SEO – it’s almost a dirty word for a lot of photographers. It seems a little daunting, and Google can seem like the big scary monster that you don’t even want to attempt tackling. Whether you’re just making your website now, or you’re giving your site a refresh, read on to learn about the basics of SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the way that you increase your visibility on Google (and other search engines, but Google is the only one that really matters nowadays 🙂 ).
Why does it matter?
Why do you want to show up on Google? Lots of reasons! For starters, it gets more traffic to your website, which means more bookings! SEO is also a completely free way to get your site noticed. While it’s a lot of work up front, in the long term you’ll get people to your website passively. This means you can spend less time marketing on social media (because we all want a little time away from Instagram, right?). The better your website performs on Google, the more organic traffic you’ll get.
1) Optimize Your Site Speed
Site speed is a really important factor in Google’s algorithms. Especially as a photographer, site speed can be difficult because you have so many high quality photos on your website. To make sure your website is running smoothly, optimizing your images is a good first step. I use JPEG mini – a Lightroom plugin that reduces your file sizes without affecting the quality of the photo.When exporting your photos for your website, it’s also a good idea to resize them to make them smaller – you don’t need full size images, and it will help your site speed a ton. You can use this to check your website speed – it will give you some advice on things to fix. The ideal load time is 2 seconds or under – but don’t be discouraged if you aren’t there yet.
2) Optimize for Mobile
A lot of photographers make the mistake of building their website on desktop, and leaving it at that. But did you know that about 85% of people scroll through websites on their phones? That means if your website looks funky on mobile or it just doesn’t work, you’re losing a ton of potential clients. Pick up your phone and take a look at your website – and make sure it looks as good on your phone as it does on your computer!
3) Write for People, not Search Engines
When it comes to SEO, don’t make the mistake of writing just for Google. Don’t stuff keywords into your website that don’t fit. Google cares the most about their users – which means they want to show people results that offer good, meaningful content. Think about the people who are visiting your website – what would help them? What do they want to see? Write your website copy with them in mind first.
Blogging is the number one thing you can do to boost your SEO. With blogging you can showcase your work, and more importantly, you can write helpful content for your audience. When you’re blogging, think about what would help your ideal client. For example, my photography business is focused on elopements, so I write content for couples who are planning an elopement. Blogging can be time consuming, and a lot of photographers don’t particularly like it. If you have the means to outsource, blogging might be a good task to do that with. I can recommend a great content writer for that 😉 (it’s me – learn more here).
Tools to help you
Google trends – compare keywords to see what people are Googling.
Google search console – see your performance on Google
Pingdom – test your site speed