The Most Important Tip For Running A Photo Blog

The Most Important Tip For Running A Photo Blog

The biggest mistake I see when reading a photographer’s blog is the choice of words used in blog page titles. The words you choose may be keeping your blog invisible to the world forever. It's not necessarily a "mistake" but typically not the optimal choice of words for search engines. A page title is typically an eight word or less attention grabber used to describe the article or blog post. This common denominator is severely hurting photographer’s Search Engine Optimization, a term commonly referred to as SEO. To put it plainly, SEO helps a search engine like Google understand what your website offers. For a photographer, a blog may be your quickest ticket to visibility online. If you are haphazardly conjuring up page titles, it may be the leading reason why you have low web traffic and poor rankings with Google. While there are many articles on SEO, this strictly adheres to a blog approach for photographers.

It’s a search engines job to pair your site with people’s searches in order of relevancy. This is all based on keywords found in different parts of your website that are both visible and invisible to the reader. If your site doesn’t follow basic SEO principles, you will have a harder time generating what’s referred to as “organic hits” from people searching for things like “Oregon Wedding Photography” or “Giant Stuffed Pink Panthers with Purple Socks.” To put it plainly, if you haven’t put methodical thought into keywording your Meta Tags, Content, Images, Headings, Titles, URL, or Links, then most likely your website and blog may be invisible. If you have no idea how those seven words relate to your website then this article will be a good starting point for learning the importance of page titles.

One Solution

Quite possibly the most effective and easiest thing you can do as a photographer is to put logical thought into keywording your blog titles. Let’s say I am an Oregon wedding photographer that posts two blog articles per month about my recent work. Let’s also assume that most of my blog titles read something like “Kim and Dave’s Awesome Day” or “Wedding Photos from Jon and Courtney's Wedding.” It’s safe to say that if you know Kim, Dave, Jon, or Courtney, you might click on the link and read the blog post if you happen to already be on the website or see it on Facebook. If however, you are a newly engaged couple looking for an awesome wedding photographer in Oregon, you will most likely never find the website. Why, you ask? It’s because you didn't put any thought into keywords or how they interact with search engines. Your site is basically a lost website of random words. Search results are formulaic, and if you don’t follow the keyword strategy, you may never rank high in people’s search results.

Label Everything

Now let’s pretend that I make one blog post per day with the page title “Beautiful Oregon Wedding Photography” or “Oregon Wedding Photographer” in the title. Let’s also pretend that every photo I upload to my blog is relabeled from “IMG_04929.jpg” to “Oregon_Wedding_Photography_©My Name_Website.jpg.” Let’s also assume that in my blog paragraph, I discuss Oregon, weddings, and photography in a few places and also embed links to other websites such as the venue where the wedding was. You’ve noticed that I used keywords in three parts of my website that convey location, adjective, and noun. It just so happens that these three words are what best describes what my business is, as well as a popular search term for what I offer. These keywords used in page titles, images, and paragraphs drastically improved my visibility with Google. One key thing to remember is that there are multiple categories that a search engine like Google searches for. Search, Images, Video, Shopping, etc. are just a few ways to filter and narrow your search results. It’s important to note that a search engine gives you more “points” for having external links to other websites, which is why it’s important to embed as many links as possible to relevant content. If these elements are part of your website and not labeled correctly, then Google has no way to find your content. To test this, search “IMG_001.jpg” under “images” in Google and look at the utter randomness in the results. The only thing these people have in common is that they don’t understand SEO. The photo atop my collage is by far my favorite “IMG_001.jpg” search result under “Google Images”. At the time I searched, this photo was number 1. If somehow you know this man, please give him a pat on the back or an "attaboy" for me. Also, if you have been wondering what the photo collage above is, or below, it's a grouping of my favorite images that appear in the image search on Google for IMG_001.jpg. Just image all of the permutations of IMG_XXX.jpg are floating around and clogging up the Interwebs.

fstoppers_SEO-Photo-Collage_Search-Engine-OptimizationGaryMartin_137

Be As Specific As Possible

It’s also important to keep in mind that the more specific your page titles, the more likelihood you will be found. In the example in the first paragraph I mentioned the title “Giant Stuffed Pink Panthers with Purple Socks,” which is a very specific search term with 7 words. It’s important to note that the more specific a title is, the more relevant your page becomes. Consider this when mixing up your creative titles like “Beautiful Sunset Oregon Wedding Photography” and “Full Day Wedding Packages in Portland Oregon.”

