SEO for Photographers

Whether you do photography as a hobby and you want to turn it into a side hustle, or you are a professional photographer, and you’re looking to better market your services, SEO can help.

In today’s article, we’re looking at what SEO for photographers is, the best way to rank a photography website and the best SEO keywords for photographers. Check out the guide below for more information.

SEO for photography websites

As you probably know by now, SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is a technique that involves a number of methods that can help a website rank for a number of keywords, hopefully, relevant to what you do. 

The two main types of SEO that you have to consider implementing are on-page and off-page SEO. The following sections are going to detail both, so keep on reading. 

On-page SEO

This type of search engine optimization involves everything that you can do on your website. 

Whether it’s from a technical standpoint, meaning that you shouldn’t have any errors and you should aim at a short loading time, or it’s a bit more creative, meaning it involves the use of keywords and content optimization, on-page SEO can really make a difference when it comes to ranking any website, whether that of a photographer or any other professional. 

Keywords

Finding the right keywords really isn’t difficult if you use the right SEO tools for photographers. We’re going to give you several examples of what good SEO tools and plugins you can use in a section below. 

When looking for keywords, you should (at all cost) avoid the generic ones. Usually, generic keywords have an extremely high search volume, meaning that there are a lot of people searching for those terms. 

But the downside is that the competition for the same keywords is through the roof, so you will be competing against professional photography websites — sometimes even online courses. 

Depending on the tool you utilize, there is a thing called ‘keyword difficulty’ that you definitely have to consider when deciding what pages and posts you should create on your site. 

Try to aim at high search volume, but low keyword difficulty terms so that you can make your life easier. Also consider looking for photography-related search terms that are location-based. 

For example, if you offer your services in your city, you obviously want to rank for ‘wedding photographer in Chicago’. But what if you can also go to another city? Broaden your search so that it encompasses your whole area.

We do have to note that with broader keywords, you will have a lot more competitors. 

You can find the right keywords by asking yourself exactly what you do and what part of photography you specialize in, the name of your craft, if there is any specific one for it, and where you do what you do. 

Content

The downside to owning and managing a photography website is that you are not as tempted to create actual text-rich articles as you would if you were to have a blog about cooking, for example.

But you can create stories around your projects, talk about the venues and what you did for your clients, so at least there’s that. 

Photographers know that the best way of marketing their services is to show other prospective clients what they’ve done in the past. So while the pictures obviously matter, it wouldn’t hurt if you also interviewed your past clients, asked them for testimonials, and wrote articles about their stories, too. 

Meta titles and meta descriptions

These ones are important as they are the first things that people are going to see in the search engines before they decide to click on one of your posts or pages

Try to make your meta titles and meta descriptions as catchy and appealing as possible so that you actually convince people to check out your website. They do have to contain your main keyword or at least a variation of it for ranking purposes. 

Images 

Your images have to be optimized, too. Although it might not seem that important to you, the truth is that search engines are exactly the best when it comes to telling what a picture is about unless you tell them.

Name your images as clearly as possible but don’t be afraid to use keywords in their titles, too. The alt text section can also play a part in this sense. Alt text is ‘alternative text’ and it can be considered an identifier for the image. 

Alt text can also contain your keywords. 

Headings

You’re going to want to use subtitles and headings not just to improve your users’ experience and make your content easily readable, but also to accurately categorize your text. 

H1 is any page or post’s title, so that’s one less thing to worry about. But the rest of the headings have to be used judiciously. H2 should be the title of a section and any other bullet or sub-topic should be an H3. 

A well-organized heading structure can be very important ranking-wise. 

URLs

Depending on the content management system that you use (we recommend WordPress as it is very easy to use and there are heaps of plugins for it), you will be able to customize your URLs. 

But why should you, anyway? Well, the search engines are going to be able to tell what your posts are about if you use your keywords in the URLs. Naturally, it is a little weird to use ‘best wedding photographer in Toronto’ in your URL, but the truth is that it can really help. 

