Photography websites are our portals through which we attract clients, and therefore they need to be working really well for us. We want to book all of our sessions up fully so that we’re turning people away and thinking about hiring a second shooter, right? What a great problem that would be to have!
If your website isn’t doing this for you, then there could be one of two problems. Either your website content isn’t convincing people to book, or you aren’t getting enough people to your website in the first place. Thankfully, if it’s a traffic problem, it’s really easy to fix. Just use these SEO tips to get your website soaring through the rankings and getting lots of attention.
Compress image sizes
This is a huge tip for photographers, much more so than for anyone in another industry. We love our images, and we like to make sure that they are displayed huge on our websites so that clients can see just how good our work is. The problem is, the size of the images themselves might be what is stopping people from coming by.
Google, and lots of other search engines, have a process whereby a website is evaluated in comparison to each search term someone could enter. This process happens in a split second and looks at factors such as website content, metadata, relevancy to the search term, location, and loading speed.
Did you catch that last one? That’s right – loading speed.
If your site is loaded down with lots of huge images, then it will load really slowly for the viewer. These days, the majority of web searches come from smartphones, whose users are not interested in standing around waiting for ages for a page to load. They want it right now, or they’re going back and trying a different page.
Try to keep your image size to a reasonable limit – 2000px across is really the widest you will ever need for a computer screen, and you could go down even lower to 1500px without losing any quality across the vast majority of people who will be seeing your image. A good and quick trick is also to open your file in a simple program like Microsoft Paint and simply save it as a .jpg – the compression will reduce the file size drastically and you won’t be able to tell the difference unless you are blowing the image up for print.
You will notice a huge difference in your loading speed when you reduce the size across all of your images – and so will Google.
Reduce loading speed elsewhere
There are other areas of your website where you might also be able to reduce loading speed. If you have some kind of complicated loading system where a video plays in the background and a song automatically plays and your photos start on a timed slideshow…
Your customers don’t need all of these bells and whistles. They just want to see your images, and they can do that really easily by scrolling down a page. They don’t even need you to do the scrolling for them. If your first few images are good enough, they will either decide then and there to book you or be convinced to keep scrolling.
The most effective website design is one which is simple, clean, and easy to use. You have probably noticed that a lot of websites now use these principles – or if you haven’t, go ahead and look at some of the top results in any given search category. You will likely pick up on the trend right away.
Design yourself a simple website using a template that allows you to set up scrollable galleries of small-file-size images, and you will be onto a winner.
Use the force of concurrency
What is concurrency? Basically, it’s a fancy term for saying that you are using a lot of words that are related to one another. If you are looking at a photography website, you would expect to see terms like ‘photographer’, ‘studio’, ‘prints’, ‘camera’, ‘photoshoot’, and so on. All words that are related to the same topic.
Search engines love concurrency because it usually indicates real and genuine content. SEO marketers who are stuck in the past will do things like keyword stuffing (putting a keyword into a page as many times as possible) or writing nonsense and then having the keyword pop up every now and then. Since search engines got wise to these tactics, they now look for genuine content.
There are always tips and tricks circulating which give you ways to ‘game’ the system and get higher up in search results. What we are seeing more and more is that it’s best to ignore all of that advice when it comes to copy, and just write natural content. Give your customers the information they need. Add a bit of pizzazz and wow through your sales talk – not just images but beautiful images that they will treasure forever – and you will be converting the customer through your words.
The same goes for blog posts. Give the information. Add in links if they will be useful to the customer, but not if they won’t. Use keywords if they are fitting to the topic, but not if you are forcing them in. The best content is natural content that is useful for the customer. Stick by this rule, and you won’t be scrambling to update your copy every year when the rules change again.
Finally, make sure to update your website regularly. This can include adding new pictures – with descriptive metadata telling search engines what the images contain – or blog posts, or whatever else could be relevant to you. This tells search engines that your site is still active and relevant, and will give you another boost over other local photographers who haven’t updated for a year.
SEO isn’t magic and wizardry – it’s just about making the experience as relevant and smooth as possible for your customers. Once you know that, you can design a site that ranks highly – just as a consequence of the great customer experience.
What is your favorite tip for optimizing SEO? Share in the comments!