Photo by Dan McCourt, SEO for wedding photographers graphic
Finding clients through social media and by word-of-mouth are both great, free ways to market your business. There’s a third option that doesn’t cost a dime: SEO, or search engine optimization. With websites full of beautiful images, utilizing SEO for wedding photographers is especially important. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your site’s organic traffic isn’t as important as your other marketing channels.
With proper SEO, your website can be one of your most valuable lead generation tools. But how can you take your website from living unseen in the depths of the internet to being on page 1 in Google? You need to optimize your website for search. Put plainly, you need to implement these 8 SEO for wedding photographers tips.
What is SEO for Wedding Photographers?
Your site is crawled by search engine bots all the time. Those bots factor in things like the words you write, the alt text on your images, and the headlines you use to rank your page. Then, those same bots compare your content to other blogs about the same topic online.
For example, let’s say you’re a wedding photographer in France. Search engine bots will compare your entire site—every page, every post—to other wedding blogs. Your post about a wedding in front of the Eiffel Tower will compete with other websites that mention both weddings and the Eiffel Tower. Those two topics will cover a lot of websites and even more pages on the internet.
Don’t panic! The bots will compare your content with the other blogs they find and sort you by ranking what they deem to be the most credible information. To sum it up, the higher you rank, the earlier you’ll appear in search results. These 8 SEO tips will enhance your website and boost your rank to get you to that sweet, sweet first page of Google results.
Photo by Lynn Lewis
1. Create Great Content
There’s a phrase we live by around here: content is only content if it’s useful—otherwise it’s spam. Your gorgeous photos and the words that accompany them should be helpful. Here are a few things to watch out for when creating content for your site.
- Avoid duplicate content. Be sure to create original content and never plagiarize content from other sites. If you have multiple URLs pointing to the same page, have your web developer set up a 301 redirect (more on this below) so that you only have 1 URL representing each page.
- Optimize your images. As you uploading images to your site make sure to add descriptive alt text to them. The alt text you add should be specific to each image. While you’re at it, double-check that file titles use keywords instead of numerical names. Content does not just mean text—Google bots evaluate images when crawling the web. For example, after shooting a bohemian wedding in Marfa, Texas, you’d name those files “bohemian-marfa-texas-wedding-nameofcouple.jpg.” The alt text for one of those Marfa images could be, “Marfa wedding bridal portrait.”
- Write. Then, write more. Beautiful blog posts filled with phenomenal photography but no words will never rank. Add at least 300 words to every blog post you publish to ensure they can rank! Keep it simple and describe what’s happening in the images or how you shot them. Within those 300 words, be sure to include keywords about your location and phrases like wedding, wedding photographer, brides, etc.
Helpful SEO Resources:
- Siteliner: this tool that will check your site for duplicate content.
- Google Webmaster Tools: Google’s Webmaster Tools are amazing. Once you set up your access, you’ll have access to mountains of data using this free product. The most important data you’ll want to check regularly is under the HTML Improvements section (found under Search Appearance). This will show a list of errors found in your site meta description and title tags, including duplicates. These are both errors related to duplicate content, so make sure that you get these consolidated.
2. Check Your Links Regularly
As a user of the internet, there are few things that are more annoying than ending up on a 404 Error page. This flaw won’t only bother your readers, it’s also bad for the crawling bots we mentioned earlier.
While it may seem like nothing, these broken links signal to Google bots that you’re not keeping up with your website—making you seem less credible. Luckily, this problem is easy to solve!
Photo by Bruno Garcez
3. Check Your Site Speed—Then Fix It
Google bots penalize slow sites. In such an image-heavy industry, that can be a tough pill to swallow. There is a balance to showcasing your work in the highest quality and keeping your users in mind—they don’t want to wait 10 minutes for a webpage to load.
The average speed for a website to load is 5 seconds. The faster it loads, the happier those bots will be. Improve your site load time by cutting down on the size of a page. Do this by resizing images prior to uploading them to your site using a program like Adobe Lightroom. You can also optimize your images through a service like Kraken.io.
Helpful SEO Resources:
- PageSpeed Insights: Google offers many of its services for free, including this page analyzer which provides suggestions to decrease your load times.
- Kraken.io: Kraken can help you to optimize your images without loss in quality (Kraken has a free image optimizer tool, which you can find right here).
