SEO for Photographers
A simple (but effective) step-by-step guide to build a targeted SEO marketing strategy for photographers.
A Step-by-Step Photographer SEO Guide
Are you ready to attract more clients to your photography business through organic search? Keep reading to learn how a targeted SEO photography marketing strategy can help you get found by potential clients online.
In this guide you will learn:
Intro to SEO →
Keyword Research →
On-Page SEO →
Off-Page SEO →
Best Practices →
FAQs & Resources →
What is SEO for photographers?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website or web page to increase its visibility in search engines, like Google and Bing.
SEO is an important factor for any photographer looking to get more clients, as the higher a website appears in Google, the greater the chance a potential customer clicks through to your website.
Think of it like image optimization for your website.
Just as image optimization involves adjusting the settings to create the best possible image, SEO involves making sure your website is ‘healthy’. Or in other terms: to ensure it is easily found by search engines so you get more traffic to your site.
Did you know?
- 99% of people use the internet to search for local businesses. (Source: BrightLocal)
- Consumer use of Google to evaluate local businesses has leapt from 63% in 2020 to 81% in 2021. (Source: BrightLocal)
- Mobile devices are used for over 50% of all online searches. (Source: Statista)
A person searching for a photographer on Google may use a search query like “photographer near me” or “best photography studio in [city name]”.
They may search for specific services such as “wedding photography” or “portrait photographer”. Or they may even include the type of photography in the search query such as “nature photographer in [city name]”.
In order to benefit from SEO, you want your website to rank for these kind of searches.
Why is photography SEO important?
Here are some of the benefits of using SEO for your photography business:
- Increased visibility: SEO helps to increase the visibility of a photography website on search engines, making it more likely that potential clients will find you when searching for photography services.
- Cost-effective: Compared to traditional advertising methods like print or television, SEO can be a cost-effective way for a photographer to reach new clients.
- Targeted audience: SEO allows a photographer to target specific keywords that align with their services, specialties, and offerings.
- Local SEO: Local SEO helps increase a website’s visibility for people searching within a specific geographic location. This can be particularly beneficial for photographers as it allows them to target people searching for services in their local area.
- Building trust: SEO can help a photography website to establish trust and authority with search engines and potential clients by providing high-quality, relevant content. This can also help to attract new clients and build a strong reputation in the community.
Photography businesses, while not bound by specific regulations like some industries, must still adhere to general business laws and online practices. These may include copyright laws, privacy regulations, and FTC guidelines for online advertising and endorsements. Therefore, it’s important that the SEO strategies and tactics used by photographers comply with these standards and best practices.
How do search engines work?
Search engines work by crawling billions of webpages with their own web crawlers, known as search engine bots or spiders. These are then stored and saved in an index.
Google Search Essentials (formerly Webmaster Guidelines)
The Google Search Essentials define the actions that webmasters can take to make their websites better indexable or crawlable.
Read them here: Official Google Guidelines
The guidelines are based on three central aspects:
- Crawling – webmasters should support Google in finding websites.
- Indexing – webmasters should help Google to classify and “recognize” the content.
- Usability and user experience – webmasters should support the users of the websites in their use (usability and user experience).
Essentially, according to these Google guidelines, a website should support the search engine in crawling and indexing and ensure a good user experience.
Before you get started with SEO, there are a few prerequisites you want to check off first:
At a bare minimum, you want to make sure you cover these basic standards before embarking on doing SEO:
- Website Speed – Have a fast loading site so potential customers don’t get tired of waiting for things to load.
- Mobile Friendliness – Make sure your site works on mobile as over 50% of users browse on mobile devices
- Analytics – Setup Google Analytics, Google Search Console & so you can understand what is and isn’t working.
- XML Sitemap – search engines use this to get your site’s URLs
- Robots.txt – tells search engine crawlers where they can (and where they can’t go) on your site.
Technical SEO is the process of making website and server optimizations to help search engines to crawl and index your site more effectively (and therefore help to improve organic rankings).