Do keep in mind that clean URLs are also easier to share by your site visitors. It’s much more intuitive to share and link to a page that’s called ‘www.site.com/toronto-wedding-photography’ rather than ‘www.site.com/12345’. 

Internal linking

Internal linking can create a lot of problems for SEOs and for business owners when it is done poorly. As such, it’s far better to create a silo structure from the start and stick to it as best as possible.

For example, if you also take professional photos of children, weddings and engagements, and pets, you can create different categories for all of these. For each of the new posts you publish on your website, you are going to use a specific category. 

Ideally, you should link from a kid photography post to another kid photography post — not to a pet photography one. 

internal linking

Another aspect that we have to mention when it comes to internal linking is the depth at which your posts and pages are located. This might be a little complicated to understand, but when a search engine’s crawler ends up on your website, it always reaches the homepage.

Your homepage is located at depth 0 and you should have as many posts and pages linked from it as possible. Overdoing it would mean linking from your homepage to several thousand posts, so there’s nothing stopping you from linking to dozens, if not hundreds of your articles, instead. These will be at depth 1. 

Everything else can be at depth 2, meaning you can link from the articles you’ve linked to from your homepage to these newer posts. Try to keep all of your articles at a ‘distance’ of no more than 3 to 4 clicks. 

If anything is farther than that, it’s not going to be crawled, so you are never going to link for the keywords you have targeted in those posts. 

If you have already hired someone offering SEO services for photographers, make sure that they look at your internal linking structure right after they have solved any technical issue, like your site loading speed. 

People underestimate how internal linking really is – and always keep that in mind. 

Navigation, user experience, and mobile

There are lots of templates for photography websites out there, so you should pick your favorite. However, you should also keep in mind how user-friendly it is and how menus are displayed on your site if you use that template. 

Some designs are extremely visually appealing, but if people always seem to end up on your homepage and they have no way of seeing any other posts, your bounce rate is going to be through the roof. 

Also, write for the users, not just for the search engines. Ranking for lots of keywords is definitely important, but once someone ends up on your site, you want to convince them to take action and at least consider hiring you for their event. 

What about mobile optimization? Some of the most recent statistics suggest that approximately half of all Internet users these days now utilize their mobile devices to perform searches online. 

So while you might not care for the idea of people seeing your photos and portfolio on a smartphone, it’s just what people do these days. Only after they’ve come across your portfolio on their mobile devices will they also want to check out the desktop version of your website to have a better grasp of the quality of the images. 

Off-page SEO

Google My Business

Google has built this tool specifically for people who offer their services in a location and have actual headquarters. Owning and updating your GMB account is completely free, and claiming it is extremely important. 

If you didn’t know, competitors can also claim your business and it can be a hassle to get it back. 

Include as much detail in your GMB listing as possible — such as your operating hours, your phone, your detailed address, and everything else that can help customers find you. Your website URL should also be there. 

You can also include pictures of the front of your business so that folks know how to reach you when they are in the area. 

Client reviews

Ratings and reviews are important as they can tell other prospective clients whether your services are actually worth looking into or not. 

Had a wonderful experience with someone? Why not ask them to leave you a GMB review, one on Yelp, or on whichever directory you might be listed? 

Backlinks

Acquiring backlinks is a very important part of any SEO strategy and if anyone tells you otherwise, you should not trust them. Links are a ranking factor, but that doesn’t mean that you should get as many as possible.

Ideally, you should acquire backlinks from websites that are in your niche. But since getting links from other photography websites can be very difficult, if not challenging, especially if they’re competitors of yours, you have to use your creativity with link building. 

One effective way of acquiring backlinks is blogger outreach. Find relevant bloggers and offer them something in exchange for a link or just write a well-researched guest post for their site. 

Buying links might go against the policy of most search engines these days, but the fact of the matter is that everybody buys links. Most bloggers are going to ask you to pay a fee so that they can add your link to one of their posts (this is called a niche edit). 

