Category Archive : SEO

Unconventional Ways to WIN with Rand Fishkin

Chase Jarvis Photography Chase

This week on the show we’ve got serial entrepreneur, marketer extraordinaire and SEO genius Rand Fishkin. Among other things, the guy is an online content legend, having built the legendary MOZ, one of the first online resources / communities helping creators optimize for SEO (yes search engine optimization…aka if you make content, it’s helping your people find you on the internet) and now he’s got a new company you’ve gotta know about, and a new BOOK, called Lost & Founder – aimed at helping all of us creators and entrepreneurs find our way. SUCH A USEFUL BOOK. But even more than the “what” Rand does…it’s the HOW he does it that I find completely extraordinary. Everything, it seems, has been non-traditional. From college dropout to serial entrepreneur. Join us on this conversational journey as we dispel startup culture tropes, ‘best practices’ and fight back against “traditional” wisdom. A few topics from this episode: There are three key components to building successful and enjoyable content: build on a medium that you are passionate about, create something of unique value, and put the content where your audience actually hangs out.  Sounds easy, but Rand is unapologetic and VERY helpful in guiding us […]

The post Unconventional Ways to WIN with Rand Fishkin appeared first on Chase Jarvis Photography.

Unconventional Ways to WIN with Rand Fishkin

Chase Jarvis Photography Chase

This week on the show we’ve got serial entrepreneur, marketer extraordinaire and SEO genius Rand Fishkin. Among other things, the guy is an online content legend, having built the legendary MOZ, one of the first online resources / communities helping creators optimize for SEO (yes search engine optimization…aka if you make content, it’s helping your people find you on the internet) and now he’s got a new company you’ve gotta know about, and a new BOOK, called Lost & Founder – aimed at helping all of us creators and entrepreneurs find our way. SUCH A USEFUL BOOK. But even more than the “what” Rand does…it’s the HOW he does it that I find completely extraordinary. Everything, it seems, has been non-traditional. From college dropout to serial entrepreneur. Join us on this conversational journey as we dispel startup culture tropes, ‘best practices’ and fight back against “traditional” wisdom. A few topics from this episode: There are three key components to building successful and enjoyable content: build on a medium that you are passionate about, create something of unique value, and put the content where your audience actually hangs out.  Sounds easy, but Rand is unapologetic and VERY helpful in guiding us […]

The post Unconventional Ways to WIN with Rand Fishkin appeared first on Chase Jarvis Photography.

Unconventional Ways to WIN with Rand Fishkin

Chase Jarvis Photography Chase

This week on the show we’ve got serial entrepreneur, marketer extraordinaire and SEO genius Rand Fishkin. Among other things, the guy is an online content legend, having built the legendary MOZ, one of the first online resources / communities helping creators optimize for SEO (yes search engine optimization…aka if you make content, it’s helping your people find you on the internet) and now he’s got a new company you’ve gotta know about, and a new BOOK, called Lost & Founder – aimed at helping all of us creators and entrepreneurs find our way. SUCH A USEFUL BOOK. But even more than the “what” Rand does…it’s the HOW he does it that I find completely extraordinary. Everything, it seems, has been non-traditional. From college dropout to serial entrepreneur. Join us on this conversational journey as we dispel startup culture tropes, ‘best practices’ and fight back against “traditional” wisdom. A few topics from this episode: There are three key components to building successful and enjoyable content: build on a medium that you are passionate about, create something of unique value, and put the content where your audience actually hangs out.  Sounds easy, but Rand is unapologetic and VERY helpful in guiding us […]

The post Unconventional Ways to WIN with Rand Fishkin appeared first on Chase Jarvis Photography.

5 SEO Pro Tips for Your Photo Website

PetaPixel Sponsored Post

Whether you’re just starting your photography career or have years of experience, being found in search engines is critical to accomplishing your goals. In this post, we’ll be sharing 5 helpful SEO tips that can help your photography website place well in search engines.

Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Squarespace.

Search engine optimization (SEO) for photographers is different than SEO for other professions due to the necessary enhanced focus on image optimization, which has its own set of best practices. We will dive into individual image optimization techniques later, but first we must look at the bigger picture.

Tip #1: Use The Right Keywords

Put yourself in the mind of your customer and think of what keywords they’d type in Google if they were looking to buy what you sell. SEO is keyword driven so determining the keywords people use to find your products gives you an idea of the keywords for which you should attempt to rank well. Google’s Keyword Planner allows you to get search volume estimates so you can tell if “wedding photographer” gets more searches than “wedding photography.” Having this insight will allow you to better understand which keywords to focus on and include in your content.