Conclusion

SEO is a powerful tool when used properly. It may seem daunting at first, even overwhelming to the non-techies, but I assure you that most photographers can master this topic on their own. If you are you first starting out, you will need to really understand the backend of your website and how it compliments your ability to label parts of your website effectively. If you are using something like Squarespace or Wordpress, it’s laid out pretty easily and there is a vast amount of support and K-Base articles to help. On the other hand, if you are using a custom built website, SEO might be more of a challenge to understand how SEO was built into the backend. I've seen plenty of websites that make it almost impossible for photographers to utilize SEO correctly. Every website is different, so contact the person who built it for a better understanding of how keywords are built into the backend.

For now, it’s important for you to focus on relevant page titles for your blog. If you follow these simple steps like understanding how keywords work and where to use them, you will begin to see serious results in as little as a few months. It may take a few months or more because there are most likely people in your area that are already using SEO to their advantage. Google considers time as a major part of the formula, so don’t expect this to happen overnight. All good things come to those who keyword consistently. For more information on more SEO tips and tricks, check out this FStoppers article by Nick Fancher called SEO tips for Photographers and another by Zach Sutton on Five Tips to Improve Your Photography Website.

What Strategies Are You Using?

How have you learned to leverage SEO in your favor? I would love to hear other people's strategies on this topic and opinions on different strategies.

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16 Comments

Great info to wrap my head around. I'm working on my site right now in WordPress and SEO has been on my mind.

Excellent, this was just what I was needing. I am kicking myself in the butt for having my site up for almost a year, and the SEO I thought I had in place was not doing a damn thing for me. I just spent the last 2 hours fixing what should have been fixed a long time ago. Can't wait to check SEOquake in a few days to see how my site is ranking :)

Eddie,

If you check SEO quake in the next few days, you are really unlikely to see any results. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, and will not happen overnight or over a few days. Successful SEO takes anywhere from 4-12 months to really start kicking in. You must allow google to look at your content, you must post effectively, and with each post correctly tagged and key worded, then you will begin to see results down the road. The hardest part is actually starting though! So keep up the good work!

Gary Martin's picture

Great Point to reiterate. It really just depends on your geography and your product/service. Step number one is to throw all of your keywords onto a board, or mind map, and then start searching and see what results you get. Testing them with google analytics is key. The service they provide for free is soooo great. Spend and entire week wrapping your head around it, watching tutorials, and reading how everything relates to each other. Then start plugging keywords into your blog. Eventually the best way to test if they are working is to search those keywords and variations and see how fat down in the list you appear.

As a marketing major in College, and as a self taught photographer over the last half decade, this information is always useful. For those out there that think this won't eventually help them in some way shape or form should simply start small and begin with your SEO. Every photographer wants to be booked so often that they have to turn clients down, and with SEO, your website, your business, your client base, and your photography skills and dreams will surely grow.

Gary some great information in this post. I have been looking for this info for along time and you have addressed a lot of my questions. One question I still have is what is your advice/the best practice when you are adding say over 10 images to a post. I often write a post with upto 30 images in it and at times run out of descriptive titles for my image titles. If you use a keyword in the filename of your images would this not have a negative SEO impact? For example "Grand-hotel-wedding-Bride" "Grand-Hotel-Wedding-Groom" etc etc you get my drift. What are your thoughts on image filenames for a page of photos that you want to target to a venue or location.

Gary Martin's picture

I don't think repetitive names are a bad thing and I do that all of the time. That just means more of your images would come up in a search and you may dominate the search results over time. I would ask myself would anyone search for "Grand Hotel Wedding Bride? I would be more specific with something like "Denver Colorado Grand Hotel Wedding ©My Name_My Website." Try and be specific as possible.

Thanks for your reply. It makes sense to me.

Absolutely! I recently got a very profitable job based on someone seeing an image of mine pop up in a google image search. Not only was it unexpected, but it was flattering because they were willing to fly to me to get the shoot done. Tag those images!

I don't understand how this works if you upload files to a system that changes the names to a database ID instead of it's original file name. This happens often with most hosting services.

Any good tips for Tumblr blog? I use Wordpress for my website but I prefer Tumblr for my blog.

Pretty much follow the same rule, it's what I've done with mine... I think, aha!

Cheers Josh!! :)

Cheers! Hope all is well, and hope that helps!

Excellent article! Thank you - this is very helpful!

I found this Video interesting for SEO propouses.

SEO for Images: Do not ignore
http://goo.gl/RTkBWY