Is Your SEO Helping or Hurting Your Photography Business?

Want to know how to finish your knitting project? Trying to find the perfect restaurant for your anniversary? Or maybe you are looking for a new lens for your camera and want to find out other people’s opinions?

Whatever information you desire, it no longer takes days of research. Instead, you pop on your favorite search engine , make a few queries and you’re on your way.

More information is created every two days today as we did from the dawn of civilization to 2003. Yep, that’s a lot of content.

Yet if you’ve ever done a search, you know there’s some good content out there … and a lot of bad. By creating a blog – which you can do for free on sites like Blogger and – you have the ability to create as much content as you want, and say whatever you want to say.

Some people create legitimate sites for their business, planning to be in business years down the road. They do everything in a quality way, hoping their content will wind up I the hands of people that truly want to do business with them.

Then there is the other crowd. These are the Internet marketers that don’t care as much about quality and longevity as they do instant results. They want to leverage what they create today to bring in as much money as they can … today. They don’t care about tomorrow; they just want the money today.

How are you building your site? How are you creating your content? Do you do things to your website/blog in order to gain traction today? Or do you care about your impact years down the road? [Read more…]

To The Top Of The Search Engines … Two Months Free

Can people really make exorbitant promises and turn them into reality?

Or are they getting so desperate they are willing to try anything to bring in next months rent?

You’ve probably noticed this too.

Every day I get an email like this:

Huge promises. And because of what I know about SEO, I also know they probably can’t deliver.

We were out at a summer bash networking event last night, and while waiting in line to get in, a woman walked up and down the line giving out her “2 months free SEO” coupons. I wonder how many people are giving her a call.

While it sounds great, can she really accomplish anything in two months? And what will that truly do for you?

Let’s assume you have a very small niche and maybe, just maybe, she can pull you up in the rankings in two months. How is she going to do it? Is she going to destroy your reputation in the process? What methods is she truly going to use?

Unfortunately, unless you know something about SEO and search engine placement, its easy to get lost in the promises. You want more business. You know being at the top of Google will probably bring in more business. So you look for someone promising to get you there.

Yet what you might not realize is there are many ways to get you there – legitimate and otherwise.

If you get to the top in a natural way, you’ll stay there with regular effort.

But if you get there in any way that Google may question, you may be slapped down in the rankings, or worse, banned forever.

That’s what these type of SEO companies don’t tell you.

And frankly that’s what hurts the industry.

I’ve seen classes that can teach you how to be an “SEO Expert” in 30 days. Learn a few techniques and you can begin charging customers $1,000, $2,000, even $3,000 instantly

Yet I guarantee you can’t learn all you need to know in 30 days. I know because I’ve studied this stuff for my own business now since the late 1990’s.

It changes all the time. What worked last year doesn’t work this year. And what works today may not work tomorrow.

SEO in many ways is just like your marketing. In fact, I consider it to be a part of your marketing. I think of where I want my business to be in 5, 10 even 20 years from now, and plan everything I do for my company based on those goals.

If something promises me quick results, I really have to think about how that will impact me 5 years from now.

If you’ve been tempted by one of these same letters or coupons, let me help you determine if it’s the right step for you.

1. What Do You Want To Accomplish?

First of all, ask yourself why this interests you. Is it to bring in more customers? Is it to build your reputation? Is it to make your business stronger?

They may all be in there, but focus on the one true reason this has peaked your interest. Then ask questions about how this service will help you.

If it’s a “fly by night” SEO firm, they won’t have answers that can help you long term. If you are concerned about your reputation, for example, they won’t be able to tell you how their services will help you years from now. Their “canned” presentation will keep focusing on how quickly you can get to the top, but what will that do for you? What key terms will you be under? Will you stay there “forever”?

If a company truly is an SEO firm AND a marketing firm, they will marry the two together and have the desire to help you build a strong company overall. They will look for ways that sustain longevity, not just the quickest way to the top.

2. Legitimate SEO – Not Black Hat

Google is smart. Over the years, they have built a company that provides the best results possible for their customers.

So when people figure out how to override the system and get things placed using “quick” methods, Google sees this and works in a block feature to take those placements out of the search engines.

Google understands what people want – top quality search results every time they search. So they are always striving to deliver top quality content for every search performed – which is in the billions every single month.

So who’s going to rank higher – a URL that offers quality content throughout their site and continues to add quality content every week, or a URL who uses questionable practices?

If a company doesn’t understand that and is “stuffing” your pages and site full of questionable data that may have worked a short time ago, Google probably knows about it. If they haven’t built that into their algorithms already, they will shortly.

Google cares about one thing – original quality content. Everything else is at risk.

And a company that tells you otherwise may put your business at risk.

3. Think Long Term

Here is your choice. You can have 100 clients immediately today that will do nothing for your reputation – possibly even hurt it. Or 10 clients a month for the next 10 years, all who love you and feed into your 10 new clients every month. Which would you choose?

