Many photographers and small business owners feel a sense of confusion when it comes to their SEO. They’ve heard of it and know it’s essential, yet it’s still kind of this nebulous idea that they can’t really put their finger on. Today, we’ll let you in on some insider knowledge directly from our resident SEO expert. You’ll learn what SEO is and why it is important for photographers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website so it will show up higher on a search engine query. Let’s be honest, the last time you searched something online, how many pages of results did you go through? If you went beyond the second page, you’re more dedicated than most users. Most people choose the page they want to go to by the second page or perform another search to get other results that more accurately match their query.
By ranking higher on the results page, you are more likely to increase your website traffic and improve the quality of visitors to your page. Basically, optimizing your website helps you show up near the top of the search results list when your ideal client asks Alexa for photography services in your area.
When someone types (or speaks) their search query, the Google spiders (or website crawlers) will go out and scan every website on the web and return the results that best match the search based on hundreds of factors (the algorithm). Yet, it wasn’t always that way.
Maybe we’re aging ourselves, but for a while, the first 4-5 pages of Google search results were nothing but spam, and you had to skip them to get to the actual results that were worth anything. It was absolutely maddening and a waste of time. Does anyone remember those days? No. Just us? Great.
So why did that happen? Way back when Google started, their suggested results were primarily based on the number of times the searched query (a.k.a. “keyword) showed up on a website. So, for example, if someone wanted their Utah photography business to show up when someone searched for “Utah photographer,” the goal was to say “Utah photographer” more times than the competition to capture that top spot in the suggestions list.
As you can imagine, spammers caught on to this quickly and soon, every other word on their website would be “Utah photographer,” whether that’s what they were selling or not (most of the time, it wasn’t).
Luckily, Google and other search engines caught on to their scheme and began adding many layers to their criteria to test the quality of their web search results. They seem to have narrowed it down pretty well because, as a result, they do a pretty accurate job of suggesting high-quality search results when asked. One of the first algorithm changes to be added? Saying a keyword too often. Now, repeating a keyword too often can get you dinged for “overstuffing” and sent to the back of the line with the rest of the spammers.
Being one of the pioneers of internet searches, Google is thought to have the most strict algorithm in determining whether or not a website is worthy of high rankings. So what is the secret? How do you rank at the top?
They’ll never tell.
To prevent spammers from hacking their way to the top again (although they will never stop trying), Google won’t release all of the details of their algorithms. However, we do know that the Google spiders consider more than 600 different areas on your website before determining where in the line you rank. Some of the things that make an impact:
The fact that you’re reading this article puts you ahead of at least half of your photography competition. You know SEO is important, and you’re ready to optimize your site. If you even do a handful of steps to improve your SEO, and do them well, your website will see an improvement.
Please note: SEO is a long-term game. If you take steps now, you can expect to reap the benefits in 3-months, and the rewards will begin to snowball.
Things you can do:
SEO does require a little bit of effort and a good strategy, but it works well if you’re using your site to find new clients. Some photographers use their photography website solely as a resume and not necessarily to find new clients. If you’re someone who isn’t trying to drum up more business, then an SEO strategy may not be at the top of your to-do list. However, this puts the effort of marketing squarely on your shoulders. Without SEO, the only people who see your website are the people you find and send there, either through business cards, word of mouth, social media, etc. Without SEO, you have to put in the leg work to help your clients find your site.
With SEO, your website works for you. When your dream client searches for your services, their chosen browser will return your website directly to them. This happens even on your nights, weekends, holidays, family game nights, vacation and 24/7 — whenever the inspiration strikes your client.
Have you ever clicked on a website suggested in the Google search results, and it wasn’t what you were looking for? What did you do? You hit the “back” button, right?
This is called a “bounce back.” It is one of the algorithms that Google and all other search engines track. A “bounce back” indicates that this website did not offer the information requested in the search. As a result, Google will determine that your website does not match that search after all (despite your keywords saying so). Ultimately, with enough bounces, your position will fall in the rankings.
Without the right keywords, your website not only won’t show up where you want but, what’s worse, it could be showing up on unintended searches. When this happens, you either attract traffic that is not your ideal market or your site gets marked as spam, thanks to the high bounce rate. For example, we once had a client who came to us ranking for a local arcade and couldn’t find out why. It turns out, they shared a blog (that was extremely popular) of an arcade photoshoot, and all of the pictures said the arcade name, and it was also mentioned in the blog. If anyone actually clicked on their website after searching for the arcade and they weren’t looking for a photographer at all, the site would have gotten bounce backs.
What you say on your website matters. Good or bad, the words you use will likely put you somewhere on the search results. Make sure you show up when it matters most. The right keywords will help you consistently show up on the searches performed by your dream clients.
Another vital factor to consider is your website copy. Copy is the text/words on a website. Copywriting is the art of writing persuasive marketing content to improve brand awareness and encourage a target market to take action — all while sounding like you. In addition, a good copywriter will encourage the visitors to your site to keep reading, pulling them deeper into your site, improving your standing as an “authority” in their search query and building client trust in your abilities.
An SEO copywriter takes this a step further. They will craft strategic and captivating SEO titles and meta descriptions (these are the “blurbs” that show up under the title on the search results page). A helpful meta description includes your keywords, shares your business message, encourages traffic and stays within the allotted character count. The clearer the meta description, the more clicks you’ll get to your site.
At Avenlee, you’ll get the best of both worlds. Our SEO copywriters will not only help you show up in search results by juggling all of the SEO nuances, but they’ll also help you convey your message authentically while persuading your website viewers to take action.
Bringing clients to your door using SEO can be overwhelming and time-consuming for many small business owners. Here at Avenlee Collective, we pride ourselves on delivering SEO-optimized websites that help you take your business to the next level. We know you’re busy with photoshoots and editing and don’t have the time or the mental bandwidth to mess with your website. We want to help you focus on doing what you love by doing what we love! Set up a free consultation with our SEO copywriters and custom website designers today to discuss your goals.
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