I know exactly how you’ve gotten here and I know what you’re going to do next. No, I’m not a mind reader. But I do know that you’re tired of paying for adveritsing (wow, this is sounding like a commercial already!) and I know that you’ve heard a lot about how blogging can get you insanely large amounts of visibility. You’ve googled “SEO for photographers” and you’ve stumbled on this page and several…hundred…thousand…million….other pages. I know what you’re doing to do next. You’re going to read a few paragraphs from each of the 38 tabs you have open in your browser and then you’re going to go get a bottle of wine.
A big bottle of wine.
Learning about SEO is not easy but it’s not impossible.
This article is going to help you figure out what you need to do in what order and link you to a few of my favourite resources about SEO for photographers, but it’s also going to be totally candid and honest about what the SEO journey is like for a lot of people.
What you need to do (and in what order)
The first thing you need to do when learning about SEO for photographers is to understand that you get out of SEO what you put into it. If you’re not giving SEO your all, you aren’t going to see results (or at best, minimal results). You can’t just blog a few times and do a few “SEO hacks” and expect to start ranking. SEO is kind of like dieting – you need to put the effort into it, but it will pay off in the end if you do it properly. You have to be dedicated to wanting SEO to be an integral part of your business plan or you’ll give up as soon as you read your first article about long tail keywords. Trust me, the reason people give up on SEO isn’t because it’s impossible to understand, it’s because they weren’t dedicated to the cause.
The second thing you need to do is to assess your workload and workflow and making sure you can actually schedule blogging into your workflow and devote the time to it. You can learn all the SEO you want, if you aren’t going to follow through with any of your newfound knowledge it’s not going to do you much good. A lot of people want to know how to blog; the process of writing can be challenging for many. Learning how to write a blog is an entirely different hurdle to jump over and that topic is best saved for another day. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Third – you need to understand that not all websites are created equal in terms of blogging. WordPress is the most superior blogging platform. While Squarespace markets itself as being “SEO friendly”, the more you get to learn about SEO the more you’ll realize that (at least in my opinion) Squarespare is just really good at marketing and that you don’t actually have control over a lot of your SEO elements with Squarespace the way you do with WordPress (which brings us back to point #1 – you get out of SEO what you put into it. If your platform is inherently hindering your process, you’re starting out a few steps behind already.) If you’re not on WordPress; I strongly recommend migrating your site to WordPress before actively starting to blog.
Fourth – Recognize that your venture into SEO may mean that you need to revamp the entire design of your website aside from simply blogging. Your website is like a physical storefront. If you had a physical store, you’d make sure everything was pretty but also that it was well functioning. You’d make sure people knew where the door was, knew where the parking was, knew where different items and different departments were within your store. You’d make sure your store was organized and user friendly as well as pretty. You need to do the same thing with your website. Websites need to be not only search engine friendly but also user friendly. A client will look for a link to information for an average of 6 seconds before navigating away from your website. SIX SECONDS! Your website needs to be impeccably organized and showcase links to what your clients want to see – not what you feel like should be there. Why is this important? It’s important because ranking #1 for your keyword after years of SEO work won’t do you any good if a client can’t navigate through your website and ends up closing their browser!
Fifth – Acknowledge that SEO takes time. Not only will it take you time to get a WordPress site up and running if you’re not already on WordPress, but it will take you time to learn how to write articles and code properly for SEO. After all of that, it will take some time for the search engine indexers to even crawl your site – it could be weeks or even months before you start seeing benefit from your SEO so it’s important that you not dismiss your other forms of advertising until you start to actually see benefits from your SEO endeavor.
Six… alright, time for some good ol’ fashioned learning. Now that you’ve gotten yourself in the proper mind set to begin your SEO journey, it’s time to start reading. Read, read, read, read… and when you think you can’t read anymore, read one more article. Learning your SEO will not happen quickly. You’ll come across terms that you have to research and your mind may feel like it’s spinning at times. While SEO can be intimidating, it’s not impossible to learn. If you tell yourself you can’t learn it, you’re creating your own barrier.
SEO for Photographers: The Resources
These are some of my favourite resources in terms of learning about SEO. I’m not paid by any of these sites to sponsor them, I genuinely enjoy the information that these sites provide.
The “master of SEO” is, in my opinion, the Moz website. They have a fantastic beginners guide to SEO that I would highly recommend using as your starting point in learning about SEO. When you’re looking for your own resources about SEO, remember that the words you’re choosing when searching are important. LEARNING about SEO is different than “TIPS” for SEO. When you research “TIPS” for SEO, the information given to you is going to assume that you already have a basic to moderate understanding of SEO. FuelYourPhotos has another great resource for beginner SEO information. I”d suggest reading through it in addition to the Moz information to make sure that you have all your bases covered.
Yoast is a powerful SEO plugin for WordPress but it’s also an incredibly information website about SEO. It starts to bring you into the intermediate level of SEO understanding. Kissmetrics has created a list of other resources that they find important for your SEO journey and it covers different topics that range from beginner to intermediate. I would go through this list after (or at least in tandem) with my readings on Yoast.
Finally, if you’re looking for guidance on SEO and aren’t a fan of self-directed learning, you can look into SEO workshops for photographers. There are plenty of SEO and social media workshops out there so do your research before signing up. I’ve been hosting SEO workshops for the last 18 months and have been providing 1-on-1 and small group SEO guidance for even longer. CreativeLive also has some awesome SEO videos you can purchase or if you’re lucky, there might be an SEO class coming up and you can watch it live for free
Hopefully this article has given you the direction you need to venture forth in your SEO journey. I’m looking forward to seeing you all find your place online!