You worked years to master your photography and are finally completely satisfied with the photos you make. People love your style and all your customer reviews are great. However, you still don’t have as many photoshoots as you’d like. How do you take it to the next level? How do you reach more customers and tap into the bigger market?
We have an answer. It’s easy and short: Google. Do you know how many people are looking for wedding photographer in search engines in the US? 10,000 people a month. It means that 10,000 people a month can visit your website and book your services.
In order to improve your site’s positions, you have to take care of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If you optimize your site and follow the main SEO rules you can get to the top positions on Google and thousands of people will visit your site every month. We prepared a short guide to help you improve your site’s positions and get even more new clients.
1. Important basics
Here are several important points you need to check before starting to look for the right keywords and optimizing your pages. For some people it may seem obvious, however, it wouldn’t hurt if you go through the main points once again. And if you’re new to SEO this checklist is a good place to start.
Set up Google Analytics and Search Console
Google Analytics and Search Console are free Google tools which will help you track your progress.
Google Analytics is a tool where you can see how many people visit your site, how much time they spend on your pages, where they come from and much more. It’s an essential tool which will help you estimate your site’s performance.
Google Search Console helps you find out how many people saw your page in Google search results, who clicked on your page, which devices they use and track positions.
Pay attention to your content
If you want to rank high in search engines you need to write a lot. All the text you add for your pages has to be unique – you can’t just copy useful articles from other websites. If you ignore that rule, your site won’t only lose it’s positions, but also can be banned by Google and completely disappear from search engines. You can face the same problem if you have duplicate pages or texts on your own site. So spend some time and rewrite similar texts.
Most marketers agree that long content ranks better,, so try to write relevant and useful texts on your landing pages. According to Serpiq, the average length for a page that ranks in the top 10 results on Google is 2,000 words, so try to fill your page with useful and relevant information.
Image source: Serpiq
Install Robots.txt and a sitemap
Robots.txt is a text file that defines which pages Google should scan and which to ignore. Without this file, Google can crawl private information that must be hidden. It can harm both you and your site. Hide personal URLs, admin panel, and duplicate content.
Sitemap helps search engines navigate your site. It’s a hierarchical list of pages that provides instructions to the search engines. If you have a site built on WordPress you can install a plugin that will create a sitemap and add your new pages to it to get them indexed.
Start writing a blog
If you publish blog posts, you create relevant content for your audience. Your site grows consistently, your pages rank for more keywords and you get more traffic.
2. SEO is all about keywords
Choosing the wrong keywords can cost you time, money, and results. Keywords are phrases that people type in to Google to find you. Sometimes after editing only a couple of keywords, you can already double your traffic.
What keywords should I rank for?
Ask yourself several questions:
In what industry niche do I work? (photography, wedding photography, fine art, stock photography)
How do people look for such and such services in my area? (wedding photographer Arizona, family portraits Newcastle, boudoir photographer price, Iceland photography tour)
Services to find keywords
You can also use online services to look for keywords. Some of them, suggest keywords related to your topics, other ones also provide a number of searches per month and keyword difficulty. There is a nice article on Hubspot about these tools with their prices and the main functions. We use Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs.
What you can check in Ahrefs:
- Search volume (how many people are looking for this keyword a month);
- Keyword difficulty (defines how hard to get to the top results);
Remember that it’s very hard to rank on Google for general keywords like “photography”. You will compete with millions of other sites and it’s almost impossible to rank for the top results – keyword difficulty will be very high. Choose several long-tail keywords (for example wedding photography New York) and add them to your site. The easiest way to find a long-tail keyword is: your industry + location. However, you can think of the other good ones as well.
You can use online services – Semrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and other ones to check keyword difficulty. Below you can see an overview of the keyword “wedding photography”.
The search volume is huge – 20,000 searches a month, however, keyword difficulty is very high as well – 43. We recommend you choose keyword difficulty less than 20, especially if you have a new site. If you choose a keyword with 200 searches a month and a low difficulty, it would bring you much more visitors than a general keyword with 20,000 searches a month and high competition.
Create a keyword plan
You need to find proper keywords for each page of your site whether it’s your landing page, the latest article or a gallery. And it’s not surprising as you can get more traffic. In order to organize it, create a spreadsheet in Google Docs, add a page name and keyword ideas to each page.
3. Optimize your pages
Choosing the right keywords is only the beginning. You need to add them to the different elements of your pages.
You need to include your main keyword to:
- H1 headline;
If you don’t include your keywords to the text Google won’t understand what your page is about. It’s even better to add synonyms, Google can recognize them and try not to overspam your page. Install WordPress SEO plugins, they will help you remember about keywords and where to place them.
Don’t forget about content length. Try to describe everything in details, thinks of all of the questions people may have. The longer your text is, the better.
Compress your images
Pay a lot of attention to the images you use. Add your keywords to the alt tags and descriptions. If you don’t know what to write, just describe in several words what the image is about. Never forget to compress your images – the loading speed of your site also influences its positions. Your goal is adding images that are less than 500 kb.
Links from external sources to your site is one of the most important ranking factors. Google bot crawls millions of sites every day and evaluates every link. Below you can find a diagram of the main Google ranking factors. As we can see, almost 40% of the main Google ranking factors are external links, their anchor text, and the strength of their domains.
The more sites on the web mention your site and link to it, the better. However, Google also estimates the quality of these sites (domain authority). Some of them refer to trustworthy, some of them not.
How to find out that the site is trustworthy:
- they don’t republish articles from other sources;
- no clickbait ads, not so many external links;
- no mentions of gambling and adult content;
- high volumes of traffic. You can check the traffic of websites with free browser plugins, for example, SEOquake.
How to build high-quality links
- Collaborate with local businesses and influencers. Provide them a free photoshoot and ask them to mention you on their sites.
- Partner with blogs and designers. You may offer them photos for their designs.
- Write guest posts and photography tutorials for popular blogs. Every week we publish interviews with photographers and write about their projects. We always introduce them and place a link to their sites.
Following these rules, you can improve your site’s positions and get new website visitors who are really interested in your services. At the beginning, it may seem a bit overwhelming, but after you take the first steps and see the first results, you’ll find out that it’s a very effective and easy way to get new clients.
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