Squarespace Photographer SEO - 10 Tips
I haven't written much for the photographers out there lately! So I figured I'd focus on a topic that I get asked about ALL the time. If photographer friends ask my advice on anything it's about blogging, in person product sales, and SEO! And you know, SEO is good information to have for anyone with a website that you'd like people to find.
First off, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization... or, how likely is a search engine likely to find your website? And since most people are using Google, I would just focus my efforts there.
SUPER IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I am no expert, so I could say the wrong thing. But I will share what I do and I will tell you that at least 50% of my inquiries come from Google traffic. I'm on pages 1, 2, or 3 of Google depending on what search terms you use.
Figure out where your website ranks
If you don't know what page your website is on Google, you can use one of many websites that will show you. I use WheredoIrank just because I always remember that website's name. You can also do an incognito search on Google. But do NOT just bring up Google and search "richmond wedding photographer" and be delighted when you're #1! Google will prioritize websites that you've visited before, so it's going to give you a false sense of where your website actually is in the rankings.
Determine your keywords
This step is uber important on the importance meter. It's time to get into the mind of your prospective clients and figure out what they're going to search for when they are looking for your service or product. Think about what YOU do when you Google. If I'm looking for a new massage therapist (I'm not, hi Heather!) then you might enter "Midlothian VA Massage Therapist" or if something is really important to you like "deep tissue massage" or a therapist who uses essential oils, you may tack those words onto your search to see if you can find someone who specializes in that sort of thing... making your search "Midlothian VA Massage Therapist deep tissue."
If you specialize in something, those keywords like "deep tissue" or "essential oils" could be what lifts you out of the website crowd and pops your website to the top. For photographers, maybe that's "natural light photography" or "candid portraits" or "studio portraits." Whatever it is that sets you apart. And remember that people are going to narrow down Google's list by geography, so ALWAYS include some geographical keywords. I know I bounce around between adding "Richmond" "Midlothian" and "Chesterfield" to my keywords because those are the areas I want to work in!
Use Your Keywords as much as possible
Like, don't be annoying about it. But if you're blogging about a family portrait session that you want Google to pick up on, make sure you use the words "family portrait session" and the geographical word you've chosen as well. For example, "I photographed this family portrait session at Libby Hill Park in Richmond..." That easy! Make it feel natural so your readers aren't irritated, but be aware that saying things like that in a blog post is very helpful for search engines.
Label your images
This is especially important for photographers! Keywords in the text of your website and blog posts are important, but so are the words you use in your images. There are more than you think! You'll notice when you upload pictures to your website that whatever you named that file on your computer will be the same name on your website... so change that file name to one of your keywords! Then when it's uploaded on your site, you can usually add a title and description of the image.
Just think about when you use an image search... how does Google know that you're looking at a picture of a puppy wearing a hat? Because whoever uploaded that photo labeled it properly. You can do the same thing! I get people who email me because they searched for their wedding venue and my images popped up because I label all the wedding images I upload with the venue they were photographed at.
Consider all the images on your website now and all the opportunities you have for keywords!
Don't go overboard with the keywords
Google tries to combat any sort of artificial keyword planting on websites. Some people get absolutely crazy and insert code with lots of invisible text all over their site full of keywords. I've even heard of photographers keywording their website with OTHER photographers' names so that when people look for that photographer, their website pops up as well. First off, that's slimy, don't do that! But if Google can tell that this amount of keywords is artificial, it will not take them validity. So be careful in over spamming your site.
Blog your heart out
I know some people have a really hard time with blogging and I get it, it's a lot of work to think of posts constantly, write them, format them, find photos to go with them. But it is one of the best things you can do for your SEO. Blogging tells search engines that your website is constantly being updated and it ranks you higher because of that. And of course, the more text your website has, the better search engines can understand what your website is about. This stuff all makes sense when you take the time to think about it!
Headers are when you use a special format in your blog posts or pages that give special emphasis to certain text. So at the top of this post you'll notice the title is in a bigger font. Then every tip is in its own special font. These headings tell search engines that these words are EXTRA important.
Place your words in order of importance
Whenever you can, you should put your most important keywords first. In your titles or text, wherever. Order is important. So if your blog post title is "Sarah and John's Wedding at Tuckahoe Plantation" that's great, but "Sarah and John" are not the keywords you want. You need to prioritize Tuckahoe Plantation or whatever else is Google-able! Think of a pretty way you can do this that doesn't feel jarring to your readers. I like to make my title very SEO friendly "Tuckahoe Plantation Wedding Photography" and then make my first header a little more user friendly, "Kelly and Aaron's Wedding at Tuckahoe Plantation." but you can do it in a million different ways.
Make sure your URLs are keywords
Your URL is very important. If you have a bunch of crazy numbers like this:
You're doing nothing for your search-ability.
Google prioritizes URL text. So make sure that you're keeping your URLs clean and text friendly all over your website. For example, this is the URL for my "about me" page because I'd like people to stumble there when they're searching for family photographers in my area.
Use SEO Tools and Plugins
This last tip is more for Wordpress users. I started on Wordpress and I think it's good I did because SEO plugins taught me how to naturally incorporate good SEO techniques into my blog posts and website pages. So if you have that ability do it. That's one downside to Squarespace is you don't have access to all the tons of valuable plugins that Wordpress has. But hopefully this post will help my Squarespace pals out there! You have tons of capabilities with Squarespace, you just need to know how to use them!
Got anymore tips? Leave them and any questions you may have in the comments!