If you want to build a successful business model, you picked the later of the two.

Yet most people don’t think from that approach today. They want the quick client right now to bring in a few extra bucks.

Successful businesses are built on a successful foundation. You have to build your system, put it into play, and let it work from this point forward.

SEO is not a stand alone business. Its something that needs to be a tool within your marketing strategy. You need to understand how it will impact your business today … and 10 years from today. If a company can’t tell you that, or makes promises that seem a little too good to be true, they probably are.

How Will Facebook Search Impact Your Online Experience

Imagine a world where your family has just arrived at home from a variety of events and places, and they decide they want to have dinner together. Its late – cooking would mean eating late in the evening. So they decide to call up a local pizza place. Yet they don’t want “the same old” pizza they always eat. Why not try something new?

So they head online, type in Google, and pull up a list of pizza places. If you do that right now, chances are you will get the big pizza places – Dominos, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns – whatever is big in your area. And you might get a few local places, but only the one’s that have spent extensive time and energy on search engine placement.

Maybe you wanted something new. Something that your friend at work was talking about. He mentioned a place they tried last week; now if you could only remember what it was.

In the near future, you may not have to remember. It may be possible to search based on your friends knowledge and recommendations, not just who made top ranking in Google.

And it won’t be through Google. It will be through the second largest search engine in the world.


Yep, Facebook.

Right now if you head over to Facebook, search involves finding a friend by typing in a name, or finding a business by typing in a keyword or a business name.

Yet if rumor has it right, they may be developing a search engine that works slightly different than Google. This search engine won’t care what keywords you use, how much you’ve paid an SEO firm, or how much you are paying for PPC. Instead, it will care about things like: [Read more…]

4 Ways To Avoid Getting Dropped From Google Search Results

Being listed in Google can be a great thing for your business. With just a little work, you can start gaining traction under key terms and have people find you that you would have never connected with in any other way.

Yet just because you are listed in Google doesn’t mean you will stay in Google. Google has their own internal “rules” that they use to rank different sites and pages. Those algorithms change all the time. Google is constantly trying to improve the way it provides search results. And just because something works this week doesn’t mean it will work the next.

While marketers have tried a variety of things over the years, there are a few rules that remain true year after year. There are ways to keep your site up in the top rankings an ensure it will stay there no matter how the algorithms change.

Create Quality Content

The easy answer is to create quality content. Quality content means you work at creating content your visitors will love when they come over to read it. You shouldn’t copy content from other sources. You shouldn’t create link farms. You shouldn’t use spamming tools. And you shouldn’t create pages exclusively for Google. Instead, write content and present it as if you are creating a page in a magazine. Would your visitors read what you have to say – or would they abandon it as quick as possible? [Read more…]

Why You Should Not Be SEOing Your Website

If you have an active blog for your photography business, chances are you’ve read all you can about SEO. If you’re going to write day after day to try and attract new clientele, you might as well make sure the search engines love it, right?

And while I agree SEO may still have a place in your overall business marketing model, if you’re doing it the “old school” way, you’re probably not having much success. Here’s why.

[If you’re just getting started with SEO, here’s a great place to start: Best SEO Practices and Tips For Your Photography Business.]

Traditional SEO

People that follow the “old school” method of SEO love to use keywords. They fill up their titles, meta tags, descriptions and content with as many keywords as they possibly can.

If you look at the title of their blog posts, they look something like this:

Wedding Photography California: Jim and Kelley – Engagement Photos at Laguna Beach

Or something along this line of thinking. Then if you hover over the photographs they’ve included in the post to see the meta tags, you’ll find something like this:

Jim and Kelley Engagement Photos in Laguna Beach California Wedding Photography Wedding Photographer John Smith with Smith Photography Inc Image 1

And of course as you read through the post, you’ll find those same keywords listed again and again. And again.

Its enough to make you back out as fast as you can. And its enough to make Google back away as well.

While this “old school” method of SEOing may have worked in the past, Google has been watching these sites for years. And they’ve decided that they have less value than a site that speaks directly to their audience. So they weight them differently, don’t give them top value, and throw the ranking down below those that are concentrating on quality rather than keyword stuffing.

What To Do Instead

Whether you’ve been doing this type of SEOing for months, or have recently read about it and were thinking of adopting this strategy this year, think again.

Instead, focus in on what you can do to make your content that much richer; that much more valuable to the people that want to read it.

Start with your domain name. If the word “photography” is already in your domain name, it will be a part of every page you create. And while you can use it as a keyword, its not necessary to over use it.

Create motivating titles. People like stories. So start the story with a great title.

A Fun Day At Laguna Beach Celebrating The Engagement of Jim and Kelley

Regulars to your blog will be instantly attracted to a title like that because it concentrates on what it is “engagement” and where “Laguna Beach”.

From there, you can really play it up.

How To Get Romantic: Jason and Crystal Showed Us How Its Done


Fun In The Sand: Did You Ever Think An Engagement Shoot Could Be Like This?

