There’s a lot of research out there on the web when it comes to SEO keyword research – almost everyone has something to say on the subject, and information from one site often contradicts information from the other.
We’ve spent a lot of time doing keyword research and analyzing the effectiveness of SEO keyword research techniques here at Photographer Marketing Academy, and we’ve done it all with photographers in mind. Although no SEO marketer can say 100% that he has the right answer all the time, we believe we’ve hit on a powerful method of using keywords to boost photographers’ SEO – and that’s focusing on the specifics.
Let’s be honest – no SEO marketing firm, no matter how great it is at what it does, can optimize a site or page for every keyword that could bring customers to the site. Doing keyword research involves figuring out which search terms will bring the most customers the most often, instead of scattering the limited resources that SEO marketers and small photography business have.
We’ve found that the best way to find the search terms that work the best is to aim for specifics. For example, the search term “photography” is never going to work as a keyword. Why? There are several reasons:
The competition for the keyword “photography” is too high for a small business to fight for dominance of this term and come out on top. There will always be a bigger business that includes photography services – it’s best not to try to compete with international corporations when it comes to SEO.
People rarely search for something as general as “photography” anymore. Rather, they search for something more specific like “wedding photography in Topeka.” Even if they do simply search for “photography,” Google’s location based search results will favor local results for their SERPs, and Google (or one of its competitors) will likely suggest more specific search terms like “wedding photography” – which users are likely to use when their more general searches don’t turn up the results they really want.
The upshot of all this is that a photography firm (or an SEO marketing team who works on behalf of a photography firm or individual photographer) must use those more specific search queries as potential keywords. For example, if you’re primarily a wedding photographer, you should have “wedding photography” optimized as much as possible throughout your site!
You should also take location into account, and use your geographic location as often as possible in conjunction with words and phrases like “photography” and “wedding photography.” This will help you win at local SEO, which is where you’re going to pull in the most clients anyway.
You’ll also want to use a wider variety of keyword phrasing when you’re focusing on specifics – for example, it’s probably equally likely that a potential client will search either “wedding photography in Topeka” or “Topeka wedding photography” – and the upshot of that is that your site should be optimized for both (if not more).
When it comes to online content, there are two things that Google and consumers want: immediacy and relevance.
Nobody is interested in looking at your sample photographs or reading your blog posts from five years ago, and Google knows that – so it (and its competitors) prioritize websites with content from the very recent past – often from the very same day the search is made. Many SEO gurus term this the “fresh factor.” This is where the immediacy comes in.
Now for the relevance: you don’t want to fill your photography blog with non-photography-related content. You don’t want to use your personal Facebook account primarily for photography marketing on social media and you certainly shouldn’t use your business Facebook for personal activities. Readers (and search engines) want to see content that is related to the keywords and links used to optimize it for search engines – not content that is unrelated or, worse, just plain awful.
So what does all this mean for you? It’s simple:
You should create fresh content for all of your online properties (including your main site, your blog, your business Facebook and other social media accounts, etc.) every day or at least as often as you can.
For some properties, such as Twitter and Instagram accounts, it makes sense to update even more often – sometimes as many as three times a day.
While you’re doing this, you should also check external properties such as Google or Yelp – they may have new reviews or similar content available that need your attention. Also check your reviews and messages on Facebook at least once a day.
While you have to be professional, your clients and potential clients want to feel like they’re interacting with a real person – that there’s a heart beating behind the computer screen they’re using to review or contact you. You have to create fresh content and interact with them so that you become a living, breathing person to them – not just another web site.
Remember, when you’re responding to reviews, always be professional. Never react defensively to a bad review – instead, let the customer know you’re fixing the problem, and contact them privately to see if there’s anything you can do to make them feel better.
While you’re busy creating all this content, remember that in addition to being immediate, it has to be relevant. So make sure it’s good and you’re really putting your best effort into it.
Always remember the old SEO axiom: content is king.
If you keep all of these tips in mind and truly update your properties as often as you can, you’ll be sure to find success much more quickly than most photographers trying to sell their services online.
And if this all seems to be too much to handle in addition to doing what you do best – always remember that there are professional marketers to help you with SEO, social media, and similar activities that help you promote your photography business online.
Let’s face it, guys. Social media is the “word of mouth” of the 21st century. It’s how customers get to know business owners and freely exchange information about a business, but is much faster and more effective than conventional “word of mouth.” It’s also quite a bit easier for businesses to control.
We’ve mentioned in many of our blog posts here at Photographer Marketing Academy how important professional social media profiles can be to helping you build your photography business, but this post is going to be devoted solely to exploring ways social media can be used to bring you clients on autopilot.
How does social media help with SEO?
Each social media account you create gives your photography business another chance to appear on the first results page for Google and/or other major search engines.
Each account also gives you a way to directly and personally market to individual potential clients while keeping in contact with all of your existing and former clients.
What social media platforms should I be using to market my photography business?
Any major social media platform can and should be used for marketing; these include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You may also want to look at social media sites such as Google Plus and Pinterest.
This article will primarily focus on Facebook and Instagram because these are two of the best to get you photography clients.
What’s good about Facebook and how do I use it?
One of the first things you should do after getting a photography portfolio together is create a Facebook page for your business. Facebook has great instructions and tips for creating business pages, which are a little different from regular pages.
Upload some of the best shots from your portfolio to your business page, fill out the necessary information, make it public, and then invite your friends to join (and encourage them to invite their friends, and so on and so on).
Facebook helps by giving your business a personal, albeit professional, face to the world. It’s also a great way for potential clients to ask questions about your business, such as “What are your hours?” or “Do you shoot in a given location?”
Facebook has wonderful features like an instant messaging system and an opportunity for customers to review your business (which you should always encourage them to do). Because all of these are integrated into the same website, and the site is also so widely used, Facebook can be one of the best marketing tools at your disposal.
What about Instagram?
Instagram isn’t as great a direct marketing tool as Facebook, because it doesn’t provide the same expansive suite of customer attracting tools and ways of interacting with clients.
What it does provide, however, is the best possible place for you to show off your skills to the world.
Set up an account for your photography business, link it to your Facebook business page and your main website, and upload a great photo every few days. Always providing fresh, high quality content will keep customers interested and coming back for more.
You can also use Instagram’s hashtag system to attract thousands, if not more, of Instagram users to your account. Although some of these users may never need your photography services, if they like your photos and/or follow you it will increase your business’ visibility and respectability with clients.
We hope this is enough information to get you started – we will provide detailed explanations of ways you can use social media to get business in the coming weeks.