4. Make Your Content Sharable
Social signals have become increasingly important to Google as they infer your site’s popularity. For example, Google is going to think a site is more credible if tons of people are sharing articles from that site.
As newly anointed experts at SEO for wedding photographers, you are at an enormous advantage! Why? You’ve got an amazing photography community—hi, that’s us—and you’ve got couples who want to share their wedding day with the world. The easiest way to increase your shareability on your site is to make it easy. Do this by adding social sharing buttons to your blog posts. Then, promote your content on your own social media accounts to get reshared.
Helpful SEO Resources:
- Mailchimp: Get your content to your couples and industry friends by creating a newsletter. Mailchimp pushes people—especially your clients—to share your content directly from an email you send them.
- Buffer: Buffer is an intuitive social media management system that will help by scheduling social promotions for each wedding that you blog.
- Search for social media blog plugins that you can add to your blog posts. Check out this list of great plugins for WordPress users.
- Facebook Comments Plugin: People love Facebook. Engage with them where they are by using a plugin that helps manage the chatter.
5. Index Your Site
Those bots that crawl your site control how you’re ranked. If they are unable to crawl your site or can’t reach a number of pages, those pages are hidden from Google and are not indexed. If they aren’t indexed, they aren’t analyzed and filed away for potential search results.
SEO for wedding photographers has never been easier—this is a relatively easy problem to diagnose. Type “site:” then your website URL into Google’s search bar and see if the number of results that are pulled matches the number of pages on your site. If there’s a discrepancy, you’ll want to dig a little deeper. Google Webmaster Tools can help find the exact pages that are not indexed.
Most likely, you’ll find the problem is a bad URL that is resulting in a 404 Error. If you think of your site as a map, you’ll understand why a broken link can hinder Google from finding its way around your website.
Photo by Gosia Gorecka
6. Get Mobile-Friendly
While having a mobile-friendly site hasn’t always been a reason for bad marks, more internet browsing is happening on phones. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll need to look into your options to make it happen. At Junebug, when we launched our mobile-friendly site redesign, we witnessed organic traffic shoot through the roof almost immediately. Check whether your site is mobile-friendly on Google Webmaster Tools—seriously, this tool handles it all.
7. Use Headings Properly
After you’ve added at least 300 words to your posts, you’ll need to add headings and subheadings. These will help both the Google bots and your readers figure out what you’re writing about. Use as many “H2” or “Heading 2s” as you need to break up your post into sections. “H3″ or Heading 3s” should be used sparingly in support of your H2s.
For example, on this post, each numbered tip is an H2 and the “Helpful SEO Resources” subheadings are H3.
8. Build Backlinks to Your Site
This is the most time-consuming SEO tip for wedding photographers. It’s also one of the most impactful. Backlinking is and will likely always be an important SEO factor. The more sites that point to your website, the more credible your site appears to Google.
Having wedding-related sites pointing to your website is crucial. Google trusts what other websites have to say about yours. The more websites you can have pointing back to yours, the better your SEO ranking will be. Say hello to the front page of Google’s results!
If you need help figuring out how to get your work featured, check out our blog post on how to get published. Here are some other easy and credible ways to build backlinks:
- Get your business listing in local directories
- Sign up for a business listing in wedding vendor directories—like Junebug Weddings
- Pin your site content to Pinterest
- Sign up for a Google Local Business Page even if you’re a destination photographer
- Use tools like Majestic to see what backlinks you already have as inspiration
Photo by Maciej Suwalowski
These 8 tips really scratch the surface when it comes to SEO for wedding photographers. There are more than 8 variables that Google uses to determine the credibility of your site for different search terms. Here are a few additional resources that you should check to learn more about SEO:
Do any of these 8 tips stand out to you as a top priority for your website? Let us know below!
Pssst! Feeling like you need a little bit more help? We’ve put together our entire SEO strategy for you in our new e-course, SEO for Wedding Photographers. In this course, you’ll learn how to use keywords, write killer blog content, and how to supercharge your website’s authority on Google.
It’s time to take full advantage of your website as a traffic driver for your business. Do that by creating a long-term marketing strategy that isn’t tied to the whims of a social media algorithm. Our course will help you optimize your site with SEO for Wedding Photographers.