One of the fun things about social media is the social side! As silly as it sounds, think about how many people we have access to every day. Well, meet somebody new I was talking to in the Photography Bloggers Network on Facebook, Scott Wyden Kivowitz. We were talking about the challenges of SEO, most of which I don't completely understand myself and Scott offered to do a guest post.
The key is, if you do it right, you'll build up a level of reach that just a few years ago only magazines had. Scott is the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati. He's a photographer, blogger, author and educator and interested in helping you expand your reach.
I’ve had the fortune of learning and implementing SEO for many years now, and the pleasure of teaching photographers about it over at the Photographer’s SEO Community. So when Skip and I discussed what to write about in the SEO category I sat down and came up with a few items that are often overlooked and misunderstood.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Per-page Keyword Optimization
A keystone to a well optimized page (not full site… just one page) is ensuring that the content is written for one keyword.
One Page = One Keyword
That means your homepage should be optimized for a keyword, your about page for a different keyword, your blog article for a different keyword, your portfolio for another, and so on. A well optimized website will have four main keywords:
- Primary keyword for the homepage
- Secondary keywords for three other pages
- Primary -> Homepage optimized for primary keyword
- Secondary -> Priority Pages
- Long Tail -> Blog Posts
Choose (Keywords) Wisely
Now that you understand that each page should focus on one keyword, it’s time to discuss what keywords to use.
Quite often I come across photographers who are not offering their picture making services, but rather simply selling prints. Coming up with keywords for those types of niches are a lot more difficult than others. So typically when these photographers are choosing keywords they try to use something like Maryland landscape and nature prints for sale.
However, unfortunately that keyword gets zero (yes, not even one) search a month. So the keyword might describe the photography service available, but if no one is searching for it then why bother optimizing for it.
This is where rethinking the keyword strategy and using appropriate tools come in handy. I mean… imagine if Indiana Jones drank out of the same cup that Walter Donovan drank from. Jones would have died too. So why go out of your way to do something useless, right?
Create an Excel spreadsheet with all of your potential keywords. Use broad and specific locality and descriptive words.
- Maryland landscape photography
- Baltimore Maryland landscape photography
- Maryland nature photographer
If the keyword gets more than 1,000 searches a month then it’s already a good choice. If none of your keywords get 1,000 then it’s time to rethink the keyword choices once more, or use the one with the most.
Title vs Meta Title
The last item I want to talk about in this article are titles. There is a big difference between a page or blog post title and a meta/SEO title. For this topic I’m going to use blog articles as the example, because it’s the easiest to relate to.
Imagine you’re writing an article and the title is "This article is so awesome that everyone should read it and if I am lucky it will rank well in search engines.” Obviously that title is extremely long. In fact, it’s so long that the two most popular search engines (Google and Bing) will only show part of it.
Now the meta title is within the 70 character limit which Google specifies, and is also better optimized for the desired keyword (which in this case is "article is so awesome”). I know the example title isn’t the prettiest, but hopefully that gets the point across.
Not every content management system provides an option to override the meta title, however if you’re a WordPress user then there are plugins to help. My personal favorite is WordPress SEO by Yoast, but another very popular one is All in One SEO. Either way you can’t go wrong.
So there you go - three items that are very often misunderstood and overlooked by photographers.
I hope that this will help you as you journey through website improvements for your photography business. If you have questions please comment so I can help. I’ll do my best to answer simpler questions via comments and any more difficult or complex questions I may answer in a future article here at SCU.
Thanks for reading,
Scott Wyden Kivowitz
PS. For some bonus advice, check out this awesome video on 3 SEO strategies that will hurt rather than help your photography business.