Does the acronym ‘SEO’ make you break out in a cold sweat? Do you run screaming in the other direction? SEO, or search engine optimization, has a tendency to strike fear in the hearts of most creative entrepreneurs. It can be an overwhelming topic, and because of that it often becomes one of those things that business owners know they should work on, but don’t or won’t dedicate time to.
When you do invest time in improving your SEO on your website, it can do wonders for your business. When you have a question or are looking for something, what do you do? You may ask your friends, but you’ll likely also do a Google search. Getting your website to appear on the first page of Google, and even better, in the first few search results, can get you in front of thousands more people who are searching for the exact service you provide. And more leads, likely means more bookings. Who wouldn’t want that!?
Still not convinced? A couple years ago, I decided to double down on my SEO. Nothing crazy; just spend a little more time on it and make a conscious effort to get more traffic to my site. In nine months, I went from page seven of Google to page ONE. And guys: it was not hard! It takes time and dedication, but it is NOT difficult.
SEO is definitely a marathon and not a sprint, but it’s a marathon that’s extremely worth while. If you’re a photographer ready to up-level your business, drive more people to your site, get more inquiries and book more clients, keep reading!
1. Audit your current site
If you haven’t touched your website in months–or years!–change that now. I’ll see this a million times, but Google loves fresh content, and a website that hasn’t been updated in three years is not fresh content. Go through and audit your current site with a fine tooth comb. Here are some things to look for:
- Old information, like pricing or service offerings that no longer apply to your business.
- Old images – your website should be a reflection of your current portfolio, and only your VERY BEST images. If you don’t love it, it goes.
- Old pages that don’t make sense with your current business. If you have pages dedicated to services that you no longer offer, or blog posts that don’t make sense for your business anymore (or showcase really old work that isn’t your favorite), get rid of them.
Be ruthless and get rid of anything that doesn’t make sense any more. Your website probably doesn’t need to be 100+ pages, so get picky with only putting your very best content out there. If you’re scared to delete it, just save the page or post as a draft for now and decide what to do with it later.
2. Determine site keywords
When I talk about search engine keywords with other folks in the creative industry, I’m usually met with a blank stare. But this is the easy part! Answer this question: when your ideal customer is searching for you on Google, what are they likely searching? Really put on your consumer hat here–or even talk with some of your current clients!
Oftentimes as passionate creatives we make this more complicated than it needs to be. If you offer custom, high end boutique portraiture, that’s awesome. But … is that what your ideal client is searching for? Maybe it is! But maybe your ideal client is searching ‘family picture photographer in my city’ or ‘senior pics near me.’ The answer is going to be similar but different depending on the niche of your business, which is why it can be really helpful to chat with people who are already investing in and loving your business.
Once you’ve determined the keywords you want to rank for, it’ll be even easier to determine what kinds of content you should be posting on your site. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer wanting to rank for ‘wedding photographer in city‘ you’ll likely want to be blogging about wedding-related topics. Just be aware that when you’re writing this content, Google is smart. If you’re ‘keyword stuffing,’ or using keywords in your content unnaturally to boost SEO, Google will know.
Chances are you don’t want to hear this answer but it is soooo important! Seriously, I’m stomping my feet and waving all the praise hands over here. You HAVE to blog. Remember how Google likes fresh content? The best way to achieve this is through blogging. Yes, we may prefer to get content through Instagram videos and Facebook lives and other fast forms of social media, but when it comes to SEO, blogging is far from dead – it is alive and well and can get so many more people to your site. Honestly, I credit blogging with 90% of my website growth when I was scampering to get to the first page of Google. Nothing fancy or crazy, ya’ll – just blogging as regularly as I could manage.
4. Optimize URL Structure
When in comes to SEO, Google likes to see keywords close to the ‘.com.’ Sounds easy right? But if your blog posts look more like this:
then you’re not getting as much bang for your SEO buck. This is a super easy thing you can fix to make Google dig your site a little more. Get rid of those dates and make sure your URLs are reflective of the topic of the post, and include keywords when possible.
Carving out just a little bit of time in your marketing strategy to focus on SEO is so much easier than most people think it is, and can make a huge difference when it comes to the bottom line of your business. Take an hour a week and start working away at this list, and I’m positive you’ll start seeing results!