We’ve gone over a lot of the pieces of blogging so far. It’s totally worth it, but it still takes time and effort to put together. And it would really suck to put a bunch of time into blogging, but have your potential clients never see it.
I mean blogging is fun and all, but let’s face it, you’re not doing it for your health.
You want to make sure that your potential clients are finding and reading all those blog posts you took the time to write.
The best way to do this is to make sure that each blog post is optimized for search engines, or what’s known as, Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short.
At its most basic level, SEO is using keywords and phrases within your post to make sure that you and your website or blog/blog post gets found by someone searching for the particular topic that your website or blog post is focused on.
It’s how when you search for “Photographers in Los Angeles,” for example, you get a list of a bunch of photographers that cater to the Los Angeles area.
Each blog post you write should have solid SEO too.
SEO keywords and phrases are optimized in the following places on each blog post:
- Blog post title
- Content and Header
- Image file names and alt text
We’ll go over some of the basics for each of these areas.
Blog Post Title
Before you come up with a title, think first about what your blog post is about. If it’s a blog post of a portrait session you did, it may be something like Cindy’s Senior Portraits.
This is a good start, but you’re only half way there. The blog post title in this case should also include a location. After all, ‘Cindy’s Senior Portraits’ could technically have been taken anywhere, so how would Google know to return this blog post as a result if someone is looking for Senior Portraits in, say, Los Angeles?
A better title would be something like Los Angeles Senior Portraits of Cindy. It has a location and includes the topic of the blog post (senior portraits – specifically Cindy’s senior portraits). Now Google and potential readers have a good idea of what’s contained within the post.
So for every blog post you write, make sure you have a strong keyword/keyword phrase. In this example, it’s Los Angeles Senior Portraits. It contains a location and a topic, which makes it so that anyone searching for senior portraits in the Los Angeles area will hopefully find your blog post in the search results.
For each blog post you do your keyword phrase will be different, which is ok; just make sure that whatever it is, it makes it into your blog post title.
This is the website link to your blog post. By default, WordPress uses web URLs, which have a lot of random numbers and symbols in them. However, this doesn’t tell anyone (Google or people) anything about what’s included in the post.
Instead, you’ll want to make sure your blog post permalink also reflects the content of the blog post.
To change this default in WordPress:
- Click on your “Dashboard” of your WordPress site
- Click on “Settings”
- Click on “Permalinks”
- Click “Post Name”
This will make it so that the permalink will reflect whatever name you give your post. So if you titled your post “Los Angeles Senior Portraits of Cindy” your permalink would probably be something like www.yourblogname.com/los-angeles-senior-portraits-of-cindy/“.
At least somewhere in your content you should have your keyword phrase. These keywords & phrases should be inside the copy of your blog post in a natural flow. It should read like human. This means do not stuff your content with keywords, and instead write your content around those keywords so that it contains them naturally & organically.
Also try and make sure whatever content you write for the blog post, you’re writing at least 300 words. If you write less than that, Google has a harder time really understanding what content is contained in the post, and therefore has a harder time placing it in the correct search results.
So the more text you have in each blog post, the better; and again, try to hit at least 300 words.
It’s also considered good practice to have at least some text in header font (see the picture below if you need help locating how to change the type of font you’re using in a blog post).
Bonus points if you can work your keyword phrase into a header!
Image File Names and Alt Text.
The way you name your images also affects SEO (and how images show up in search results in Google). If you’re doing multiple images from one session or wedding, which many photographers do, you’ll want to use some variations of your keyword phrase.
For example, going back to the phrase: LA senior portraits session.
If you’re putting up 10 images from the session, you could name each image something like “Los-Angeles-Senior-Portraits” and just add a “-1” or “-2” (etc.) at the end of each image. But what would be even better is if you added some variety to it.
Instead, you could do something like this:
And so on (I’m sure you get the idea). The reason behind this being that not everyone searches for a photographer the same way. Some people might search for Los Angeles Senior Portraits, some people might search for a Lo Angeles Senior Portraits Photographer, etc.
This way, you’re increasing your chances of being found on the web by including some variety in your image names.
Alt Text stands for Alternative Text. It’s the text that’s displayed if an image (for whatever reason) can’t be displayed. It’s also really great for telling Google what’s actually in the image, since Google doesn’t have eyes and can’t see for itself – it has to understand via the text surrounding an image.
Alt text should be written in short sentences (with no hyphens or underscores), and describe what’s going on in the picture.
For our senior portraits example, that could be things like:
- Senior portrait taken in Downtown Los Angeles
- Portrait of a senior girl on a track field
- Girl leaning against a building and smiling
If you can work the keyword phrase into the Alt Text, AWESOME. If not, that’s ok, because it’s far more important that the Alt Text describe what’s actually in the image.
(And if you’re not sure how to add alt text to images, a quick Google or YouTube search should turn up a few tutorials.)
One final note….
Adding keywords to your blog post is really important, but what’s even more important is that you write your content for people – not for Google. Never write something like:
“These Los Angeles Senior Portraits of Cindy were taken in Los Angeles for Cindy’s Los Angeles Senior Portraits Session.”
You’d never say that in real life, and Google knows that. And it’ll actually have the opposite effect of what you’re hoping for: it’ll actually hurt your blog post’s SEO instead of helping it.
A great plugin to use to help you with SEO is Yoast SEO. It’s a free plugin, and it helps you optimize each page and blog post on your website by giving it a score as well as tips for how to improve SEO on each page and post. You can check it out here.
I’ve also got a great blog post on the site here that covers some FAQ’s regarding SEO for photographers, and you can check that out here.