Getting your photography website to rank on the first page of google is the goal of most photographers, but of course not all of us can occupy these highly valuable positions – getting there requires a combination of good SEO skills, great content and sometimes just a bit of luck! However it’s always amazing how many photographers do not take even the most basic steps to improve their rankings. This article aims to give YOU a head start in just 21 simple steps. So here are PhotoProSEO’s recommendations for the 21 things you must do to rank your photography website on Google – start it today and start at point 1! You owe it to yourself and your business.
1. Do Your Keyword Research
There is no point trying to rank for a certain keyword phrase if it only gets a small amount of traffic – similarly you need to know if you are trying to rank your site for a highly competitive keyword, as it may be beyond your capabilities to do so. Create a Google Adwords account to get access to the Google Keyword Planner Tool (it’s free). Want to learn how to use the Google Keyword Planner Tool for proper Market and SEO Research? We have a training video available here.
2. Allocate Certain Keywords to Certain Pages
Having completed your keyword research allocate certain keywords to certain pages of your site – a common mistake is to keep allocating the same keyword for lots of different blog posts – try to keep your main keyword for your home page only and spread your other keywords throughout the site.
3. Use lots of text on your pages, not just images
Google loves text. Photographers love images and sometimes never the twain shall meet. But unless clients can find our sites they won’t see those beautiful images. So make it easy for Google to find you – Commit yourself to writing at least 300-400 words on every single page of your website – especially your home page.
4. Build lots of internal links between site pages
Google wants to rank sites that provide a good customer experience – good site navigation between pages is fundamental. Ensure your site menu’s are logical and easy to use. Throughout your blog posts and site pages ensure you link to other relevant pages on your site – this makes it easy for Google’s bots to index your site, and also increases the time your clients spend on your site.
5. Use your selected keywords in strategic places and in context
Your keywords are the gold dust within your site – use them carefully. Always use an article’s keyword in the first paragraph, and ALWAYS make sure it is used in the proper context of a sentence.
6. Use your keywords in your anchor text when linking pages
When doing the internal linking between article use your keyword (for the page your are linking to) as the anchor text in your link. (e.g. How to Install Yoast on your WordPress site – I just used the keyword “How to Install Yoast on your WordPress site” as anchor text for the link to the page https://www.photoproseo.com/how-to-setup-wordpress-seo-by-yoast-on-your-photography-website/ )
7. DON’T Use your keywords in your anchor text when linking pages
Yes I have just contradicted myself, I know. The reason being is that you want the link and anchor usage on your site be be done naturally and not over optimised. So as well as using keywords for anchor text, also use relevant text such as “click here”, “buy this”, “this article” etc etc
8. Use Keywords in Your Site URL’s
Whenever you create a new blog post or page on your site, use the keyword in your URL – for example if you look at the url for this post I have used the keyword “rank your photography website on Google“.
9. Build a Social Profile surrounding your site
“Social Signals” are now a key part of any SEO strategy, so make sure you have an active Social Profile surrounding your website – i.e. make sure you have a Facebook Account, plus a Facebook Page associated with your website/business, create Twitter accounts, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc
10. Create a Google Plus Account and post links to your site whenever you create a new page
Google+ is Google’s own Social Network – so you would think it might get some special treatment wouldn’t you? Well you would be right. Post a link to any new page you create on your website via your Google+ Status and that page will be almost instantly indexed in Google’s search engine.
11. Create a Google Places (aka Google Maps) listing for your business
Local Search results are slowly starting to dominate certain Google SERP’s, so make sure you maximise your own “local” presence by creating a Google Places listing for your business (previously known as Google Maps) – here’s mine for Alan Hutchison Photography
12. Encourage your clients to leave reviews for you on Google Maps
Want to dominate those local search results? Get some nice reviews via Google Maps, and you’ll soon find you start to rise up those A B C D map links 😉 Sadly it’s not easy for clients to do, as they have to jump through Google accounts loops etc.
13. Get your address and contact information on the footer of every page of your business
Another signal to Google on your “local” geographic location is of course your address and it is astounding to see how many photography businesses seem reluctant to share their address on the Internet. It’s also makes a big difference with potential clients! If you look at my wife Morag’s Boudoir Photography website you can see we have our studio address details on the foot of every page.
14. When uploading photographs name the files according to your keywords
When adding photographs to a page, be sure to name those files to match the target keyword for that page as well (e.g. new-york-wedding-photographer-01.jpg)
15. Use Alt-tags in your photographs
Alt tags can be easily accessed via the “Insert Media” input form when uploading images – make sure you fill this in with relevant keywords, as well as relevant info to help Google index your images for search purposes
16. Install the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast
17. Purchase the Yoast Local SEO Plugin
Another little tip if you want to dominate local search results is to install this Premium (i.e. paid) plugin from Yoast – it costs a few pennies but it’s worth it for the work it does in the background.
18. Use YouTube Videos on your website
Google owns YouTube. YouTube is in itself a massive search engine. Google also loves videos. Create a slideshow of your latest images and upload them to YouTube. Then embed that saved YouTube video in a blog post on your website. You can also add a back link to your site on YouTube as part of the description of the video.
And just to illustrate here’s how you can waste a few hours of an afternoon, just playing with Google Search (N.B. You might not want to play this at work LOL)
19. Submit a SiteMap to Webmaster Tools
Google provides a useful facility called Webmaster Tools to help monitor any problems on your websites – they also use this to communicate with you if they see any issues that might impact your search rankings (e.g.. if they find too many spammy links to your site) – Webmaster Tools is also where you tell them where to find your Sitemap to help them index your website. The Sitemap is an XML file, and there are many plugins out there which will generate an automatic site map for you. If you installed the Yoast plugin at step 16, you will find your site map has been generated for you.
20. Build Backlinks every single week
THIS is the most important thing to do to increase your search engine position. Backlinks are Google’s measure of the authority of a website – the more back links it has, the more important that site is likely to be. Of course, nowadays Google’s algorithm measures the importance of those back links and good quality back links are vital. You can find some ideas on where to find good quality back links in our
21. Write fresh content
This is Google’s current mantra – write good content and write regularly – it’s not quite as easy as that, but it does go without saying that if you want to engage your customers you do need good content and if those customers are likely to be making repeat visits to your site, then your site needs to keep looking fresh, so that the next time they visit they have something new to read.
So there you have it – Twenty One Things You Must Do to Rank Your Photography Website on Google
Well if you got this far – well done. This is of course a very high level summary of what you need to be doing – each of these twenty points deserves a blog post of their own as we are really only scratching the surface here. But if you focus on working through these 21 points over the next couple of months, don’t be surprised to see your website rankings improve as a result.
Here’s to the success of your photography business – onwards and upwards!
P.S. (To paraphrase Steve Jobs) – There is “One More Thing”
Run our Free SEO Audit Report on your site and gain an insight into many of the other things that at play within the Google Search Algorithm
If you have any other suggestions or comments on things photographers should be doing, let us know in the comments – as professional photographers we are all in this together, so don’t keep that valuable ino to yourself 😉