Technical errors can hurt a website’s ability to rank. There are potentially a lot of errors, but here are some of the most common that will have the biggest impact when fixed:
- 404 errors
- Broken backlinks
- Poor URL structure
- Duplicate/thin content
- Poor internal linking
- Poor website architecture
- Missing metadata (page titles & meta descriptions)
- Missing H1 tags
Reach more clients with photography SEO services
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of identifying the words and phrases that people use when searching for specific products or services:
Once you understand the keywords your target audience is using, you can optimize your website to appear for these in search results.
Think of it like a lens focus for your website. Just as a photographer adjusts their lens to capture the perfect image, keyword research helps you to understand what people are searching for online when they are looking for photography services.
This information can be used to optimize your website, so that it appears higher in search results when people search for those keywords.
Why is keyword research important?
Keyword research is important for photographers because it helps to:
- Understand what people are searching for when they are looking for photography services, and to optimize their website accordingly.
- Identify the specific needs and preferences of their target audience, which can inform the content they create and services they offer, ultimately leading to more bookings and better client experiences.
- Identify the competition in the local area and understand what they are doing, so they can create a more effective SEO strategy.
What keywords are best to target?
Understand that there’s no “best” keywords, just those that are highly searched by your audience. With this in mind, it’s up to you to craft a strategy that will help you rank pages and drive traffic.
The best keywords for your SEO strategy will take into account relevance, authority, and volume. You want to find highly searched keywords that you can reasonably compete for based on:
- The level of competition you’re up against.
- Your ability to produce content that exceeds in quality what’s currently ranking.
Short tail keywords are broad, general keywords that are made up of one or two words:
- Wedding photography
- Portrait photos
- Commercial photography
- Event photography
Whereas long tail keywords are more specific and longer phrases that are made up of multiple words:
- Wedding photographer in [city name]
- Newborn photography services near me
- Professional headshots in [your area]
- Affordable event photographer in [city]
- Commercial product photography services
How to do keyword research for your photography business
To start keyword research: put yourself in your customers shoes.
What words, phrases and terms might they use in order to find solutions to these problems? These are the keywords you want to find and target.
Here is a simple process to follow:
Step 1) Make a list of broad topics
Create a list of general topics related to your business. These might correspond to product categories, services or anything you believe your target audience would be interested in.
For example, broad topics like:
- Wedding Photography
- Portrait Photography
- Commercial Photography
- Event Photography
- Travel Photography
Step 2) Expand topics into a list of phrases
Now you want to take those topics and expand them into a list of related phrases to target.
Imagine yourself as a buyer looking for your product or service and ask yourself: what would I type into Google?
Whilst keyword research tools are useful here, you can do this for free by Googling your keyword.
For example, Google “wedding photography” and you’ll get a list of related questions people ask (which you can answer with blog content):
As well as related searches which may uncover other keywords to target:
Step 3) Analyze your keywords
Once you have a list of potential keywords, you need to gauge which terms are worth targeting.
You’ll need to use a keyword research tool here to pay attention to the following keyword metrics:
- Search volume
- Search value over time
- SERP features
But most importantly, you want to consider relevancy and search intent:
For relevancy, you want to ask yourself:
- Are these keywords relevant to my business?
- Do I have a chance of ranking for these terms based on the competition?
- Is ranking for these keywords going to have a positive ROI?
If you can answer YES to the above questions, chances are you have picked a relevant keyword
Search intent is the goal and purpose of a search query in Google. When someone searches for something, they are typically looking for more information before performing an action.
Search intent falls in four buckets:
- Informational – Searchers looking for information, they’ll use words like: how, what, why, when etc.
- Navigational – Searchers trying to find a specific site, they’ll use words relating to the service/product/brand
- Transactional – Searchers looking to purchase, they’ll use words like: buy, cost, pricing, cheap etc.
