S.E.O. stands for search engine optimization, which basically means there are things that I can do on my site/blog to help search engines like (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, YouTube) list me in their search results. If I run a Senior Photography business, then I want to be found easily for senior photography in the area I service. The problem with most photographers is that they get stuck with knowing what text to use for their sites, blog post and image optimization. Businesses who want local SEO sometimes over stuff their site or blog with the same set of phrases, known as keywords. Later in this post, I will cover some alternative options for how to incorporate variety in your keywords and still be found by your audience. But now, back to providing you with DIY SEO tools so you get comfortable with understanding what Google wants and what is needed for you to tweak on your site to give Google a hand. Google uses over 200 ways to rank a website, and I call these brownie points. Modern SEO consists of three parts: technical SEO, branding and content. So, I will break this down into a 3-blog series, and today let’s start with the foundation.
This will be the technical aspect of laying down a foundation for SEO. Since search engines don’t see photos or video, text will be the cement for our foundation. It all starts with text, and knowing which text to use on your site for your images and your blog is extremely important. So to start your list, you can create an Excel spreadsheet or you can download my free keyword getting started guide if you sign up here, but do answer the following questions.
- What do you do?
- Where do you do it?
- What are the top high schools you service?
- What is your photography style?
- Do you have a studio, or do you shoot on location?
Now, in the platform you use, you need to find where you can plug some of these keywords into your site and your blog back end. Two great brownie point areas are page titles and descriptions. Page titles show up as the text above a URL when you visit a site, as well as on Google results. Page description is the description of said blog post and what you see in a search result.
Text above URL example:
Search result example:
In WordPress, I recommend that you install the plugin Yoast SEO because it creates a box for each page and each post, so you can really pay attention to creating unique page titles and descriptions for your site.
Example Page Title:
Conway Senior Photographer | High school Portraits
Example Page Description:
Feuza Reis Studios is a Conway Senior Photographer capturing high school seniors in Conway, Myrtle Beach and Charleston.
* Tip: You need a unique keyword set for each page title, each page description, and each blog post! So working and expanding your list is very important.
Tip for WordPress: To change the main page title of your WordPress blog or blogsite, go to dashboard, then settings, then general and fill out the tag line.
The “what you do and where you do it” types of text is what I call main keywords. You can’t escape from them because you are a Senior Photographer in X town. The problem with only wanting to be found in Google for name of town + Senior Photographer is that there are only ten spots on page 1, so the competition is intense. I call it the UFC ring. Yes, it is great to be on page 1 for those main keywords, but I want to challenge you to think beyond what you do. I call these alternative keywords. Think about who you service, the problems they have and the solutions you can provide for them.
- 3 top Senior photography locations in NYC
- What to wear for your Senior Pictures
- Graduation card ideas
- High School senior photos
Download my keyword guide so you can develop your keywords better.
So, now that you have your main keywords and are starting to build your secondary set of keywords, it’s time to find where you can add unique page titles and descriptions.
You also need to start utilizing image SEO practices. I typically export my blog image files – after I’ve already renamed them – from Lightroom with the main keyword idea I have. (Remember, variety is king, and they can’t all be called Myrtle Beach senior photographer.) If you are unsure about image optimization, I recommend you take my Image Optimization free email course here.
A checklist for today’s SEO lesson:
- Start a keyword list. List your main keywords.
- Start a secondary list of keywords based on your F.A.Q. or questions your clients typically have regarding what you do.
- Find the page title and description area of the platform you use.
- Fill out the page title and description for every page.
I hope you enjoyed this first post of our series, and stay tuned for the next one, where I will share how branding affects SEO.