Guest post by Scott Wyden Kivowitz
A large piece of the photography community leans towards the side of SEO naysayer. They do not like discussing SEO (search engine optimization) and do not care to put any efforts into it.
So when deciding what to talk about on the Resized blog, a decision was made to offer an honest, down-to-earth article on SEO. It’s time to get the conversation going, so the photographers who are afraid of or nervous about it will have a much clearer understanding of its value.
So with that, shall we dive in?
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a technique used to get your website to show up higher in search results. The technique is not a single task, but rather a variety of tasks that you can implement. The tasks can be divided into categories which can further help illustrate what each does.
On-site SEO includes action items like keyword optimization, site structure, internal linking and image optimization.
Off-site SEO includes action items like link building, social signals and local citations.
Let’s talk about each action item briefly:
- Keyword optimization is adjusting the text of each page to utilize a specific keyword (with proper grammar and words that are readable to humans) enough times for search engines to see the importance. At the same time, it is essential to not overuse a keyword. Finding the sweet spot is extremely important. For example, you typically want the keyword used in the page content, meta and ALT tags somewhere between 1% and 2% of the time.
- Site structure is how the URLs of your website are implemented. Use real words, rather than random letters and numbers, so that keywords will perform better on search engines. For example, resized.com/page-title-goes-here is better than resized.com/8dj3ndjdw
- Internal linking is literally the act of linking one page on your website to another page on your website, using an appropriate keyword as the anchor text. For example, if I were writing an article on the Custom SLR blog talking about a wrist strap then I would link the words “wrist strap” to the “Custom Hand Strap” product page.
- Image optimization requires smaller image sizes and ALT Tags containing one keyword that utilizes the page’s keyword. For example, use software like JPEGmini to compress your images before uploading.
- Link building is the act of getting links to your website from valuable websites. The links should include anchor text of various keywords that you want your website to rank well for. Links are like votes, so a link from CNN is far better than a link from randomphotowebsite.com, or a link from TheKnot is far better than a link from yourweddingcompetitor.com. Not all links are good, though. So be aware that overdoing it could hurt more than help.
- Social signals are a combination of likes, follows, circles, engagement and shares. There is no one true social metric known in the SEO community, but social signals definitely play a role in rankings. With that said, you would show up in search engines more if you're engaging in conversations on Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.
- Local citations include listings in local directories like Yelp or Google Plus Local. They take in account verification of location, contact information and reviews. To get an idea on how you stand with local listing or to get a head start, check out Moz Local.
Why Is SEO Important for Photographers?
For photographers wanting to sell services or products, ranking well on Google and Bing is the best way to be found online. Yes, social media can drive traffic to a website, and yes, referrals can do that as well. But if your website ranks in the top three results of the first page of a search result, then your traffic will begin to soar.
One study showed that the first result achieved over 32% of the click throughs, the second held nearly 18% and then the third just over 11%. That means if your website is ranking within the top three results on Google, then you have a chance of gaining the traffic from more than half of the potential click throughs.
That’s a lot of traffic, depending on the keyword of course.
Studies have also shown that including Google Authorship (part of social signals) can increase your click through rate due to personalizing a SERP (search engine results page).
Finally, studies have also shown that organic results get far more click throughs than paid ads on both Google and Bing.
Got SEO Questions?
By now you have learned about the importance of search engine optimization and also a bit about what it is. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and ask. I will do my best to answer what I can in a comment. However, depending on the depth of the questions, it might warrant a Q&A article in the future.
Photographers should discuss with their web developer, SEO consultant, or internet marketing team for more details on how to implement these SEO techniques. You could also check out the Photographer’s SEO Community which offers detailed advice.
Thanks for reading,