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SEO For Photographers doesn’t have to be overwhelming!
As a photographer, ranking on page one of Google is the promised land! Once you get onto page one a steady stream of traffic will be hitting your website & the result should be customers getting in touch to book you.
I used to think search engine optimization (SEO) was a dark art only mastered by tech geniuses buried in a server room. For hours, I tinkered, read posts, tinkered some more, and tried to find the silver bullet that would increase my google ranking and get me on the front page. Over the last 9 years of being a wedding & elopement photographer, I’ve paid for courses from experts, watched countless youtube videos & read more blogs than I care to remember.
Over my long journey, I have discovered that what most people will tell you about SEO is pointless. It tends to focus on overly technical nuances that take hours to implement but, in real terms, only have a minimal impact. I frequently talk to people who have got lost down the rabbit hole of SEO. They spend hours on some obscure technique that only has a slight impact on their rankings.
You don’t need to be an SEO expert to rank on Google!!!
I am interested in the few simple things that I can do, quickly and efficiently, that will have the greatest impact on my SEO. It helped me to remember the Pareto principle. 20% of what I do has 80% of the impact. I set out to find the 20% of things I can do to move the dial on my Google rankings significantly. I discovered that you didn’t need to be an SEO expert or spend hours and hours fine-tuning. You need these three simple techniques that you can do today, giving you incredible results.
When you boil down all the SEO info out there into the stuff that actually will make an impact, these 3 simple ideas are what matters!
1. The 3 Second Rule!
If you snooze, you lose. That’s right. When it comes to Google rankings, speed is critical.
Google is in the service business, and it wants to provide the best website results to its customers. That means for your site to show up on the first Google search page, it has to load in less than three seconds. Why three seconds? Because that’s all the patience, we have. If it takes longer than three seconds for a website to load, your potential customer has already moved away and clicked on your competitor’s link. Google knows that and as it wants to provide great service it will only rank fast loading sites.
As photographers, we can complain about that, or we can build our sites, so they load like lightning!
For photographers, that means we have to be ruthless with images on our site—quality, not quantity. If having fifty high-definition images means your site takes five seconds to load, then it’s time to ditch them. Having ten images on your front page rather than your best three might mean your potential customer has given up waiting and logged off. Curate your photos, don’t overload them. Less is more!!!!
I’m about to say something that some of you may consider scandalous; just bear with me. You don’t need the highest quality images on your website. Now, I know we’re photographers, and the images’ quality is critical to us; however, the vast majority of your customers will not notice if you reduce the quality slightly. It’s a payoff between website speed and the size of the image. I’m not saying just chuck up any pixelated photo, but I am saying be aware of the payoff, check your site loading speed and if need be, cull the images.
There is a lot of help out there to aid us in this process. Sites like GTmetrics help you check your page’s loading speed so you can keep it under three seconds. You can also use programs like JPEGmini to reduce the size of your images before you upload them to your site. Remember, speed is king.
2. Be the popular kid!
In school, there was always a popular kid. They were the ones that everyone wanted to be associated with, hang out around, and have at their party.
In the world of SEO, Google wants to hang around the popular kid. They find out who that is by checking backlinks. Backlinks are links to your website on someone else’s website. Google uses it as a way of seeing who is trustworthy and has authority.
THE MORE GENUINE BACKLINKS YOU HAVE TO YOUR SITE, THE MORE GOOGLE WILL LOVE YOU!
In the SEO terminology, this is referred to as Domain Authority, it’s a score out of 100, big websites like bbc.co.uk has a score of 93 and a big wedding blog like Style Me Pretty is 83. A brand new website starts at 0.
If you want to find out your Domain Rating you can check out with services like AHREFS or SEMRush. They do a lot of other really amazing things for SEO and are well worth looking at as they are great SEO tools for photographers.
The sooner you start getting backlinks & increasing your Domain Authority the easier it will be for you to rank on google.
That’s good to know, but how do we go about getting backlinks on other people’s sites?
4 Ways To Start Getting Genuine Backlinks To Your Photography website Today!
Share your images with vendors.
If you’re doing a wedding, there will be a whole stack of other vendors involved in the day— florists, makeup, dresses, catering, musicians, celebrants, limo drivers, and venue hire. I was at a wedding once where they had fire eaters.
Each of these vendors will have a website, and that helps you. After the event, you can email each of the vendors and send over a photo of them in action or of what they made.
You can let them know that they can use that image on their website, totally free. Your only requirement is they put a link back to your website where they use the images. If you do that for each event, you can pick up multiple backlinks each time.
There are masses of online magazines and blogs that feature weddings.
Each of these is a possibility for backlinks. If you can get featured on a site that Google ranks highly, it can do wonders for your own ranking. How to get featured? Go to the wedding blog that you want to be featured on, find their submit a wedding page, and do what they require. If they say no, do it again with a different blog. If you don’t give up, someone will feature you. Some great wedding blogs to get your work featured on are:
There are lots of others too.
