Your photography website is the keystone of your marketing strategy as a photographer. It shows your prices, your portfolio, your personality, and your professionalism. But if you’re not showing up on the coveted first page of Google, no one’s going to see all the hard work you’ve put into it! And that’s freaking frustrating! So, how do you get potential clients looking at your site? That’s where SEO comes in. But what is photography SEO, and how can you master the art of SEO for photography websites?
Well, the first thing to accept is that tech is an ever-changing beast, and algorithms are sometimes just weird. Strange things sometimes gain traction, and great posts sometimes languish. I mean, I’ll never understand why my blog post on better words than “gorgeous” photographers can use to describe brides gets tens of thousands of views. It just took off!
But there are some things you can do to take control of the algorithm and boost your ranking to get more eyeballs on your site…and it all starts with SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Working on the SEO of your site means tinkering with keywords, adding meta descriptions, adjusting the titles of your blog posts and pages, gaining valuable backlinks from other sites, adding high-scoring links into your own site, and making sure your page load speed is in tip-top shape. Whew. That’s a lot, I know. But once we break it down, it’s pretty simple, I promise!
And, as a copywriter for photographers, I can help you with lots of these steps! Read on to see where my services and expertise in SEO for photography websites can take your photography website to the next level.
Why do I need to even worry about SEO? I’m not a coder!
SEO actually has (almost) nothing to do with code! Imagine if your site was buried underneath pages and pages of your competitors’ sites on Google. Your ideal client is probably not going to click all the way to pages four and five of google—they’ll only get to page two before booking someone if you’re lucky.
There’s no getting around the fact that optimizing your photography website for Google is an absolutely necessary part of succeeding as a business owner in the modern world! But how?
Let’s break it down:
Step 1: Check Your Ranking
Ahrefs offers a free tool where you can check your website’s domain authority. Just type in your site and see what score you get: the golden goal is to be above 30…but that’s probably way out of reach for now, so don’t panic. Small blogs and small business sites are generally ranked under 15, and major news sources like the New York Times come in above 80. But if your site isn’t ranking well, then it’s time to do a deep dive. Here are factors that can cause your site to rank low on the DA scale:
- Age: If your site is under a year old, you’re going to have a low ranking—nothing you can do about it. Sometimes, it just takes a little time.
- Number of pages and posts: The more you add, the better your site will rank. That’s partly why sites like news sources have such high rankings—they store pages and pages worth of information.
- Keyword seeding: We’ll dive into this below, but optimizing for keywords is essential. Don’t try to hit too many, but make sure you have them seeded throughout your photography website.
- Backlinks: The more sites that link to your website, the higher your DA will be.
- Backlinks on your own site: Each site page should have links to other authoritative sites (the higher their DA, the more it will boost yours). I recommend putting 3-4 hyperlinks into each of your blog posts.
- Site speed: If your site is slow (think, three or more seconds to load the home page), then you’re going to rank poorly. If your site is on WordPress, read this helpful guide on how to speed things up.
- Security: If your site is not forcing HTTPS, get ready to see your domain authority plummet. The best way to check this is to type in HTTP://[YOUR SITE NAME].com, and then watch the search bar to see if it’s replaced by HTTPS://. The S means your site is secure. Read this guide on how to ensure your site is forcing HTTPS.
But don’t get too caught up in the number Ahrefs spits out for you. All that really matters is that you’re getting booked and hitting your business goals. But showing up consistently on Google is a good way to get those bookings and hit those goals!
Step 2: Get the technical stuff out of the way
If your load speed is slow or your site is not forcing HTTPS, you need to deal with those problems first. While seeing the results of your domain authority going up will be a long, slow process, making sure you check these boxes before diving into the other components of SEO for photography websites is critical to success on the journey to show up on page one of Google.
Step 3: Identify your keywords
Make a list of your keywords. Your keywords are the phrases people may be searching to find you on Google. Here’s a helpful guide on how to do keyword research.
When doing this, keep these things in mind:
- What are my ideal clients typing into Google to find me?
- What area do I serve?
- What do I specialize in?
- If someone typed in [phrase] into Google and I didn’t show up, would I be surprised?
