Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an interesting thing. Theoretically, if done correctly your website will be a top of search results. SEO is not quick, and it is not easy. It takes time, focus and a lot of hard work. However, as Cameron Chapman writes in his article “Why SEO Doesn’t Matter Anymore and What You Should Do Instead” there are seven reasons as to why Cameron thinks SEO doesn’t matter.
- Social Bookmarking
- Better Search Engine Algorithms
- Savvy Searchers
I’m going to talk about each one briefly.
Please keep in mind that there is a lot of factors that go into good SEO and when done the right way, your should be the at the top of search result. The search engines also look for the age of a website and the WHOIS data for SEO. Older websites tend to go up higher in rankings. Websites with the WHOIS information of the website owner is more likely to go up in rankings than one with a private WHOIS.
I’d also like to point out that when the original article by Chapman was written, there was no Instagram and there was no Google Plus. So when speaking about Facebook, be aware that the same can be said for other social media networks. In fact, some believe that Google Plus has greater potential than Facebook when it comes to marketing for photographers.
Looking at this list you can see that there are some things that we, as photographers, can do to increase our traffic and in turn hopefully business. The first is to create a Facebook fan page. Having one is a simple way to connect and interact with colleagues and potential customers. The Facebook fan page is a way to interact with colleagues, customers and leads (possible customers). Facebook fan pages are the perfect place to share new articles and photographs directly to the people you want seeing them.
Once you have a blog going, make sure to submit each new article to social bookmarking websites like StumbleUpon, Digg, etc. The keywords that you would use for SEO are the same ones you could use for these websites. If you are using tags in your blog posts, then use these when submitting to social bookmarking sites as well. This means that if a person is stumbling (the term for using StumbleUpon) for “HDR” and your new blog posts has a keyword of “HDR” then eventually your new blog article will pop up on their screen. StumbleUpon can bring hundreds if not thousands of new visitors to your website every time you submit a new post. So now you’re asking what the chances are of a website like these bringing new customers. Hard to say but if you think about it differently…
Now someone has searched for “HDR” on StumbleUpon and your website has popped up. The photo that is visible on the blog article is the interior of a house. Chances are the person viewing your website at that point is another photographer. There is the possibility of that photographer knowing a real estate agent in your area who is looking for a good photographer.
Even if the chance of this exact situation happening is 1/1000, it did not cost you a single penny to try. It only takes one minute to submit a new article or possibly less.
So how do you find out which social bookmarking websites are the best to submit to? It is basically all trial and error. Each person has different results. I know many people who get thousands of hits from Digg but I find that I get the majority from StumbleUpon.
Better Search Engine Algorithms
There is only one good way to take advantage of algorithms. Content Content Content. Write your butt off. Write about your passion. Share your ideas with everyone. Give tips and tutorials. Screen casts and photos. Take what you love to do and put it out there for the world to see. As long as your website isn’t vulgar or offensive, and your content has fresh and well written, then the search engines will index your blog quicker than the rest of your website.
Twitter has become a social media giant. It is amazing how the website went from a SMS based way of communicating to something so large that they sometimes can’t even handle it themselves. If you do a quick Google search for “fail whale” you will see what I mean.
Every photographer should be using Twitter as a way to communicate and network with other photographers locally and around the world. Doing so can work the same way as a random “Stumble” or, more importantly, it could be more direct.
A while ago my friend Seshu Badrinath sent out a tweet stating he needed a second shooter for a wedding. I believe the wedding was the following day. Seshu is based out of Connecticut and the wedding was in New Jersey. Through a simple message on Twitter, Seshu found himself a second shooter. As it turned out this other photographer was very good and Seshu learned some new tricks from him. Great right? The power of social media!
Going along with this whole networking idea. A long time back, Seshu met an amazing photographer, Brian Mataish. I believe they met at a photography workshop or convention. Seshu recommended that I talk with Brian since we have a lot of the same photography interests. Since then, Brian and I have become good friends. Networking is a wonderful thing. Without Twitter I would have never met Seshu or Brian.
We all have our favorite websites that we visit each day. In fact, I have a bookmark folder in my browser titled “Daily”. That makes it easy for me to view the websites I want to see the most. Then there is Google Reader and RSS feeds. Aside from bookmarking our favorite websites we can get a stream of all the new articles from each in one place. To give you an example of what I mean.
Two of my favorite websites to read are Engadget and Mashable. But instead of me bookmarking the websites I added their RSS feeds to my Google Reader account. This gives me the ability to read both in one place so I’m not going back and forth between sites. Using Google Reader also gives me the ability to share an article I enjoy on any social media websites with one simple click.
If you are unsure of what a RSS feed is and want to know how to add one to your website then you need a blog. It is as simple as that. I don’t want to go into the technical jargon of what an RSS feed is and how to implement it. Create a blog, and use it. Remember when I said Content Content Content.
This idea is very similar to Pre-Favorites. Nowadays people know what they want and how to get it. If I want to find a storm chasing photographer in Phoenix Arizona I am not going to visit the Yellowpages. That is just silly, right? Off to Google I go and type “storm chasing photographer in Phoenix Arizona” in the search box. Hey look, there is a photographer in Phoenix who photographs storms. Mike Olbinski is his name and wait, look. He has a portfolio, a blog and he is on Twitter and Facebook. See what I mean? I know what I want and how to get it. Why is Mike at the top of the results? Content Content Content. Mike shares a new photographs every day, if not almost every day.
Mike Olbinski is another example of Twitter networking. I met Mike through the tweets from Brian Matiash. His HDR photography caught my eye and we have since become friends.
That about wraps up Part 1 of Photographers SEO and Social Marketing. SEO is an amazing thing, but remember that it is not the most important. Creating and sharing incredible content is much more important. Focus on that. Focus on your networking and on your customers. Be yourself and be creative. In Part 2 I will be sharing some insight on simple things you can do as ways of improving your SEO page rank.
Thanks for reading and happy shooting,