Search Engine Optimization
"What I Wish I Knew Sooner"
PSA: I am not an expert by any means on this, but wanted to share what I have learned through my own research so far!
This day and age, we really are blessed to have all of the tools of technology at our disposal... BUT it does pose an issues that EVERYONE has these tools! Being new to the game as a photographer (even 4 year in) has many obstacles. Growing a business can be hard freaking work! Here I am FOUR year later realizing I do not show up in online image searches. I kind of just assumed that my photos that I've added just knew where to go on the internet... well, I'm here to say, that is NOT the case. How do I find other photographers or photo locations? Well, I google search what I am looking for and BAM, so many big photographers pop up. They're been doing this SEO thing right... for much longer than myself. I am literally just getting started and it IS time consuming if you have as much content as my that hasn't been *described*. More on that in the next paragraph.
Think of how the internet doesn't have eyes. The internet and search engines like Google, cannot see what you've posted. BUT it can read and *see* sentences. I have a wonderful website host, Pixieset, which has a website creator. They make SEO easy. Every place that you need to "describe" something they have a fill in box for. At the end of website creation you can even run a check to see where you are lacking.... well.... in my case.... EVERY. SINGLE. PHOTO. Literally hundreds. Try sitting at the computer long enough to write a detailed sentence, thats short enough to fit into the character limited box, while also including some specific key words.... AND taking care of a 2.5 year old thats teething. haha.... This is my life right now.
I am sure big photographer's can & do hire someone to do their tedious tasks, such as SEO, social media content creation and what not, but I choose to do all of this myself. First of all, I like feeling the accomplished after completing more tasks than I can really handle... I strive through the chaos. Really. I do it so well. Two, as a mom of three and our family running two businesses, its not really in the budget to hire. Have you seen self employment tax?! It sucks.
Anyways, if you are like me, you do it ALL for your business. Here are tips on SEO I wish I knew sooner.
1.) Long Tail keywords / phrases for your SEO.
This is important as the market is already SO oversaturated. Say we all do a session at Cooper Mountain Nature Park Session (or similar) and we just label the photo as such. Well.... There's bound to be many other labeled as such and who have had their's there for a long time already. BUT if we write " Intimate family session at Cooper Mountain Nature Park" - now thats a little more specific and the pool of results will be smaller. Same for branding your own photography... "PNW Photographer" is going to be SO competitive. But, "Intimate PNW Photographer" may be a better describing factor to at least get you up the list some.
2.) ALT Text for your photos
We ARE ALL ABOUT PHOTO SHARING as photographers! Right! We gotta use those to gain some traction here and like I said above, if you aren't describing those photos then they aren't even coming up in search engines! They cannot see them. Alt Text is meant to describe the photo but not in basic terms of "maternity session at Hoyt Arboretum" - again, to basic and limited. Think of how you'd describe it to a blind person. ex.) "Husband standing behind wife in a spring dress while he caresses her 36 week pregnant belly" - okay much better. But now, what about key words that can direct us to a specific location someone may be searching? Ex.) "Husband standing behind wife in a spring dress while he caresses her 36 week pregnant belly during Hoyt Arboretum Maternity Session." - okay now thats what we call optimized. It is describing the photo nicely while also adding specific search terms. Whew... Now that's a lot to fit into a limited character box. You have to get creative for sure.
3.) Photo Name
While doing research I also found some information saying that the file name is ALSO important. Well shit, I name my files with the family name usually.... I don't really want to go back and rename them all, so I won't do that, BUT moving forward I am going to name files by what they are..... "Hoyt Arboretum Maternity Session 1" or something similar. I usually use family names because I can't upload duplicate names on my website and portfolios. Hence, I will add numbers to the location/session type name now.
I hope some of these tips are helpful and teach ou some marketing tips that you didn't already know!
I wish I would have known them way sooner and then I'd be a little ahead of the game.
I plan to make some more blog posts on "What I wish I knew Sooner".