As you can see from the example above, you can see that “wedding photography” has around 5,000 more searches per month than “wedding photographer” however if you consider the intent of the two queries, it’s possible that some of the people searching for “wedding photography” are looking for inspiration for their photos or something else besides an actual photographer. 100% of people searching for “wedding photographer” are looking for a photographer, so it makes more sense to target that keyword.

It’s always better to chase intent rather than volume, so if two keywords have similar volume, always best to target the one that is more indicative of a user looking to be interested in what you’re offering.

There is also interest in packages and prices, so it would be important to have content on your site that can help address the questions people may have around how much your services cost and what packages you offer.

Tip #2: Use Content to Answer Questions

Once you understand the keywords to target based on your keyword research, think about the questions your customers have and create content that answers those questions.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) style content typically ranks well in search engines since it often explicitly answers the question that search engines think users have based on their query. Search engines try to determine your intent based on the keywords you enter, so answering questions directly often allows your site to rank due to the search engine matching your answer with what it believes the user is asking for based on their query.

There are tools like KeywordTool.io which show specific questions people have around a certain topic. Continuing with the wedding photographer example, you can get an idea of what types of questions you should answer with content on your site:

Tip #3: Local First

Search engines realize that most people looking for photographers are looking for photographers that are near them. It’s rare that a person in Phoenix is looking for a photographer who works in Des Moines. When a search is done for “photographer” in Google, it’s local photographers that show up first, followed by review sites (Yelp and Thumbtack show up most often).

Establishing a presence on Google My Business will make it more likely that you can show up towards the top when people search.

Having positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Thumbtack can also ensure you have presence in organic search results. Google ranks those sites high because people are interested in reviews, and the more positive reviews you have from those sites the higher you are going to rank within those sites. SEO takes time, and an effective way to get business while you’re still working on promoting your site and working your way up the rankings is to go where there is always a lot of traffic, and that is on Yelp and Thumbtack.

Tip #4: Optimizing Individual Images

At the heart of any photographer’s website will be examples of their work. While many of the recommendations for optimizing individual images that follow are technical in nature, a good content management system (CMS) will make these easy to implement. Squarespace has a robust set of SEO features in the event you’re starting from scratch or looking to migrate from your current CMS. Below are six elements to optimize for each image to ensure that your images can be found:

1. Filename. The file name should be descriptive of the image. If you’re showing a picture of a green dress, the file name should be “green-dress.jpg” or something as descriptive. It should not be “img256.jpg” or another ambiguous string of characters.

2. Image compression. Try to reduce the size of the image to make sure it loads quickly. Users and search engines don’t like sites that take a while to load, and one of the most significant causes of slow load times is large image files. There are many tools available online that easily allow you to reduce the size of your images while maintaining their quality before you upload them to your site.

3. Alt text. Descriptive alternative text (also known as “alt text”) should accompany each picture. Most content management systems will allow you to easily add an alt attribute, which should be as descriptive as possible. Because search engines still can’t “see” what an image contains, they use alt text to better understand what the image is about, and what you place in the alt text could influence the types of keywords the image can rank for in Google.

4. Facebook Open Graph tags and Twitter Card markup. Facebook and Twitter provide tags which allow site owners to make their images more shareable on their respective platforms. Implementing Open Graph tags and Twitter Card tags makes it easier for the images to be shared on social media, which can help with search engine visibility. This is technical, so finding plugins that work with your content management system is the easiest way to accomplish this.

5. Text around images. In addition to using the image alt text to understand what an image contains, search engines also look at the text around an image to get contextual clues. Including a few sentences directly before or after the image is place on your site will help search engines get a better understanding of what the image is and what keywords it should show up for in search results.

6. Specify a width and a height for all images. Search engines can load a page faster if they’re aware of the height and width elements of an image since they can better understand how the content should be placed around the image. Since having a fast loading site is an important user experience factor which could also contribute to SEO visibility, this simple step can go a long way. Fortunately, most content management systems allow you to set these values easily or automatically set them for you.

Tip #5: Image Sitemaps

For the overly technical audience, submitting an image sitemap can help Google better understand your image content. You can create a separate image sitemap, or combine image information to your already existing sitemap. Google provides detailed information about setting up image sitemaps.

Recap

SEO should be taken seriously by photographers if they’re looking to grow their business. The channel can provide significant new business opportunities once top rankings have been attained, however it’s going to take time and effort. The tips mentioned throughout this post are a great start.

Squarespace has a robust set of SEO features to help your business get found, making it a great choice if you’re just starting out or looking to switch. Try Squarespace free for 14-day days. When you’re ready to subscribe use code ‘PETAPIXEL’ for 10% off your first domain or website purchase.

