Photographer's Delight | SEO Tips and Tricks

Wow, I didn't realize so many would want this info! This all began because my ranking in Google increased, and I shared my excitement with my fellow Showiteers on Facebook. They asked for the information... and voila! Here we are! So this month's Photographer's Delight is here!

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is HUGE for any business wanting to stand out on the limitless web. I don't know if my way is the right way, but it's certainly worked for me as I've done my research and gathered tips from the past year! I'm on the first page for "chesapeake boudoir photographer" and on the second page for "chesapeake wedding photographer." So something must be working, right?

One thing to note is that the stinky thing is that Google DOES "see" where you surf the web. Your ranking will unfortunately look different on every computer/web browser you use. AND it will be ranked differently with different clients based on their web habits. Don't be saddened if you rank lower on another computer. Do what you can for SEO and keep doing it!

I don't do any paid advertising... and so all that I do is free. I haven't used an SEO tech guy to do it for me (though that is available through some marketing firms). The free way is just a little time-consuming and patience-testing. :) As time goes by, your web presence and clout will strengthen.

If you don't blog, stop right now and go open up a Blogger or Wordpress account. I'll wait. :)

Blog ready? Okay. Let's do this.

1. Use that SEO view when building your Showit pages (if on that web platform). It will show what text is found that is NOT flash. This is where you can diagnose what needs to be "texted."

1a. In your blog posts, link your Showit webpages (where applicable). Since your blog will always be stronger (in the eyes of Google bots), link your contact page or your investments page. It can't hurt.

2. Submit to engines. I was told about the directories and search engines that ranked high in the Google algorithm were the following:
- dmoz.org (It takes weeks to get listed-- and I'm not even listed on there yet! But apparently, this ranks VERY, VERY heavily for search engines.)
- Yahoo! Local
- Google (obviously)

3. Get inbound links. This is where networking with other vendors helps! Do a link exchange, but ultimately, get others to have YOUR website on their website. You can use Alexa.com to check to see who is linking you. Commenting on other photographer blogs helps (just don't be obnoxious about it and say, "Here is my website for SEO purposes!!!" lol). Try to get at least 5 new inbound links every quarter.

4. BLOG IT UP! Cover local events on your blog. Google has placed MORE weight on local businesses with their new search algorithm. Blog with keywords, but mostly phrases and complete sentences.

Create meaningful posts. Find your writing style. It's a bit easy for me; I was an English major in college and have always loved to write. But I know it doesn't come easily for some... just find a way to get words out! It may sound silly, but if it is difficult for you, create your "ideal captive audience" (the one that you could talk on and on to) and "talk" to that audience using whatever vocabulary and syntax you generally use. Pretend you are writing and talking to them with each blog post; it will help getting your blog style down.

4a. Titles and Tags. It might look a little tacky and cheesy, but really utilize those blog post titles (e.g., "Billy and Betty | Chesapeake Wedding Photographer") and tags (e.g., "chesapeake wedding photographer, personal, weddings"). Some photogs go REALLY overboard with it, and heck, guess what? Their rankings are really high. Do what suits your brand. I think as you gain more web-clout, you won't have to rely on this so much.

5. Article marketing. This is ADVANCED SEO! I haven't done this yet... but it's on my to-do list for the middle of this year to get higher rankings.

Write applicable articles to your business (e.g., "How to Take Good Photos of your Kids" or "The Best Lighting Setup for a Wedding Reception") and submit them to article sites. Remember to include your name, bio, and link to your website at the end of your article.
- ezines.com
- goarticles.com
- digg.com

6. List your address/location on every webpage. I have noticed some photogs don't even put the city in which they service! Put your city and surrounding/service areas. If you have a studio, make sure to put that brick-and-mortar address. This goes back to Google's looooving local businesses. They will give more preference to these websites. It's hard for me to put my address out there since my business address is personal to me, but I'm trying to find ways (see below).

7. Google, Google, Google. Create a *complete* Google Places profile. That helped my ranking significantly! (But this also frustrates me sometimes because sometimes my Google Places doesn't even show up! I know it's there though!) Use Google Analytics if you don't already. SUCH a great resource. It helps me see exactly what people are searching for. Seriously, I think Google will take over the world one day. ;)

8. Submit a blog post to another well-read blog/website. What helped me significantly was that I did an article for MCP Actions last year. I'm still getting visitors from that.

9. Ask potential clients how they found you. On your contact page, ask! A ton of inquiries comes from Google for me (which was my kickstart into beefing up my SEO).

10. Just like inbound links, do outbound. There is something in the Google spiders that love this stuff. I'm no tech guru, but it has something to do with a web-effect-- everything connecting with each other. In blog posts, post links to other websites and especially to your other webpages AND blog posts. If you reference a past wedding couple in a new post, link their old blog post!

11. List yourself on every free wedding website/directory you can find. Here are just some...
- WeddingWire
- OneWed
- SnapKnot (really cool NEW website just for photogs!)
- The Knot Message Boards (I found this out when a bride kept posting my link as a recommendation! I didn't ask her to do this, but it was appreciated when I googled myself and saw my biz name on the Knot! Do NOT post this yourself. 1. It's annoying for vendors to "attack" brides with advertising when not asked for (I got it all the time when I was a bride!). And 2. It's against the board rules and is considered spamming. Let that word of mouth speak for ya!)

12. Facebook. My Facebook biz page helps to an extent since it is published text. I don't know if my ranking has risen from this or not, but it can't hurt!

Hope these help you all! <3

Again, do what works for your business and within your brand. My market is saturated with wedding photographers... and I know it'll take me a few years to get REALLY high. Keep doing it. It's not a one-time shop-and-stop. SEO is continual and needs to be built on.

... and for the record, I don't obsessively check my rankings everyday. ;) I do however work on SEO once a month and check them then.


[I couldn't have a post with JUST text. :) ]


Best wishes!
- Chelsea :)

16 comments :

  1. Thank you so much!! I'm a military spouse, so I'll be moving my business around a lot...and it definitely helps to be on the first page of google as quickly as I can. I'm sure this will help. =) Thank you for taking the time-it's greatly appreciated! -Ivona

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  2. Thanks Again for all the help!!

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  3. Thank you so much for your kindness and taking the time to share this with your fellow showiteers! Your ROCK! :)

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  4. Wow, you are so generous to share all this great info with showiteers!! Thank you!

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  5. I'm so glad it's helpful!! Let me know how it goes for you all! :)

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  6. This is all wonderful information Chelsea. You are amazing to share it with all of us.

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  7. Awesome, Chelsea! Thank you for getting this to us!

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  8. Thanks for sharing!! Love your blog.

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  10. thanks so much! this information is great and was so generous of you to share it!

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  11. Such a wonderful resource for all of us! Thanks for sharing :)

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  12. This is the most awesome and informative post. you are great.

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  13. Hi Chelsea,

    Just came across this post. Very helpful tips, and thank you for mentioning us!

    Best,
    Mike Rhéaume (SnapKnot Co-founder)

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  14. Gosh! This was ssooo helpful, Chels! I have always heard about Google Places & the like, but didn't know WHERE to go to do it. Soaking all of this in tonight to beef up my SEO tmrw! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this!

    Much LOVE!
    Chloe Austin

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