For several years I've enjoyed top-10 and front page ranking on Google. Needless to say, I'm often asked, "how'd you do that?" and "can you do that for me?"
While I don't think there is a "silver bullet" that will get you front page ranking, there are a lot of steps you can take to improve your search engine ranking. Things like page titles, keywords, relevant content and setting search engine optimization as an objective to your efforts. Think about it… sure, your content needs to address current and potential clients, but how do you attract them to your site? If you don't have an unlimited budget for marketing and the resources to drive traffic to your site, you need to incorporate and practice good SEO habits.
First, consider what the visitor sees and what the search engine sees. It's probably two different things. And, if you're a photographer posting a couple galleries and a bio, neither your visitors or the search engines is going to see much. Potential clients need more information than a couple portfolios of 20-30 photos. That's nice for impressing other photographers, but it's not going to get the job done. And search engines… here's a tip… don't see pictures. A picture may be a 1000 words to you and me, but not to a Google spider. This is where you need to think about keywords, page titles and relevant content.
In reality, your core design should start with architecture addressed directly to Search Engine Optimization. I can't stress the importance of this enough. If people aren't finding you in the search engines… well, let's just say "you can't preach to an empty tent." You have to get found.
Of course, once you're found, your content needs to be relevant, interesting, great looking and easy to navigate.
Look, if all this is starting to give you a headache, hire someone to do it. You're a photographer. Go and take photos. Leave web design to the pros. Sure, I know you know Photoshop and I know you've got a killer logo and watermark smack in the middle of all your photos… sorry grasshopper, comparitively, you're skills at this are no better than the photo skills of those folks you see walking around with point n' shoots. The fact that you and a couple of your photographer buddies think it looks cool doesn't mean squat. If this is your business, treat it like business and get it done right.
Oh, and for all you snappers out their that think your Flash site totally rocks… start over. You missed the basics.
The folks at Photoshelter have released a new addition to their series of knowledge kits, Google Analytics for Photographers. It is a guide to getting the most from your photography site using Google's Analytics. (in the interest of full disclosure, your's truly is featured in the guide.)
Google Analytics is a free and extremely powerful service that provides data on how visitors interact with your website. Savvy photographers use it to support business and marketing decisions. Photoshelter's knoweldge kit covers exactly what photographers must do to implement and make sense of Google Analytics.
Google Analytics for Photographers, breaks down everything you need to know about using Google Analytics to sell more photography and book more work from your photography website.
Photoshelter knoweldge kits provide a guide to ways you can increase your website traffic and grow your photography business through SEO. Seriously, these kits are must-have information for all photographers serious about self promotion and online marketing
The other kit you'll want is the Photographer's SEO Cookbook. PhotoShelter's research presents a simple guide to everything you can do to get found by search engines and improve your photography website's search rankings. They consulted with top SEO experts to help unlock SEO mysteries and share the best possible actionable information with the photographic community.
The kit includes videos and a "cookbook" on how to prepare and execute a SEO strategy for your photography website. It covers every tactic, on and off the web page, that you can use to help the search engines find you and your photos. This guidance is ideal for any photographer who wants better search engine results, no matter who handles your photo hosting. And the best part, there is no technical experience needed.
Don't shrug this off. Search engines like Google are your most powerful online marketing tool. Getting top search engine results is the best way to promote a photography website, attract new visitors, sell more photos, and book new assignments.
Take stock in this journal entry. I'm always happy to share photo tips. Business tips…. not so much. So, take this one for what its worth.