SEO - FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Many photographers struggle with SEO to get their websites and blogs ranked well in online searches. Luckily, with just a little bit of work, you can easily change that! We asked Robin Reece from R2 studio to give us some insight & tips in good SEO for photographers.
QUICK SEO GUIDE
by Robin Reece of The R2 Studio
1. Think like the client.
Who are you SEOing for? What words and phrases will they be using? Try to get away from using words and phrases that are created for and by photographers.
Example: “Lifestyle Photographer” what does that even mean? If you want your clients to find you as a “Family Photographer” they may very well use “Family Photographer” over the phrase “Lifestyle Photographer”, which was created by photographers.
2. Think like GOOGLE.
Google does not have eyes so it can't see your awesome photos, unfortunately. So, the more you can describe what your page/post/site is about, the better Google can categorize it for your future clients to find. When it comes to your photos, feel free to describe them as much as possible within the “Alternative” text and “Title” section(s).
CREATING THE CONTENT
There are three main areas to really focus on when creating your content. But before you create anything you need to think of a reoccurring phrase that will dominate your post/page. For this example, I have decided to use the phrase “boudoir session”.
I like to use a phrase that is easy to add on to when writing. If my phrase is too specific then it will tend to sound really overdone in the text content of my post/page. For this example the phrase “boudoir session” can easily be transformed into phrases like “sexy boudoir session” or “erotic boudoir session” or “boudoir session in Flagstaff” etc.
The phrase that you come up with should be prominent in the post/page title, URL, and body (text content). I use the YOAST plugin in Wordpress to help me keep track of my phrase. You can see in my screenshot where I have:
1. Specified my phrase (focus keyword)
2. Included that phrase in the beginning of post/page title
3. Included that phrase in my URL/Permalink/Slug
4. Included that phrase in the first sentence of my text content/page description
TITLE: The focus keyword/phrase works best for SEO when it is at the beginning of the title. As long as your title isn't too long, you can also use other SEO driven phrases here. I included “boudoir photographer” and also the name of the city I live in as well as my studio name. These are all great ideas!
URL: The URL/permalink/slug is the unique web address to your post/page. It's important to include your phrase here.
DESCRIPTION: Some sites will often pull the first couple of sentences from your body of text. Other site platforms let you specify this content in some other window. In either case, I always recommend making sure the first sentence of your content includes your phrase. If you are able to specify a description then it's super easy to just copy and paste that sentence into that description box.
BODY OF CONTENT
When using YOAST, it tells you that you should have close to 300 words in your body of text. A good rule of thumb is that, for every 300 words your key word/phrase should make an appearance at least 3 times (3-5 is plenty). You will see in my screenshot that I was able to include my keyword/phrase while also including extra phrases like “boudoir photographers in Flagstaff”. I did that because it believe that phrase is a phrase that my potential client might actually search GOOGLE for! Definitely not a bad idea to do that whenever possible. I give you permission to SEO for multiple phrases within the same post/page if the opportunity presents itself!
I also used other add on's to my phrase that transformed it from “boudoir session” to “boudoir session in Flagstaff”. Again, this is why I suggest coming up with a phrase that isn't overly specific so that you can easily transform it based on the specifics of your session or the particular page content that you're working with.
NOTE: Try to refrain from using the same keyword/phrase on other pages if you can. Google likes to see unique keywords as much as possible so that each particular page is super duper relevant and not on repeat.
SEO for IMAGES
Remember, Google or any other browser can't SEE your photos. It only can read. Whatever it reads within the behind the scenes coding that makes up your post/page is what it will determine that your content is about. For this reason it is CRUCIAL that you place some text content within the “coding” of your photos. This function works differently on different website platforms. You may have to dig a little bit within the image options to find a place for the image title or alternative text.
In Wordpress, specifically, you can insert photos into your post/page. Once they are in there you can click on the photo to edit it. It's important that you include the keyword/phrase in both the alternative text and the image title fields if you have them.
NOTE: You only want to do this on a handful of your BEST photos from the session if you're doing a blog post. A web page might have less photos to work with depending on its content. Ultimately, you only want about 5 photos within a post/page to contain the same keyword/phrase. When you're choosing those 5 photos you should consider what you want Google to display. Do a search in Google (using the phrase you're currently using in your post/page) to see what your competition is and what photos might stand out when someone searches for the same keyword/phrase you're using in your content. Decide what 5 photos will stand out most and work on those. If you have left over photos in your post/page you can always SEO those using another phrase that you think might be relevant.
Robin is one of the owners and creative masterminds behind the The R2 Studio, a hip photo duo right in the heart of Downtown Flagstaff, AZ. Robin began her career as a web designer before moving into the world of photography. With her background in web design, fine art, and photography, she has helped many organizations and photographers around the country get their websites found on Google! She also teaches one on one how to take a website from the black hole of cyberspace to the first 3 pages.
Together, Robin and her wife, Renee, (this is where the R2 comes from) specialize in creating unique portraits for families, couples, high school seniors, and women seeking to find empowerment through their CRAVE Intimate Portraiture branch. The R2 Studio is a full service studio that has built their business around creating amazing, archival quality artwork for their clients so that their stories can be told to generations years and years from now.