks should be at the top of your priority list.
When you buy a new URL and create a website, Google doesn’t trust you. You could be a spam site or collect user information and sell it, or fall into one of another dozen shady website practices. So Google wants to take time to figure you out and check if you are legit. Why would it put a website on the first page that is up to shady stuff? Backlinks are one of the best ways to let Google know you are a worthwhile website that can be trusted. It knows getting other trusted websites to link to yours is tough. Green Wedding Shoes or Junebug Weddings isn’t just going to feature you, and thus give a backlink, unless you show them some pretty amazing content worth featuring. So while getting featured may not directly send bookings your way, it does give you a solid backlink that boosts your credibility in Google’s eyes, which in terms will boost your chances at ranking.
#8. Real hustlers are the only people who will win at SEO.
Alright, I’m going to bring the hammer down a bit here. If you aren’t willing to put in work, you won’t succeed at SEO. If you make excuses or give up, you won’t succeed at SEO. If you are looking for magic answers where you don’t have to actually try, you won’t succeed at SEO. I have taught this topic now to literally hundreds of photographers and there is a very specific approach style of those who end up succeeding. They are hungry. They are determined. They set side aside time every single week to work on their website, get featured, create targeted blog posts, etc, etc. And I start seeing them everywhere when I’m doing my own keyword research. But honestly, this just applies to success in business in general. No one is going to give you a magic answer that just leads to your success in business. Every person you see as a success got there because they put the pedal to the metal. They took risks, they put themselves out there, and they got it done. No excuses. Real work. Now I’m not condoning workaholism, of course. That’s no way to live. But I think it can be tough for many small business owners to intentionally put time aside to work on the real things that will lead to our business success. I know I often get sucked into emails or scrolling apps or bouncing between tasks while not really getting anything of substance actually done. So I would simply challenge you: if you want success at SEO, simply set aside 1-2 hours this week to get a game plan in place. Don’t know SEO? Find some education and set a goal to start it in the next week. Know SEO pretty well? Take an hour to read an SEO article to brush up on your skills or create an outline of ideas of new keywords to target. You just have to set aside the time and go for it if you want it.
Ready to get started with SEO and want a next step? I’m incredibly passionate about helping small businesses learn SEO easily, taking out all the guess work so you can finally get ranking for the long term. You can check out my course offerings here. I also offer lots of free education and tips on the SEO is FUN Instagram and the newsletter.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!
I can’t wait to see where you go with SEO!