Hi all! #TravelTuesday has come around again! Aren’t you lucky! That means I, Dave Williams, get to put down something for you to pick up and this week it’s all about how you, as a photographer, can make sure your website and/or blog succeeds!
Having a working and effective website is crucial. One element which I’ll focus on is SEO, that is Search Engine Optimisation. Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer in Tennessee – if you’re going to want people to find your website by searching the term ‘wedding photographer Tennessee’ then let’s be honest, there’s a good chance you won’t be #1 in the results. In fact when I searched that term just a moment ago only half of the results in page one were actual wedding photographers, the rest were agencies, blogs, media companies etc who had a good SEO and had posts containing those three words. As a point of note, the top four results were paid results or ads too!
In order to optimise your own SEO (rather than pay a company to do it for you) I recommend these points to consider: –
1 Update your content regularly!
Those little bot things that run around and scour the internet when you search on Google are looking for many things relating to your search term in order to decide which order to present their results in. One of those such criteria, and perhaps the most important one to differ you from other results containing the same keywords, is how relevant your site is to the person searching. A measure of relevance is how recently the site was updated because a fresh website is likely to indicate strong, relevant content. Be sure to keep updating!
2 Publish relevant content!
As above, that important word is ‘relevant.’ Quality content is the top SEO driver, and nothing substitutes that. We all know (even if we don’t practice what we preach) that having a one-track website is very important. We shouldn’t start talking about gardening in a blog post on our camera review website – it just doesn’t make sense. Fine tuning that principle, quality and relevant content created specifically for our intended audience increases our regular traffic. Take this site you’re on right now – people come and visit Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider daily or weekly because the content all ties in together. It’s relevant to the audience. Bear in mind that you want to drive further traffic through SEO, but having that base audience already present shows the little search bot things that you do have a trusted website and therefore are relevant for the search results, however also bear in mind that whilst you should be plugging keywords and phrases that you want people to be searching for in order to land on your website you should never sacrifice the quality of your content for SEO – and on a sidetone, you can use bold, italics, or other similar methods to emphasise these keywords or phrases to emphasise them to the viewer as well as the search engine.
One quick example, if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, is this: –
If you wrote a piece containing the best 5 spots to shoot in New York City, make sure your article contains within it the terms people may search for in order for your post to be relevant. Perhaps ‘the best places to photography in New York’ and ‘these are my favourite spots to shoot Manhattan’ are two such phrases to include naturally and flowing within your post.
Ok, I may or may not have made up that word, but you totally know what it means. So, two notes on links: – having a link, preferably reciprocated, between your site and another similar site demonstrates to the search engine that your site is relevant also, and that it is similar to another site which it will now associate to yours and consider for SEO rankings. The link to another site will benefit both. sites, but here’s the other thing; –
When you mask a URL behind the words ‘click here’ or something similar, you provide no value to the link other than the link itself. If I were to link to my own website and use a phrase like ‘check out my awesome travel photography‘ it will give a meaning and a value to the link within the search engine, applying terms to what is actually there through the other end of the link. Make sense? Also, I have no shame to that slight piece of shameless self promotion 😉
When you make a site, either on WordPress or something similar, or using HTML coding, you can implant Metadata. It’s contained within the <Head> of the page and it describes the site through keyboarding and descriptions. Make sure you use this to full effect by selecting a short list of keywords which relate to the content because this information is searched by search engines returning your site in the results!
Finally, everyones loves a list! You’ll notice when you search things online that there are a lot of top 5 this and top 10 that, and there’s a reason these lists are so popular, so just as I have in this post, make a list!
(ps, here’s a token photo)