Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a series of strategies that are used to increase the number of visitors to a website. It does this by achieving a visible and high-ranking placement in a search engine.
But as a photographer, do you really need SEO to make your site appear in search engines? After all, you have top-quality photos that are sure to attract prospects. In addition, your website’s hosting company is responsible for your SEO and online marketing, right? Nope, wrong.
SEO definitely matters! In the competitive world of internet marketing, your website falls farther in the search results without a sound SEO strategy. Ultimately, viewers won’t be able to find your business.
Here is the list of reasons why you should care about SEO when it comes to your online marketing strategy.
1. The simple truth of online marketing is that if your business can’t be found, you could be missing out on valuable business.
There are so many companies promoting their business online and the competition to be “#1 on Google” is extremely fierce. Innovative website marketing is required to make your business stand out, and SEO is the primary way to ensure your website is being seen by your potential clients.
2. The right SEO techniques attract the right client.
You see, a lot of prospects are looking for the right photographer who can address their specific requirements. And hopefully, you’re that photographer! However, you lose that opportunity if they cannot find you when they search online.
Knowing what your target market is looking for is important. This is where the right keywords come into play. A keyword is a word or phrase that is inserted in your web content that makes it possible for people to find your website by using a search engine. If your website is well optimized, the search engine will display the page where that particular keyword is located.
If you know the keywords your viewers are searching for in Google, you can incorporate those keywords in your content in a natural way.
As Google indexes and ranks your pages for those target keywords, your site becomes more visible. Subsequently, you will draw visitors that match the profile of your ideal clients.
3. Content is king.
Content is everything you publish in your website—text, video and audio clips, photos, infographics, and more. People—and search engines—love to read, view, or listen to content that is interesting, useful, and addresses their specific needs. Quality updated content can easily put your page on the first page of a search engine results page (SERP).
Google crawls over the internet searching for new content, so it is important to regularly update your content. If your content sits and does not get updated regularly, Google loses interest in your website, resulting in decreasing your SERP ranking.
4. A lot of photographers believe that Google does the SEO.
This is definitely not true, and many photographers have lost potential prospects and opportunities due to this belief. To rely on this myth is like having a garage sale without marketing it. No one will come because nobody will know about it But, if you hang signs throughout the neighborhood to let people know that you are having a garage sale and you have great things to sell, then neighbors will be much more likely to come and people may even tell friends and family about your amazing garage sale.
In a nutshell, Google’s work and responsibility are to search your site, index your pages, and calculate your ranking. But improving your chances for better ranking is totally up to you. This can be done through SEO techniques such as publishing quality content, adding strategic keywords, and more.
5. Properly executed SEO allows your website to rank higher in Google’s results.
Studies show that if your page is positioned on the first page of SERP, around 80 to 90 percent of viewers will most likely visit your site. About 14.6% will possibly become customers (Source: http://growthlightning.com/5-reasons-why-seo-matters/).
6. As mentioned in the previous point, it is very difficult to determine how many people actually visit your site or convert to customers with social media likes, tweets, pins, and the like.
Results from your website’s organic SEO, however, are easy to track with the use of Google Analytics. With such a tool, you can see how many customers are visiting your website, how many views you are getting over a certain period of time, what keywords they are using, and other important information. You can even see real-time analytics as potential clients view your website and look through your content (kinda creepy, huh?).
Using this data, you can form strategies to make your website rank higher or be more visible in search engines.
7. With a bit of know-how (or assistance from an SEO expert), you can re-direct pages, add meta descriptions (meta descriptions are short snippets, specifically tags in the HTML, that summarize the content of a page.), strategically place and regulate keywords, and more.
In other words, you have the ability and freedom to customize your content to make it search engine friendly. In addition, your most popular pages/content tend to stay in SERP for a long time, making SEO an excellent strategy for long-term benefits. We even have articles written and published several years ago that are still being visited today!
Many photographers feel that they only need social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and good ole’ word of mouth. These channels are effective marketing tools, but they’re only good for the short term. Let’s assume you rely 100% on Instagram to market your photos. What if, one day, Instagram is replaced by a different channel?
Also, unless you pay an advertising fee, most of the time, your social media updates are visible only to your contacts, followers, and subscribers. What about those who do not know about your business yet? What about those who haven’t subscribed to your social media accounts yet?
This is not to say that social media is inferior to SEO; it can actually be an important component of your SEO strategy.
8. Your competitors are probably utilizing SEO to their advantage.
This is especially true for photographers who are tech- and web-savvy. Photographers know the value of spending time on their search engine strategy. Fortunately, you can catch up as long as you take SEO seriously and dedicate time to improving the content you are posting on your website. Combined with effective keyword research and social media marketing, your website will soar up to the first page of Google and other search engines before you know it!.
As you can see, SEO definitely does matter. Search engine optimization is an essential part of any company’s business plan/strategy in today’s day and age. Done properly, you can and will start to see real results. Of course, this does not happen overnight. Improving your SEO and SERP ranking takes time, so get started today in order to help drive more traffic to your website and help you get your business in front of new potential clients. Good luck!