Anyone who does business on the internet knows that SEO (search engine optimization) is an essential part of growing the business. Good SEO, which includes incorporating keywords into your website copy, can boost your biz by helping potential clients find you.

The internet is a loud arena. Everyone is vying for attention, so how does someone like yourself, a photographer growing your business, get noticed? That’s where SEO steps in.

SEO might seem scary and confusing at first, but it’s a valuable tool and worth learning. Besides, it’s not that confusing when broken down and explained in ways that anyone can understand. And although your photographs will stand as works of art, you still need a beacon of light to guide people to them.

SEO is an extensive topic, and you can find tons of guides, books, and websites that lead you on the winding path and deep into the inner workings of search engine optimization. But the tips outlined here are a good place to start and will act as the building blocks of your SEO practice.

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Tip #1: Optimize All of Your Images

This is a simple step, but it is essential if you want potential clients to find you and stick around long enough to contact you.

Before you upload your photos to your website you’ll need to optimize them. This just means saving your images in a reduced size (without decreasing quality) so that your website doesn’t get bogged down, load slowly, and use up mobile data (for all those people who do most of their browsing on their phones). All of this ultimately affects your SEO strategy, as it can lead to a high bounce rate (people leaving your site), slow loading times, and low ranking.

Flothemes has an extensive tutorial on how to optimize your images for the web. You’ll particularly want to pay attention to the section titled “Optimizing and Saving Images for Web”.

Tip #2: Use Alt Tags and Titles

After you’ve uploaded your photos, you’ll then need to label them with alt tags and titles. Alt tags act as descriptions for your images, which ultimately allow search engines to find and recognize them. Without an alt tag, your photo might as well not even be there, as the search engines cannot read images on their own.

For the best results, use descriptive keywords that provide information about the photo. Google provides this example:

  • Bad (missing alt text): <img src="puppy.jpg" alt=""/>
  • Bad (keyword stuffing): <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="puppy dog baby dog pup pups puppies doggies pups litter puppies dog retriever labrador wolfhound setter pointer puppy jack russell terrier puppies dog food cheap dog food puppy food"/>
  • Better: <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="puppy"/>
  • Best: <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="Dalmatian puppy playing fetch"/>

When you apply alt tags to your photos you help potential clients find you through search terms. That may lead to Pinterest saves, more exposure, and new clients.

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Tip #3: Understand and Use Keywords

Just as keywords in your image alt tags help people find you, keywords within your web copy can also help bring in potential clients.

To understand and implement keywords relevant to your photography business, you’ll need to do some keyword research, find the most searched, and use those terms in your webpage copy, headlines, and blog posts.

Free tools like Adwords can help you find the kinds of terms people are searching for. You can then incorporate those terms, as well as others relevant to your business, in your SEO strategy.

For an in-depth look on how to research, find, and use photography keywords, read Prime Focus Lab’s article on How to Organize Photography Keywords for SEO.

Tip #4: Create High Quality Content

Your photography website is not only a place for potential clients to peruse your portfolio and learn about your services, but it’s a place to entertain and educate those people. A simple way to achieve that goal is to maintain a blog on your site. This not only engages your audience/ideal clients, but helps your site rank well with search engines.

Ideally, blog posts should be high quality and consistent, contain keywords, and be easy to read and understand. The topic can be anything relevant to your photography business. You can take a look through my blog posts to get an idea on how to create content. Since I’m a wedding photographer, I share information with both potential clients (future wedded couples) and photographers.

For the best results, make sure your posts include:

  • Catchy titles
  • 1-3 keywords
  • Readability (short paragraphs and sentences, bullet points, subheads, lists, etc.)
  • Your images (1-3)

Your content should be original and reflect your voice and style. Good blog posts will bring people in through SEO, showcase your work, and help clients not only expand their knowledge, but learn more about you and your business.

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Tip #5: Link In and Out

Quality links, both within your website and from outside sources, will boost your search engine ranking. But the keyword here is quality. That means linking to and getting backlinks from reputable websites. You can do this in a number of ways.

Link within your website: Drive traffic to other parts of your site like your services page, related blog posts, contact page, mailing list sign up, etc.

Link to outside sources: This might mean giving a shout out/credit to wedding vendors you’ve worked with, blogs you enjoy and trust, and other photographers. Not only does this help out other businesses, but provides an opportunity to receive backlinks and shares.

Collect quality backlinks: A backlink is a lead from another website. When they come from trusted, quality sites, these backlinks can boost your ranking and bring in ideal clients. You can get backlinks by investing in sponsored blog posts, guest posting on your favorite blogs (where you’ll provide a link back to your site in your bio), submitting your photos to popular blogs, and sharing on social media and forums.

The point isn’t to rack up a bunch of links from unreliable sources, but to build relationships and bring quality traffic your way.

Implementing an SEO strategy may seem daunting at first, and there is a bit of time you’ll need to invest, but doing so will separate you from the photographers whose websites go unnoticed. Break your SEO strategy into chunks and take it one step at a time. You don’t have to get it all done right now. But now that you know the essentials, you can start incorporating these tips into your daily business practices.

Related: How to Use Social Media to Bring in New Photography Clients

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