Eric Kim Proves the Value (and Fallacy) of SEO for Photographers

PetaPixel Allen Murabayashi

In nearly every industry, the Web has enabled a cadre of Internet-famous individuals, who on the merits of their marketing prowess have gained massive followings without necessarily acquiring the skills that has traditionally defined an “expert.”

At the surface, the phenomena seems entirely meritocratic—use hard work to circumvent the traditional gatekeepers, thereby building an audience that one can then monetize. But the insidious by-product is a “fake news” quality to the content. Should we believe and/or value the information?

One of the more polarizing figures in the photo industry is street photographer and workshop instructor Eric Kim, whose website frequently appears as the #1 result when searching “street photography” (search result position can vary by who is executing the search, so experts often refer to the average position which can be gleaned through Google Search Console).

While other photographers have spent time building up followers on Instagram, Kim has focused on creating massive amounts of blog content for the simple reason that the Web is arguably a better mechanism for discovery and “intent.”

Instagram’s discovery mechanism uses keywords, hashtags, and network associations to uncover other images and accounts that you might like—but the user’s intention is usually just to find similar content.

By contrast, the Web offers users to act upon more specific “intent.” A user can go from broad intent (e.g. “Nikon D810”) to more specific intent (e.g. “Nikon D810 vs Canon 5D”) that leads to conversion (e.g. the purchase of a camera). For Kim, this means using his high position in search results to introduce himself as an expert in street photography, which can can potentially lead to a user shelling out thousands of dollars to attend his workshop.

To “win” at search, websites need good Search Engine Optimization (SEO)—the practice of creating content then building links, social activity and domain strength so that a given page comes up higher in search results. Kim exploits a few well-known techniques to build a large ground-covering of content, including:

  • Click-bait headlines
  • Use of listicles
  • Controversial topics & a quirky writing style that cause his content (all open-sourced) to be reposted by sites like DPReview, PetaPixel, Flipboard, etc.—which helps him build inbound links, strengthening his SEO.

Kim’s content is prolific and well-positioned. Here’s a list of search terms and their search result position:

  • street photography: #1
  • street photographer: #7
  • Street photography workshop: #4
  • Joseph Koudelka: #4
  • Bruce Davidson: #5
  • Bruce Gilden: #6
  • Martin Parr: #5
  • Alex Webb: #5
  • David Alan Harvey: #6
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson: #5
  • Elon musk photography: #1

Now imagine you have an interest in photography, and come across a piece on Bruce Gilden. You search for “Bruce Gilden” and see Kim’s “5 Lessons Bruce Gilden Has Taught Me About Photography.”

In Google’s “People also search for” box, you click on “Martin Parr,” and you see Kim’s “10 Things Martin Parr Can Teach You About Photography.” As you move down the rabbit hole of street photography, you keep coming across Kim’s content which leads you to believe that he is an expert in street photography.

Is he?

From the viewpoint of building a business around photography, the answer is irrelevant. Whether you like him or not, he has been as successful as any of his Internet-famous photography peers, and is doing what he set out to do, namely: make a living through photography (that his income comes from teaching might concern you, but it certainly doesn’t bother Kim).

More photographers should be building textual content (i.e. blogging) on their websites.

The fallacy of his SEO conquest is that he is, by his own admission, “not the best photographer out there.” Although well-read and erudite, his writing skills are mediocre—partially because he never edits his work—relying on a stream-of-consciousness style that allows him to be prolific, but not insightful. Thus the way he represents photography is not that of either a professional photographer, nor a thoughtful critic of photography.

He is playing the SEO game with great success, and building resentment from a large part of the community—both professional and amateur—who view him as a charlatan.

Kim mostly participates in the “long tail” of SEO, building content against niche topics. He isn’t trying to rank for terms like “Canon DSLR,” instead writing about content within the street photography realm.

An analysis of his most popular post reveals 1100 backlinks—that is, 1100 links from other sites reference his content. It is a relatively large, but not insurmountable number of backlinks, which means that the next Eric Kim could be around the corner if he/she committed to creating regular content. Why not a photographer like Andre D. Wagner, Issui Enomoto, or Che’ Ahmad Azhar?

As more professional photographers diversify their revenue streams away from strict picture taking, they ought to take a cue from people like Kim. They might never respect his photography, but they could learn from his marketing acumen. In the world of SEO, content is king; and for better or worse, Kim rules the streets.


About the author: Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, which regularly publishes resources for photographers. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Allen is a graduate of Yale University, and flosses daily. This article was also published here.


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