Let’s say I’m a wedding photographer in Blacksburg, Virginia. Here’s what my keywords would look like:
- Blacksburg Virginia Wedding Photographer
- Southwest Virginia Wedding Photographer
- Blue Ridge Mountains Photographer
- Wedding Photographer in Virginia
Now try yours! Start with 3-5, and choose one for each page of your website. You don’t want to overwhelm Google!
Step 4: Seed your keywords throughout your site
Make sure these keywords are showing up on your site. They should be integrated throughout headers, meta descriptions, blog posts, page text, and anywhere they feel right. Don’t overdo it so that your site is just keyword gibberish, but make sure you are hitting these words where and when you can.
The tricky thing with SEO is that there’s no magic number or perfect formula to rank well. It’s a lot of trial and error and then waiting around for DA to kick in. I’d recommend aiming for 3-4 instances of keyword usage on each page of your site. But beware of keyword stuffing! Google hates that. You have to use the phrases organically and not TOO often. I know it feels so hit or miss, and trust me, I feel your pain. But, by following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to having a better ranking and getting more bookings!
One of the best ways to seed your keywords is to integrate them into your tagline. Grab my free tagline builder right here, so you can breathe easily that you’re tackling this critical step correctly.
Step 5: Add backlinks to authoritative websites
Linking to websites that have high domain authority is a great way to boost your photography website’s DA without a ton of effort on your end. All you have to do is go through blog posts and pages and throw in 3-4 links per post/page that lead to authoritative websites. Don’t bother linking to sites that have a domain authority that’s 20 points or more under yours—go for sites that have high DAs!
A great way to backlink is to add hyperlinks to your blog posts. When you’re explaining something, link to a helpful post from another site that goes into more detail. If you get featured in a prominent publication, link, link, link!
This is another thing that doesn’t have a magic number. There’s no specific way to know if you need to link to more sites. Just make sure you’re adding links every time you make a new post or page.
Step 6: Write blog posts with clear keyword intentions
Identify some keywords or phrases that need more boosting within your site. Write blog posts with that keyword seeded throughout the content, and add them onto your website refresh schedule (more on that below). The more pages and posts, the more backlinks, and the more instances of your targeted keyword, the better. But if you’re stuck on what to write, check out my 75 blog prompts for photographers.
Another way to get your blog posts ranking is to target the “people also ask” questions that come up on Google. Type in common things your ideal client might be searching for when they’re looking for a photography website, and see what the “people also ask” questions are. Pick one, and write a blog post dedicated to it!
And psst…here’s a formatting trick! Make the question you’re targeting the title of your post, and put a summary of the answer in bold at the top of the post. Then dive into the rest of the information below. The bolded words show Google that it’s the answer to the question!
But, you don’t have to do this yourself! As a copywriter for photographers, I specialize in writing SEO-focused blog posts to help your site rank well. Read about what I offer here.
Step 7: Get on a Website Refresh Schedule
Adding content to your site consistently is a great way to boost the domain authority of your photography website. Identify a schedule where you can regularly update your website by adding new pictures, new posts, and new content. Whether it’s twice a week or twice a month, a consistent schedule for doing little website refreshes is critical.
Here are some ways to refresh your photography website:
- Add a new blog post
- Switch the photos out on your home page
- Edit the words on your About Me page
- Upload a new gallery
- Add a new client review
Step 8: Work with other creators to get your site linked on theirs
Getting backlinks to your website is another great way to boost SEO, but it’s a little more time-consuming than the other steps. Reach out to vendors and creators you’ve worked with to ask if they’d like a guest post for their site. Throw two backlinks to your own site into the post, and you’ve just earned yourself some backlinks!
You can also request vendors to link to your website if they use your photos. Remember, you don’t own your Instagram page—Instagram does. So, don’t bother sending them there. Always, always, always request that your website is what gets linked!
Another way to get backlinks to your site is to get your Pinterest page running. While backlinking works a little differently there, if you have tons of pins with your link on them circulating around the internet and getting clicks, your DA will improve.
“Alright, alright…just give me the TL;DR,” – you, probably. Well, here it is!
How do I boost the SEO for my photography website?
- Check your ranking and domain authority score
- Make sure your site loads quickly and safely
- Identify your keywords
- Seed your keywords throughout your site
- Add backlinks to authoritative websites
- Write blog posts with clear keyword intentions
- Get on a website refresh schedule
- Work with other creators to get your site linked on theirs