That’s where the interaction comes in. That’s where people come back to your blog again and again because they love what you have to say AND what you produce.

Tag your photos the right way. Then tag your photographs with an appropriate tag for the post. You don’t have to tag the photo with your name, the business name, unless it’s a photo of you. Instead, focus in on what it’s a photo of: [Read more…]

A Guide To Optimizing Your Website For Mobile Use

How are your potential customers finding you online? Are they sitting down at their desktops, searching sites like Google? Or are they sitting in a coffee shop, searching from their mobile devices?

As the amount of mobile devices continues to grow, so does the need for mobile friendly websites. You can’t expect your graphically enhanced site to appear the same way on an iPhone or Android, and Flash sites simple don’t work. The last thing you want is your potential customer looking for you, and all that comes up is a “non-compatible” sign. That’s like saying, “I don’t want your business.”

Dig Deeper: Love Your iPod iPhone or iPad? Not with a Flash Website

But simply taking your existing website, and converting it into a mobile friendly site may not get you the results you are looking for. Searching on mobile devices is continuing to grow as technology improves, yet people aren’t searching in the same ways they do for conventional sites. Therefore its essential to think SEO for both your traditional sites, and for your mobile sites in slightly different ways.

Shorter Keywords

When a person sits down at a desktop computer, they have a full sized keyboard, and are usually dedicating a fair amount of time to find what they are looking for. They are willing to type out keyword searches again and again until they find what they are looking for, lengthening what they are searching for each time. Since mobile devices are used for more on-the-go functions, people aren’t as patient with their searching. With the smaller keyboards and smaller screens, people want to find what they are looking for in the quickest way possible. [Read more…]

3 Ways To Make Sure Your Blog Posts Are Perfect For Search Engine Placement

If you are a photographer who is active online, chances are you have your own blog, and post new content on a regular basis. Posting is good  – content is and will be king well into the future. But posting in the correct way is the only way to go. If you don’t add content in the right way, it will never offer you SEO strategies, and help you gain traction where you need it the most – within Google.

Content is great, and its important to talk directly to the people that visit and read what you have to write on a regular basis. But one of the main reasons to blog is to attract new customers as well. When people are searching through Google – and 31 billion searches occur every month – will they find you with the searches they are performing?

If you want to start growing and attracting more visitors from Google, there are 3 ways to make sure your blog posts are perfect for search engine placement.

Put Your Keywords In Your Post Title And Title Tag

I was on a photography site the other day. It was a blog built by a wedding photographer, and he showcases many weddings per year, along with a variety of engagement and family photographs based around his wedding clientele. He adds a couple of posts per week, and titles them all in the same way:

  • John and Mary’s Wedding
  • Justin and Kim’s Engagement
  • Marc and Sarah’s New Baby

There is one big problem with this method: no other searcher in Google is going to look for a wedding photographer by typing into Google “John and Mary’s Wedding”. So this photographer isn’t gaining any traction by using this title.

By putting keywords into your title, your blog automatically inserts those keywords into the title tags and page name, and gives you an instant boost in SEO. So just by changing tactics, and posting “A Mountain Wedding In Aspen Colorado” instead of “John and Mary’s Wedding” will give you better traction in Google, and a better chance of being found when brand new searchers look for a “wedding photographer in Aspen Colorado”. [Read more…]

Why Directories Are Important For SEO and High Rank in Google

What is the difference between a search engine and a web directory?

A search engine – like Google – uses an automated process to rank web pages. It uses a system, a spider or web crawler, to automatically index websites and web pages, organizing them based on relevance to what someone has searched for and placing them onto results pages based on keywords or phrases.

A directory organizes links under various categories and subcategories, and allows people to find things by clicking deeper into a category based on interests.

While everyone understands the importance of Google – with 31 billion searches a month, who can ignore them? But why should you be concerned with directories?

Speeding Up Indexing

Google (and other search engines) are constantly out looking for new content that they can use in their displays. They don’t discriminate what type of sites they look at; they will use directories to find new listings as well. If a directory has authority, meaning it’s a reliable site, Google will check back frequently for new information. If you have a relatively new site that hasn’t been picked up by Google yet, placing your information in a directory will give you a greater chance of being found and indexed by Google.

[Read more…]

SEO – A Primer For Photographers

SEO (search engine optimization) has been the most talked about strategy throughout the last decade. But what is SEO? And how can you as a photographer use it to get top placement in the search engines?
SEO for photographers
To answer that question, let’s first look at what SEO is. According to Wikipedia, SEO is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via natural or un-pain search results. Typically, the higher a site appears in the search results, the more traffic it will receive from people searching through the search engines.

Now let me ask you another question. What key term would you like to rank high on?

If you’ve never thought about it before, its time to start.

Google has around 31 billion searches every single month. If you hope to capture even a tiny fraction of that search, you have to understand what is important to rank high on.

Long Tail
Would you want to rank #1 under the key term “photographer”?
[Read more…]