SEO Tips for Photographers
“SEO” might get thrown around like a marketing-speak buzzword, but if you’re in the business of, well, almost anything, it’s actually something you need to know. Search engine optimization is necessary for just about every business. Still, many small business owners and sole proprietors seem vexed by what it means and what it does.
To put it technically, search engine optimization is how your website communicates to a search engine that you exist and can respond to the query the user is typing into the engine’s search bar. Keywords and phrases are like little beacons of light calling search engines and searchers to your shore. More basically, it’s how Google knows to turn up your website — and not yours competitor’s — first when someone goes looking for you or someone like you.
So how do you make search engines work for you? SEO coach and strategist Gary Hughes says it’s best to start with your keywords, and make sure they’re built into your site and heavily in use on your blog. (Not sure you should have a blog? Here’s why you definitely, definitely should).
“If you don’t have your keywords set up, Google is not going to be able to make that connection between the user and you.”
To help you call your search ships to shore, Gary put together a list of rules explicitly dealing with SEO for photographers. Specifically, he called out these four rules for picking better keywords.
Think like a client, not a photographer. “Portrait is a word photographers use, it isn’t a word people use, ” Gary explains. Specifically, he saysm “portrait” is a word photographers use to describe their products to lend specificity and value, but it is not common parlance. Someone looking for family portraits is much more likely to use a search akin to “family photography.” Of course, the exact phrase you’ll want to target will be determined by your region, but the real point is to use the same words the consumer uses, not the pros in the field.
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What are some tips for photographing strangers?
I do a lot of street photography, and I will typically hold my camera up for a potential subject to see, then wait for a nod of permission. 90% of the time people don't mind. Occasionally they do, and that will be very clear.
I get some of my best photos on the bus and at bus stops. The great thing about photographing people is that people are everywhere. And for me, the ordinary is just as interesting as the extraordinary.