Photography SEO Guide

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Browncoat, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. Browncoat

    Browncoat No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This topic of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all the rage these days, and it seems that more and more "experts" and "gurus" are popping up all over the internet with advice on how to reach the #1 spot in Google's search rankings. It is next to impossible to filter out which information is good, and which is bad. I will try to be brief, yet comprehensive with this guide so that it may be used as a resource for those seeking real information on SEO.


    SEO FACTS AND MYTHS

    As I said before, there is a lot of garbage floating around out there in cyberspace on this topic. Mostly because SEO is not an exact science, there is no formula or pattern for guaranteed success. Buyer beware of sites that try to sell you e-books or any other kind of so-called service.
    1. SEO is not a one-time thing. It is an ongoing process that involves marketing creativity and HTML know-how.

    2. No one can guarantee results. Do not fall for online scams that claim to guarantee #1 rankings and ask for your credit card. You are wasting your money.

    3. Nearly 85% of all internet users will use a search engine during their online session. Of those, an overwhelming majority use Google.

    4. Search engines constantly update and change their algorithms. What was good practice last month, may be nearly irrelevant now. Any online article about SEO that you have read that is dated before 2008 should be considered practically worthless.

    5. Real SEO is a complete package. It is not any one thing alone, but a good combination of factors known to contribute to good optimization. There is no "catch-all" or #1 ranking factor.

    6. It's true that Flash is not good for SEO purposes. It looks pretty, but might as well be invisible to search engine spiders.

    7. Don't get caught up in the keyword game. There are companies out there paying for just about every keyword imaginable, so unless you want to invest heavily in an ad campaign, just stick to taking photos.

    BEST SEO FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

    The absolute best thing you can do is register your own domain. This gives you complete control over the content of your site and of its optimization. While sites like SmugMug and such are nice for galleries, they're not going to help much with SEO, regardless of their claims.

    WordPress is an excellent way to get started. It is a blogging platform with tens of thousands of themes and its easy to use interface makes publishing web pages a snap. There are simple to follow instructions on uploading it to your site and it is easy to maintain and update. There are great photo-related themes and plug-ins available as well.

    You will get the most optimization out of having your own name in your URL. In doing this, you not only protect your namesake, but it is a sure-fire way to land your site at the very top of search engine listings for your name.

    Also look into geotagging and optimizing for local search. This includes registering with Google Places, which literally puts you on the map.


    OPTIMIZING YOUR IMAGES

    When you upload images to your site, try to use a descriptive title, such as "Water-Lillies.JPG" as opposed to default naming conventions like "DSC00123.JPG". Using a dash (-) in file names is perfectly acceptable, because search engine spiders view them as nothing more than a space.

    In addition, make use of the HTML <ALT> and <TITLE> tags, which allows you to be even more descriptive with your images. Do not use the same descriptions on any two images.

    Photoblogs are very powerful. This is why I can not recommend using WordPress enough. Placing your water lilly image amongst your own text describing the shot and where you took it is chock full of SEO value.

    Lastly, upload all images to your site in a high-level directory such as mysite.com/images.


    SOCIAL MEDIA AND LINKS

    Links are the currency of the internet. In order to get started on a well-rounded SEO effort, you should involve social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Always provide links for alternative ways for your visitors to find you!

    Additionally, comment on other photoblogs and the work of others. In the comments section of many blogs, you can enter your URL, which is another link that adds some SEO value to your site. You can also add your link to your forum signature. In short,
    the more links to your site, the better!


    RESOURCES

    This has been a very short and simple primer, aimed at the web novice. SEO isn't rocket science, but it's not an exact science either. A great book for beginners is Search Engine Optimization an Hour a Day by Jennifer Grappone.

    Here are some links to some credible resources that will help you get started:

    Google Webmaster Tools

    Official Google Blog

    SEOmoz

    Image Optimization (a bit old, but still relevant)


     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Well done.:thumbup:
     
  3. LarissaPhotography

    LarissaPhotography TPF Noob!

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    definitely plenty of good info online about how to SEO - thanks for sharing
     
  4. photoseo

    photoseo TPF Noob!

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    As much great information as there is out there on how to SEO, that's only a "part" of the bigger picture. Understanding linking structure, types of links to go after, the strategies involved is also a MAJOR piece of what is involved. However, knowing the basics in terms of your own on page SEO will help you in the serps but you'll need a lot more than that to rank well for the terms that you're looking to target. But always include your keywords in your titles, your alt tags for your images and make sure the alt tags are relevant and accurate.
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Quit spamming, please.
     
  6. mjhoward

    mjhoward TPF Noob!

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  7. etnad0

    etnad0 TPF Noob!

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    Very well said and well written. I've been doing my own SEO for a while and there is 1 factor everyone seems to forget... LUCK. I do my normal SEO, but sometimes I'll write something in an article that hits #1 page on Google. I had no intention of that particular phrase being a keyword I was going for, but it worked.

    My next piece of advice is to write to help people understand your point of view not for SEO. If people don't like the way you right or feel like you are just trying to get traffic, most times they won't come back. Make your site enjoyable and most of the SEO from links will take care of itself over time.
     

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