Another great and possibly easier way to get a backlink by being featured is on websites such as Lookslikefilm or Beloved Stories when they create roundup blog posts of their most like images from their Facebook groups. Sometimes they even ask for images of certain things and you just need to submit an image that matches their criteria. Easy backlinks galore!
Pay for vendor listings
I’ll put a caution on this. When I say ‘pay for listings,’ I don’t mean dodgy, fake backlinks you can buy for 99p. Google frowns on that, and it’s a great way of your site getting dumped down the rankings. Let me just say that one more time, just incase you missed it.
DO NOT PAY FOR DODGY FAKE BACKLINKS!!! THEY WILL BE LIKE POISON TO YOUR DOMAIN AUTHORITY IN THE LONG TERM!
You can pay to be listed on wedding blogs such as Junebug, Lookslikefilm, Wandering Weddings, and many others. These sort of links can be great plus if people click through to your site from them that’s extra potential customers coming through.
Post your links on Social Media
Every time you blog you should be sharing the link on Pinterest, Instagram (if you have 10k followers you can do swipe up in the Instastories or link in your bio if not), Facebook, Ello & Twitter. The great thing about Pinterest is that if your pin gets popular it can be repinned hundreds of times meaning your link is on hundreds of people’s profiles.
Just a final note on social media and backlinks. Google has decided that although backlinks on social media sites are okay, they are not as valuable as regular websites, so go prioritize them over social media.
3. Valuable Content is King!
The final way to quickly and simply boost your Google rankings is by writing keyword-targeted articles. In my opinion, this is THE most important factor because Google really is trying to serve its users well and it wants to give them the most helpful, accurate, and useful answers to their questions. If you really want to rank start bringing valuable, helpful information to the table. Google will LOVE you!
Trust me, this is easier than it sounds. A keyword is something that someone will type into Google. Like, ‘how to plan a destination wedding in Greece’ or ‘what are the best wedding venues in Sydney’. Our goal is to write articles that answer the question our potential customers will be asking. The trick is to make sure that the keywords are not such a niche that it’s not worth the effort of writing the post. You want a term that has enough search volume to give you a decent amount of traffic to your site. There’s no point ranking number one for a keyword with less than 10 searches per month.
The easiest way to understand this is by thinking of the taps in your bathroom. If you want to fill a bucket and one tap is dripping slowly, and one tap is on full, which tap do you use? That’s how keyword searches work. Some searches are super popular and some are not. Ideally, you want to stick your bucket under the tap with the most water!
I could write a beautiful article on the keywords ‘ gothic-themed weddings in Tanzania’. However, if there are only 10 searches on ‘gothic-themed weddings in Tanzania’ every month, then it’s going to take me a long time to fill my bucket. Alternatively, if I wrote an article on ‘best place for an elopement,’ there will be thousands of monthly searches on those keywords. The more searches on a keyword, the greater the chance my article will get noticed, and someone will click on my site.
It’s better to have 10% of the traffic from a keyword that has a thousand searches per month than 100% of the traffic for something that gets 7 searches per month.
You don’t have to be Shakespeare to write a post; it just needs to be clear and informative. Start writing answers to the queries your ideal clients are searching for. A good place to do some keyword research is a website called Answer The Public, if you type in the word “wedding dresses” it will give you all the questions people are asking online about that topic. That would give you some great ammo to get started on a blog post.
If you hate the thought of writing, I get you! I used a ghostwriter to write this blog post! It was so easy, they just interviewed me on this topic and came back with 90% of what you just read. All I did was tweak a few bits here and there so it felt authentic to me. If you’d like to know who I use to write for me just get in touch or ask in my Facebook group.
There you have it, three ways you can boost your Google rankings! I’ve done each of these and have seen my ranking skyrocket.
The 5 Mistakes Most Wedding Photographers Are Making On Their Websites!
After helping hundreds of photographers to level up their websites through my workshops & mentoring sessions I see the same mistakes time & time again. If these mistakes are happening on your website you are losing out on a lot of bookings! Download my free guide now and make sure that you aren’t making them on your website!!! Click HERE to download now.
More Education for Wedding Photographers!
Hey, thanks for reading this far! My name is Rob Dight, I’m an elopement photographer & educator in Ireland. I help photographers to take better photos, make more money, run better businesses & live happier lives.
If you’d like to learn more game-changing stuff I’d LOVE for you to join my mailing list, I send out weekly tips designed to help you level up! You can sign up HERE.
If you’re on Facebook I have a free education group that’s open to photographers of every level. Click HERE to join. It’s a great community where you can ask questions, share referrals & learn from my weekly live videos.