SEO is one of those things likely to make your eyes glaze over but still many service-based businesses understand how important it is in getting your goods and services found much faster.
It's not too difficult or scary once you get the hang of it - you just need the right tools and some clever strategies, right? While these strategies pertain to photographers, just about any service-based business can apply them as well to benefit the findability of their website.
So today I'm sharing 7 simple ways to leverage both on and off-site techniques to pump up your Search Engine Optimization efforts.
What is SEO?
Simply defined, SEO or Search Engine Optimization refers to the strategies and techniques that are used to improve your site's ranking on Google.
A higher Google ranking directly relates to more website traffic and only 8.5% of people proceed to the second search page, so it's no wonder that people are concerned with this topic.
The many strategies, outlined below, are used in an attempt for Google to find their site relevant and give them a higher ranking.
Keywords - the Holy Grail of SEO
One major component to your SEO is Keywords and the first thing you should know and learn about when you optimize your photography website. You can put yourself in your client's shoes as their searching for potential photographers. You wouldn't want to attract those searching for 'wedding photographers' when you want to appeal to those interested in 'engagement photo ideas.'
Some simple keyword research will go along way in developing your long-term SEO plan. I cover how to add those keywords effectively when optimizing images below but you can get started by using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool and enter keywords you think best describe your services. Search for keywords with a medium to low competition score for the best results!
Keyword Research: The Definitive Guide
While not targeted to photographers specifically, this article will give you many creative ideas on finding effective keywords.
Claim Your City (Local Search)
Many photographers who have a physical location in a city have the added bonus with local search results.
The below features techniques on mastering local search, including techniques on local link building
Helpful Resource: Local SEO: How To Rank Your Local Business by Search Engine Land
Optimize Your Images
Many business owners and bloggers spend a lot of time creating beautiful images for their portfolio and websites, but sometimes miss out on optimizing them for their site. Here are some practices to take for maximum SEO efforts with images:
Reduce the File Size of Your Images:
For most Squarespace sites, an image width of 1500px is optimal for loading time and image quality, with a file size of less than 500kb for best results.
Name Your Images Descriptively:
Uploading the image using the generic file name straight out of the camera, such as IMG-038.jpg, is doing nothing for your SEO. Descriptive and keyword-rich file names you've picked out in your research are essential for image optimization. Remember, Google doesn't read the actual images, it reads the text associated with the graphics.
Helpful Resource: Don't Overlook Image Optimization by The Marketographer
A great guide written for photographers that covers all the main points of image optimization (with examples).
Squarespace SEO for Photographers
If we want to dive deeper we can look into specific platforms knowing the steps for SEO are often different for each. Since I use Squarespace and would recommend it to photographers looking for a simple, beautiful website without the hassle of needing to know very much code to update, here are some key benefits of Squarespace for SEO.
Each Squarespace site comes with a built-in sitemap which is an important SEO benefit for any business owner as they help Google crawl your website and understand it better.
You can utilize Sitemaps within Google Webmaster Tools (and the webmaster tools of other search engines) in order for them to properly function. It's as simple as adding /sitemap.xml for Squarespace users to add their sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools.
Search Engine Description
The search engine description is how your site appears in search engine results. Filing it out in the backend of your website means it shows up when prospects Google topics related to your niche.
Site Title Description
The site title and description help Google understand the general subject matter of your site. Moz says, "A title tag is the main text that describes an online document. Title elements have long been considered one of the most important on-page SEO elements (the most important being overall content), and appear in three key places: browsers, search engine results pages, and external websites" (source).
To add a site title to your Squarespace website go to the Home Menu and click Design > Logo & Title.
Another way to enhance your SEO as a service-based business is through the Location dialog box of your blog post settings. Simply add your location details - for instance if you're doing a post on a recent wedding you might want to include the spot of the ceremony. This information won't show up in the post but is still a good practice to get into in enhancing the overall SEO of your photography site.
Many photographers know SEO is one of the most valuable opportunities in getting more traffic to your website. It can get confusing really quickly, however. My hope is the strategies outlined above cut through some of the clutter and allow you to easily share your great content built on a foundation of guaranteed SEO strategies.
In addition to the above, you might check out the following trusted resources on SEO:
What Lesser Known SEO Tricks Do You Use ?