As a professional photographer you may be well versed in building your online portfolio and you may even have a fairly decent website drawing in potential clients. But do you wish your website brought in even more work? Do you want to ensure you’re getting consistent enquiries and bookings? Then you may want to think about upping your SEO game.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it’s the technique of making your website appealing for search engines like Google and Bing. Websites that are optimised for search engines will appear higher up in search results, for whichever keywords their potential clients or customers are typing in. The sites that appear on the first 2 pages of results will often see a huge increase in traffic to their website and it’s our aim to help you grab hold of some of this amazing traffic!
Choosing the keywords you want to be found for
Before you start looking at your own website, it’s important that you identify the keywords you want your site to appear for in search engine results. An example would be ‘wedding photography’. If you want your portfolio to pop up when someone types this into Google, then you need to optimise your site for ‘wedding photography’. We’ll explain how to do this in a second, don’t worry!
Make a list of the services you offer and conduct a bit of keyword research. Take a look at some of the websites that are showing up when you type those keywords into Google. Have a look at what is written on their pages, can you spot that keyword anywhere? How many times do you notice it?
You can also have a look at how many times that keyword is searched for by using tools like Google Keyword Planner or the free tool, Keywords Everywhere. This will give you a better idea of whether people are actually searching for your chosen keywords and if you will be able to get any traffic to your website from those keywords.
Optimising your portfolio pages
Optimising is the act of making your website visible for your chosen keywords. There are many ways you can do this, but we’re going to detail a few of the easiest and most common ways you can optimise your site.
Edit your images before uploading
You will no doubt have hundreds of images on your website and these can all be used for optimisation. Make sure your image names include your chosen keywords in some way. This should be done before you upload them to your site. Google can’t recognise images when it looks at your website, so the text that you associate with the image is extremely helpful. Google can read, but it can’t see.
If you want to get really fancy, you can delve into a bit of HTML and add in titles and alt text for your images. Alt text provides a description, should the image not be able to load, and the title will appear in a small box when someone hovers their mouse over the image.
The size of your images can slow down page speed which in turn, can have a negative impact on your SEO. To stop your website’s page speed from lagging, it’s well worth looking into compressing your images.
While most content management systems have an option to compress your images for you, we wouldn’t recommend leaving it to their automatic functions, as they often simply resize the image rather than compress them. As photographers, you want to make sure your images are as high-quality as possible, and with this automatic compression you run the risk of the main event being cut out from the image itself.
Optimising your page copy
Adding keywords to the copy on your pages will also help to optimise your website. It’s best to assign 1 keyword to each page. For example, if you have service pages, look at optimising those pages for service related keywords. This could be ‘wedding photography services’ or ‘portrait photography services’.
Take a look at the list you made initially and identify the keywords that you want the whole site to rank for e.g. ‘photography services’ and then pick out the more specific keywords that relate directly to your offerings. Make sure to include these in any descriptions, intros, titles – basically any written copy you have on your site. Don’t go overboard though and place them in the copy in a natural way that reads well, 2-3 times is enough.
Creating backlinks to your website
Google loves a website that has been mentioned by other, reliable websites. The greater number of quality links pointing to your website, the more likely Google will be to see it and acknowledge it as a site worth serving to its users.
In order to create good backlinks, think about writing some guest articles for online photography publications or blogs and include a link to your website’s homepage or services page, to drive traffic from the blog to your own website. You can also ask your customers if they have their own blogs and get them to write a review about your services.
If this isn’t possible, directories can also be an easy way to build some links back to your website and it can also be another avenue for potential customers to find you!
Even though we know you’d rather be spending your time out in the world taking amazing photographs, spending a bit of time on your own marketing and promotion is essential if you want to win new clients.
Taking a bit of time to learn some basic SEO and applying it to your site, is guaranteed to help you drive more traffic to your portfolio and increase the amount of bookings and enquiries you receive!