Photographers are usually best at creating images. Putting together a website of images and optimizing it for search engines? Not necessarily our strong suit. Which is why we have put together this list of SEO tips for photographers.
Because what good is an amazing website if no one ever sees it? If your site is not optimized properly, potential clients might not find it via a search engine. Or, even if they do click on a link to your site, they might not stick around if it takes forever to load.
9 Top SEO Tips for Photographers
How you rank in search results depends on a variety of factors. Things like keywords, how user and mobile friendly your website is, the speed with which your site loads, and many other criteria have a big impact on where you end up on a search engine’s list.
The higher you rank, the more likely you will be seen by new potential clients!Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 3)
Use the proper keywords.
Keywords are extremely important to your website ranking. But you have to be careful about what keywords you choose. Here are a couple of things you should keep in mind:
- be sure to use keywords that are relevant to YOUR business, services, and potential clients. You don’t want to bring people to your website who have no interest in your services.
- do not over use keywords. Using the same keywords over and over again on multiple pages can actually HURT your search engine ranking.
- your content is just as important as the keywords, and should fulfill the user’s search intent. People want to find what they are looking for and a click bait title followed by irrelevant content can harm your SEO ranking.
I have had a problem with this on my wedding photography website where I discussed the difference between editing and retouching in a blog post to explain the concepts to potential wedding clients. Instead, the post hit the first page of Google for photographers looking to learn how to do retouching. The content matches the keywords I used, but somehow the algorithm has put it into a completely different category.
Recommendation: If you’re using a WordPress website, use the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin will help analyze your content and tell you whether your post or page is optimized for readability and search engines.
Get Better Hosting
When I started out designing my first website for my photography business, I thought all web hosting services were the same. And that’s why I stayed with the same crappy host for far too long.
The site was consistently crashing. It took forever to load, and the customer services was terrible. Not only was it a headache to deal with, but it was also hurting my SEO ranking.
The speed and security of your web host impact how search engines will rank your website AND how customers will experience your page.
The general rule of thumb is that if a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, customers will leave. How many potential customers might you be losing to a slow loading website?
Also, Google (and other search engines) are decreasing the ranking of web pages that do not offer a secure connection. So look for a web host that offers a combination of speed and security.
Recommendation: I highly recommend Siteground. Since switching to Siteground a few years ago, the speed of my website has dramatically increased. They also offer free HTTPS certificate and the customer service is outstanding. I used to have to wait days for my old host to fix problems. Now most of my issues have been fixed in just a couple hours. Click here to see more about what Siteground has to offer.
Tag and Name Your Photos Properly
As a photographer, you use a lot of images on your website. What you name your images makes a big deal when it comes to search engines. The name of the photo tells the search engine how to categorize your images.
For example, if you just leave your client’s names as the title of the image file, search engines will start to categorize the image BY YOUR CLIENT’S NAME!
And that DOES NOT help potential clients find you. Name your image according to the sorts of keywords you want to be targeting for your business.
Also make sure that you are creating the proper ALT tags for your images.
Search engines read the ALT tags on your images and not only uses them to rank your page overall, but they are basically another set of keywords for your images if a client does an image search.
I know it may not seem sexy, but blogging is one of the most important things to do for your SEO. While a social media post has a lifespan of about 24 hours, a blog post indexed by a search engine has a life of over 700 days!!!
That’s almost two years! While more people might be searching social media sites for photographers to hire, the majority of people hit up search engines like Google first.
The frequency with which you blog also helps your ranking. Search engines like to see that you’re blogging REGULARLY. That doesn’t mean you post eight times to your blog one week then disappear for two months at a time. It means posting something at least a couple times a month.
And you don’t always have to produce long blog posts. While posts of 300 words or more help increase your ranking, making sure to post something regularly is better than letting your blog go to long without any new content.
Repurpose Old Blog Posts
Have an old blog post that could easily be updated with new information? Give it a makeover.
Search engines love to see updated content too! So look over the posts you already have and see what you can do to put a new spin on an old entry.
Optimize Your Images
If you’re uploading giant photos to your website, you can be seriously impacting your website loading speed, and, also, your SEO.
Be sure to optimize your images both for size (pixel dimensions) and compression (the ‘quality’ of the image). For most web use, you will not need very large images.
Also, your site visitors are not going to stick around if it takes a long time for each of your images to load, especially when it comes to your portfolio.
Make sure you are choosing web appropriate compression when you export or use a service like JPEGmini.
Speaking of your portfolio…
Cull Your Portfolio Images
Many photographers, especially those just starting out, think that they need to put as many photos as possible in their online portfolio.
They think, “Hey, what have I got to lose? The more images I show, the more likely someone is going to like one of those pictures.”
That’s not what your website is supposed to be about.
You are looking to attract a particular clientele. If you try to please everyone in the world with your portfolio, you are not going to appeal to your ideal client.
It can be difficult trying to judge your own work subjectively. Or you might not have the time! If you need help culling the images in your online portfolio, or a total review of your website, I offer a variety of package to help photographers.
Have a Mobile Optimized Version of Your Site
A large number of website visitors are on mobile devices these days. Whether on phones or tablets, these visitors seek a pleasing mobile version of your site that they can easily navigate.
Search engines have taken note of this and those websites that have a mobile optimized version will rank higher than those that do not.
Test Your Website
Be sure to test your website’s speed and functionality at a site like GT Metrix. They will give you a report on your site’s performance and structure and what you can do to improve your site’s overall ranking.
Did these tips help?
What do you think of this list of SEO tips for photographers? Did you find them helpful? Let us know what you think by heading over to our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter profiles and leaving a comment.
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