Photography SEO: Search Engine Optimization for Photography Websites

We are so excited to have a guest post for you all today on something most, if not all, of us struggle with:  Photography SEO: Search Engine Optimization for Photography Websites. We all wish we could just take the beautiful photographs, publish the blog posts and websites and that was the end of it, but there’s so much more you need to do to get your photography work out there and noticed! We certainly are not experts on this topic so we brought you someone that is! We’ve known our friend Erin since we were all kids and she has years of experience in this area; she’s here to give you all the info you need to optimize your photography website. Thanks so much for your time and expertise, Erin! We know our readers will appreciate it!

xo, Lisa and Rachel 

Photography SEO: Search Engine Optimization for Photography Websites

It is an honor to be contributing to Life + Lens Blog! I am also excited to be writing about optimizing a photography website, erin for madd marketing on life and lens blogor Photography SEO. I enjoy educating my clients about optimizing their own websites and blogs, and this gives me an opportunity to reach a greater audience.

First, a little about who I am and what I do — I work at MaddMarketing LLC, which is a small business based out of Dallas, TX specializing in building mobile-responsive WordPress websites and maintaining digital assets for our clients.

On a daily basis, I am developing websites from soup to nuts – writing content, optimizing images and content for search engines, maintaining these websites, training clients, and more.

So, what exactly is Photography SEO and what is the best way to go about optimizing a photography website?

As a website developer, I always try to place user experience first – making a site easy to navigate. For a photographer’s website, much of this includes showing beautiful images, educating the visitor to the type of photography you specialize in, some information about you, and how to contact you.

Photography SEO tips

However, if you want to grow your online photography business, gain website traffic and rankings, and reach paying customers, you will want to optimize your website by focusing on the basics of Photography SEO. The reality is though, many people struggle to do this themselves, and often enlist a specialist or an agency who specialises in seo for photographers. This is definitely a valid route, but it’s also OK to try and do it yourself!

Let me first start by explaining what we call on-page technical SEO. The following list includes the basics of on-page technical SEO for optimizing a photography website, which I recommend implementing on ALL pages and blog posts.

Word Counts – Each page should ideally have 300-500 unique words. Google looks for duplicate content and having it will negatively affect your ranking.  This may (or may not!) seem like a tall order on photography websites, when images are your main focus. However, this is an important piece of Photography SEO.

Don't forget to include your location! (1)

Meta Description – This is the two-line snippet that appears in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) such as Google. Think of this piece of Photography SEO as a marketing tool to entice viewers to click on your link!

SEO Page Title – This is the page title that appears in SERPs. Best practices here are to use the page title that you used as well as your brand.

Keyword Density – This is the number of times the focus keyword for that page is included in the content. The Google ranking algorithm is now honoring synonyms in many cases, which is great. Be careful not to “stuff” the page with keywords or Google will discount you for that. The page’s keyword phrase should be included in the SEO page title, meta description, and the image alt tag.

Internal links – Include at least one link to a page within your website. This keeps users on your site longer and interlinks your website pages. Consider a link to your Contact page, or a similar photo shoot that showcases your talents in that area.

External links – Consider a link to the venue of the photography shoot, or the makeup artist, or the stores in which the client purchased their outfits. This has benefits of helping your rankings.

Image ALT Tags – These are so very important to Photography SEO (well, all SEO)! An ALT tag, or Alternative Text, is a hidden tag, that tells search engines what the image depicts. Imagine that a visually impaired person was on your website and the computer is reading aloud the description of your images. What would it say? I recommend placing a description of the image, and then adding the page keywords, as well as your branding.

Image File Name – The file name of each image should be reflective of the image description. For example, “DSC0001.jpg” is not a descriptive filename, where “Smith-Family-Dallas-Zoo-February-2016.jpg” is descriptive.

Don't forget to include your location! (2)

To optimize an existing photography website, start with your main, core website page, and then move on to your blog. If you have a WordPress website, I highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin. It makes on-page technical SEO very simple. Here is another article from Yoast about Photography SEO that goes into some great detail about how to optimize your photography website to get rankings on images.

How do I Find out the health of my current website?

A good place to start is with Webmaster Tools, which is free. MaddMarketing can also perform a website audit and site analysis for you, which will give you a detailed explanation of how your photography website looks from an on–page technical SEO standpoint. Another good thing to do here is hire an SEO company to do the audit for you. They will have access to software and tools that you wouldn’t – and can often do a comprehensive audit for less than $1,000.

An important note for photographers about image sizing and website speed. Image sizes are extremely important in Photography SEO. A good rule of thumb for all images you want to place your website is to bring the file size down as much as possible while preserving quality. At MaddMarketing, we try to get all images as close to (or below) 100K as possible.. If your homepage alone is over 5 MB in size, you may want to check the individual image sizes and take some time to decrease each one. It might be worth consulting with an agency such as http://fusionvegas.com on this front, as image optimisation can be a difficult one to achieve.

Don't forget to include your location! (3)

These days, you will lose website traffic if your page(s) take too long to load, and Google is now factoring in page speed into their ranking algorithms. You can check the speed and size of any page on your website at Pingdom.com for free. If your site is image-heavy, a couple other suggestions would be to consider a Content Delivery Network (CDN) or a caching plugin to help speed up your site. There is so much more that I could write about optimizing a photography website, but on-page technical SEO is a great place to get started.

Finally, I want to address the million dollar question: How do I get higher rankings and drive more traffic to my website? First, perform on-page technical SEO to each page on your photography website. Then, consistently add good quality, relevant, and unique content – not just images from your latest shoot. Over time, this will increase your rankings and digital presence. A blog is a great way to take advantage of this to further optimize a photography website. The long answer involves keyword research, about which I could write an entire article. Keyword research is a great next step after optimizing your current photography website. 

Where to find Madd Marketing, LLC:

Website: www.maddmarketing.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaddMarketing/