Look at you. All ambitious and wanting to conquer SEO. Well, you’re in for a treat, because in this blog post I cover 10 SEO basics you should know as a photographer.
Understanding this will provide you clarity on what’s needed to optimize your page, but it also help you become familiar with important terminology.
There are SO many benefits to optimizing your page. This includes organic discovery, attracting the right clients, and building your exposure. Below are some of the ways to help you get started with the process.
Unfortunately, your 1.2 GB image shouldn’t be uploaded into your online portfolio, no matter how beautiful you think every corner of your image is. What this does is slow down the load time of your website and search engines penalize this.
Optimized images are typically less than 2-4 MB. Fortunately, can reduce the filesize of your image without losing the quality of the photo. You could do this by using services like Optimizilla (https://imagecompressor.com/) or with the WordPress Plug-in WP Smush if you have WordPress.
Alt text is how search engines read your images. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and search engines want to know which words, because pictures can potentially fall into a number of different categories.
Alt text is how you help search engines understand the image your posting. When you create alt text, you want the alt text to be related to whatever keyword it is that you’re trying to rank for.
For example, if you’re making a post about “Bohemian inspired wedding photos in Los Angeles” the alt text should be “bohemian inspired wedding photos in Los Angeles”. You can place alt text when you’re editing the image within your blog site, where ever it says “alt text”.
If you’re feeling super techy, find the image html and add alt=”text here”. So example would look like this:
<img src=”IMGURL.jpg” alt=”bohemian inspired wedding photos in Los Angeles”>
File names are another way to let search engines what your image is about. Like the alt text, you want the file name to be the same as the keyword you’re trying to rank your page for.
So, going back to the previous example, if you want to rank for “bohemian inspired wedding photos in Los Angeles” your file name should be something like this:
Make sure to put dashes (and not underscores) to separate the words.
Keywords are essentially the words and phrases in your content that help users find you. Typically, they’re words or phrases that they use to search for content. For example, “bohemian inspired wedding photos in Los Angeles” is a long tail keyword that users may specifically type in to search for to get inspiration.
Short tail keywords are phrases that are less than 2 words and are VERY competitive and challenging to rank for. For example, “photographer” would be very challenging to rank for. And if you pay ads to try and rank for it, it can also be very expensive.
Long tail keywords are usually easier to rank for, but are also more profitable because it helps you reach your ideal client more effectively. If you’re hoping to shoot more boho-like weddings, trying to rank for “bohemian inspired wedding photos in Los Angeles” is not only relevant, but efficient and effective.
The Flesch Kinkaid readability test measures the difficulty of a piece of writing by ranking it from very easy to read (like elementary) up to college level. Generally, search engines rank content that has a readability that’s no higher than 9th grade, but also has proper grammar.
Search engines tend to favor content at this reading level because they want to encourage content that is easy to understand and quick to consume.
A responsive layout is just another way of saying “mobile-friendly” layout. But a responsive layout doesn’t necessarily mean that your mobile layout is exactly what you see on a desktop.
Instead a responsive layout is something that is able to translate for mobile devices, and it could look pretty different from your desktop website. Search engines favor layouts that are responsive, because they recognize that over 50% of people that consume content online are mobile users.
So you want to make sure that your content is something that is easy to access via mobile, but is also something that loads quickly on mobile.
In addition to your blog’s title, blog’s images (with the proper file names and alt tags, and keywords (within your blog post), you want your link to also contain your keyword.
A permalink is a static hyperlink that leads to a specific blog page. Blogs will have a number of different ways to automatically create links for your website. Sometimes this is a randomly generated number. Sometimes, it’s based on the year and month you’ve created the post. But the option you want to look for is the one that’s created based on your blog’s headline, which will also happen to be your keyword.
So, going back to the example I’ve been using with boho weddings, an appropriately optimized permalink would be:
By definition, an internal link is a link on a blog page that leads to another blog page within your website. Hence, internal link. Having internal links also help optimize your page for search engines.
Search engines reward websites that have visitors that stay and consume content. This shows that the website has valuable content that people actually enjoy. Internal links help visitors navigate from related topics, but also stay within the website longer.
Backlinks are links that link from a website to your own. For example, on your Instagram page, you have the option of including your website in your biography. This link that you create on Instagram is considered a backlink.
The more backlinks from quality websites you have, the more Google recognizes you as a website with value, because you’re a website worth referring to.
However, it’s not enough to just have your link on your social platforms. You want to try to get your links on other websites with a lot of traffic. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you want to try to get your work featured and have your website backlinked.
An XML sitemap is a XML file that includes a map of your site, like a list of your links. By creating a sitemap, you’re helping search engines crawl through your website easier.
You could create a sitemap on WordPress by downloading plug-ins like Google XML Sitemap or Yoast. If you have Squarespace, one is automatically created.
If you have neither of those platforms, you’ll want to search, “How to create a xml sitemap on (website platform here)”
If you’re not sure where to start, make sure to check out the 3 common mistakes photographers make when they try to optimize their page and how to fix them!
From there, you can go through each SEO basic to make sure you’re implementing them on your blog pages.