Another great way of building links is acquiring PR links. Actual online advertising works if there’s an online magazine in your city that has thousands of readers. Therefore, you can get a ‘subscription’ and pay for your banner to be displayed on such a website for a set period (several months, for example). 

You can also look for journalists, touch base, and ask them whether they wouldn’t want to write an article about your business or perhaps add a link to your business in one of their newspieces. 

Unfortunately, PR links tend to cost way more compared to blogger outreach. For this reason, they might be something you could be interested in only once you’ve built a better marketing budget. 

PBN links can also offer some value in some situations. However, since the health of private blog networks isn’t really great, you will want to use PBN links for building two or three-tier links. 

Social media

A great part of SEO for wedding photographers, but also for other types, is setting up official pages on a variety of social media networks. All of the social media links you are going to acquire are going to be no-follow, so they are not going to increase your domain rating. 

However, some highly visual networks such as Pinterest or Instagram can be extremely valuable for you as they can get you more website visitors. 

Some people might like what you do so much that they might directly message you on Instagram and ask how much you charge for an event, for instance. 

Facebook and Twitter might not offer the same results, though, especially since the algorithm of the first has become worse and worse as years have gone by, meaning people aren’t going to be able to see your page’s posts as much as they could have in the past. That is, unless you pay for Facebook ads, of course. 

SEO tools for photographers

Google Analytics

The best thing about Analytics is that it is completely free of charge. The interface might not be something worth writing home about and it will take time for you to get used to it, but Analytics is by far the most effective tool to track your progress with. 

Another great tool that you can use (at least in part) is the Search Console, also by Google. You can use these two to look at the number of visitors you have on a monthly basis, what pages are the most visited ones on your website, and of course, your bounce rate. 

You can also find the search terms you are ranking for so that you know if what you are doing is actually working or not. 

Ahrefs

This is a paid tool since even the trial costs $7 for seven days. It’s quite intuitive and feature-rich and can give you all the information you need in the same platform. 

Unlike Google Analytics, Ahrefs also lets you analyze other websites, so you can look at your competitors’ sites and see what they’re doing and what you could improve on yours. 

It’s also a great tool for analyzing other websites to tell whether it might be worth it for you to get backlinks from them or not. 

screaming frog

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is another great tool to use, but we mostly recommend it for already existing photography websites, especially those that have hundreds of posts and pages published. 

The tool can tell you everything you need to know about your internal linking process and what you’re supposed to fix in this sense. It also tells you if any of your pages are actually missing or duplicate information – pretty much anything you need to take action on. 

SEMRush

SEMRush is more or less comparable to Ahrefs so it all depends on what you are comfortable using. They do have a free trial available, though, so you can at least give it a go and see how you are comfortable with it. 

SEMRush is an extremely generous tool in terms of features. You can do almost everything with it – audit your website, check your on-page SEO, and even monitor your brand. 

Image compression tools

There are so many image compression tools out there today that you might feel confused as to which one you should pick. To avoid creating loading problems on your website, you have to compress your photos, even if you might think that there will be a decrease in their quality. 

Just test out as many as possible and see which one you’re satisfied with. Here are several examples:

  • JPEG.io
  • Tiny PNG
  • Kraken
  • JPEG Optimizer
  • Compressor.io 

You can also use plugins right in your back-end, and here are several examples:

  • EWWW Image Optimizer
  • ShortPixel Image Optimizer
  • reSmush.it 

Hiring an SEO for a photography website

Hiring an SEO company can be quite expensive and most of the time, you are not going to get the services you might be looking for. Most SEO companies are going to give you advice on what you have to implement, but they are not going to do the grunt work, too. 

You can, of course, hire an SEO freelancer to have everything done, but it will cost you several thousand dollars per month. An SEO consultant could charge you around $100 an hour and that’s only if they are starting out. If they are more experienced, they might ask for a fee around $200 or $300 an hour. 

Need help with your SEO or digital marketing efforts? We have lots of plans and courses available. Get in touch to find out how we can be of assistance!

 

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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