- Commercial investigation – Searchers researching prior to making a purchase, they’ll use words like: best, review, comparison etc
Not only is it important to select good keywords, but also to pick keywords you have a chance of ranking for.
For example, if you want to rank for the keyword: “Wedding Photography Checklist” but your page doesn’t feature a checklist, you are not meeting a searchers intent so may struggle to rank for it.
Find profitable photography keywords
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO describes specific elements of the pages on your website that you control, such as:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags
- Internal linking
Why is on-page SEO important?
On-page SEO is important for photographers because it helps to ensure that their website is easily found and understood by search engines, which can increase visibility and drive more traffic to the website. This can ultimately lead to more bookings for the photography service.
For example, if a photographer specializes in “wedding photography” and this service is not mentioned on the website or not prominently mentioned, it will be less likely for the website to appear in the search results when someone searches for “wedding photography” or related terms. On the other hand, if the photographer has optimized their website with the service “wedding photography” as a focus keyword, it will be more likely to appear in the search results when someone searches for that term, and hence, more likely to attract clients looking for that service.
Additionally, on-page optimization can also help to improve the overall user experience of a website, which can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates. For example, having a well-organized and easy-to-navigate website with clear calls to action such as “Book a Shoot” or “Contact Me” will be more likely to convert visitors into clients.
On-Page SEO Checklist
- Use short & descriptive URLs – this helps people searching to understand what your page is about in Google.
- Write a good title tag & meta description – these show up in Google and help searchers understand what your page is about.
- Linking to relevant resources – this helps users to navigate your website.
- Optimize your images – give them a descriptive filename and alt text.
- Add schema markup – this helps search engines to understand your content
- Add internal links – these help Google understand what your page is about and to navigate your website.
Get actionable insights into your photography SEO
What is off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO refers to specific actions done outside of your website, such as getting backlinks from other websites or social media.
What is link building?
Link building is the practice of building one-way hyperlinks (also known as “backlinks”) to a website with the goal of improving SEO. Common link building strategies include content marketing, building useful tools, email outreach, broken link building and guest posts.
Why is link building important?
Link building is important for photographers because it helps to increase the visibility of a website on search engines. Google, for example, uses links to a website as a way to determine the authority and trustworthiness of a website.
The more high-quality links that point to a website, the more likely it is to be considered an authority in its field and be given higher rankings in the SERPs (search engine results page).
This increased visibility can drive more traffic to a website, which can lead to more bookings for the photography service. By being linked from reputable photography blogs, portfolio websites, or other industry-specific sites, a photographer’s website can attract potential clients who are interested in their work and are more likely to book their services.
Link Building Tactics:
- Guest posts (either DIY it or use a done-for-you guest post service)
- Buying backlinks (like authority links)
- Content marketing (like linkable assets or editorial links)
- Tried and tested SEO methods (like blogger outreach, broken link building
- Using what you’ve got (link reclamation and brand mentions)
Additionally, link building can also help to establish a photographer as a reputable and trusted professional in their field, which can be a key factor in attracting new clients. High-quality links from reputable websites in the photography industry can be an indication to potential clients that the photographer is well-respected and proficient in their field.
Link building can also help to increase the referral traffic to a website, where visitors are directed to the website through a link on another website. This can help to increase brand awareness and reach new audiences who may not have otherwise found the website.
In summary, link building is crucial for photographers because it helps to increase visibility, establish reputation and trust, and drive more referral traffic to their website, which can lead to more bookings. A strategic link building campaign can lead to more visibility for their work, attracting potential clients and helping to grow their photography business.
Get high quality backlinks
Photographer SEO Best Practices (+ 4 Tips)
- Use HTTPs (SSL certificates)
- Make sure your web site pages load fast
- Target a relevant topic that has traffic potential
- Meet search intent
- Target a topic you can compete for
- Use your target keyword in your page title, H1 tag and URL
- Use a short (but descriptive) URL
- Write a good title tag and meta description
- Optimize your images
- Write good content
- Add internal links
- Get more quality backlinks
4 Actionable Photography SEO Tips
Here are some things your practice can do to begin the process of developing a good photography marketing strategy.
