When we talk about search engine optimization (SEO) for photographers, we’re thinking about search rankings. We want to be ranked higher to bring more traffic to our websites. While that’s a fantastic plan, and a worthy goal, it turns out that why SEO matters for photographers includes a bunch of factors that aren’t really about the search engine at all.
It’s About Your Website Visitors
It’s about the bride who is trying to decide if you’d be a good fit for her wedding. It’s about the mother who is wondering if your session would create a portrait capturing her daughter’s true personality. It’s the corporate planner who wants to see your expertise so they can book you for an upcoming commercial project.
Yes, we know that the search engines are (in theory) prioritizing sites that are good for the user, but let’s talk about the specific ways your user-friendly website will help you with SEO.
Your Clients Want Your Site to be Fast
If you were on the internet in the 1990s, you remember the days of screeching dialup modems and the agony of waiting what seemed like forever for a web page to load. Thankfully we’re well past that stage from a technology standpoint, and now we expect a site to load in just a few seconds. If your server is slow because you got cheap with your web hosting, or if you haven’t optimized your images for the web, that bride is going to wonder why your website is… so… slow.
Your Clients Want Thorough Information
Let’s say that someone’s on your website to find out how to prepare for their family portrait session. Is it going to be more helpful to them if you simply say “Dress comfortably in complementary tones” or would they rather have a longer article that explains what colors work well together, the fact they should avoid patterns, and gives some tips on how to ensure that children will be in the best possible mood for the session?
As a knowledgeable photographer, you probably have a bunch of expertise. Show it by writing in-depth articles that help your site’s visitors have a successful photography experience.
Your’re Not the Only One With a Smartphone
There’s a really good chance (if you work with younger folks, it’s a much-greater-than–50% chance) that someone’s first impression of your website will come as they visit on their iPhone or Android smartphone. How does your site look? Is it visually pleasing? Can they navigate easily to the different parts of your website? If they can’t easily find their way around your online presence from their smartphone, they’ll be finding their way to another photographer.
Your Clients Don’t Watch to Get Infected
Do you want to destroy a relationship with a potential client quickly? I can’t think of any better way than to have that person get a bunch of malware or virus popups when visiting your website. How might this happen? There are a few ways, but the most common would be that you’ve chosen to manage your own website, haven’t kept your software up to date, and have become compromised (“hacked”) by a security vulnerability.
Why SEO Matters for Photographers: It’s the People (and the robots)
These various factors (site speed, longer content, mobile-friendliness, security) are all about giving your clients and other fans a better experience when they visit your website. You might already have a relationship with them. They might be new leads deciding whether to contact you and take the next step. Either way, a bad website is a bad impression, and you owe it to your site’s visitors to make their time on your website as comfortable as possbile.
And by doing so… you’re also serving up the same things that help your website develop authority and gain higher search engine rankings. It turns out the reasons why SEO matters for photographers are as much about the people as they are the computer.
Want to get up to speed with several of these SEO tactics?. Check out SEO SpeedStart, a free five-part email course.