- Add relevant keywords
- Optimize for local searches
- Start blogging
- Earn links
1. Add relevant keywords to your website
People looking for photographers often search for specific services like wedding photography, newborn photography, or commercial product photography. Long-tail searches, typically have fewer searches, but the traffic that comes from them is often highly targeted and ready to turn into real customers.
For example, instead of just focusing on optimizing your website for “photographer” or “photography services,” you could add keywords like “photographer in [your city]” or “wedding photographer in [your area]” or “product photography in [your city], [state]” to it.
2. Optimize your site for local searches
If your SEO plan doesn’t use local SEO to target specific areas, you’ll likely miss out on some great leads. Adding the name of your town and nearby towns to your website copy is the easiest way to get better results.
Don’t forget about things on your site besides writing copy. You should also add places to the titles and URLs of your pages.
Also, make sure that your business is listed on Google Maps and local directory sites. This will help your business show up more in local searches.
3. Start writing useful content
The main goal of photography SEO is to get more clients by making your website more visible in Google.
One way to do this is to write a blog. If you write a blog with tips on how to prepare for a photoshoot, or how to choose the perfect location for engagement photos, you’ll start to get interested readers and possible clients. As your traffic grows, so will your search rankings, and people looking for a photographer in your area will turn to you as a reliable source.
4. Earn quality links
How high your site ranks in search results for keywords and phrases related to your business depends on how many and how good the links are to it. This means that you need to get good links if you want to keep your rankings.
You can do this by creating engaging content and reaching out to bloggers and influencers in your field to ask them to share it. This will not only help you move up in search results, but it will also establish your photography business as a leader in the field.
Backlinks are a crucial part of SEO for photographers. They are like a vote of confidence for the content your business puts out. Because of this, links are one of the most important ways that search engines like Google decide how to rank pages.
- Not doing enough keyword research
- Not matching user/search intent
- Targeting keywords that are far too difficult
- Not building enough quality backlinks
- Breaking Google’s Terms of Service when building backlinks
- Missing out on internal link opportunities
- Not allowing Google crawl your content
- Not allowing Google index your content
- Having a very slow site
- Treating SEO as a one-time thing
How does photographer SEO work?
SEO for photographers means making sure that your website is optimised for both search engines and users. This makes your website more visible in relevant and organic search results.
- on-page SEO
- link building
- technical SEO review
- content audit
- local citation audit
Why do photographers need marketing?
It helps you set your business apart.
Your clients are your customers. A marketing plan not only helps you find your target market, but it also helps your clients understand why they should choose your photography services.
A good photography marketing strategy should bring in new clients, retain the ones you have, and make more people aware of your offerings. The main goal is to get potential clients to inquire, book a session, or schedule a consultation online.
How long does photography SEO take?
Typically, photography SEO takes at least six months to deliver results.
In some cases, practices may start to see results like increased traffic, phone calls, and appointments, in faster timeframe than this.
Although typically 6 months is a good benchmark as SEO is a long-term strategy vs. a short-term strategy like PPC.
How much does SEO for photographers cost?
Prices for photography website SEO depend on multiple factors, but the average cost for photography SEO is $1500 – $5000 per month.
If you’re looking to partner with a consultant or SEO expert, the average rate is $100 – $300 per hour.
We do guest posts better than anyone else with complete transparency. You get to approve all placements before they’re made and even the exact anchor text that’s going to be used. Site owners themselves will produce your content to guarantee its a perfect match.
Crafting the right message isn’t just a matter of choosing the right words. We develop site content and blogs using the latest tools to determine the right keywords and balance of terms to build high-performing content.
Sometimes, it takes more than just one service to make a difference. Multiple services working in concert can amplify the effect and create the growth that’s evaded you in the past. Talk to us about managed SEO campaigns built around any of your goals.
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