Click here for the cheat sheet on this post: The Ultimate SEO Image Optimization Guide
How do I get my website seen?!
As a working photographer, I can relate to having to make time for things like, creating a website, marketing and promotion. Even if you’re paying someone else to do it you still have to provide the content and oversee the process, which also takes time.
So, lets say we got our website up after a few days, weeks or even months of working on it and boom we publish it. Congratulations!!! “Now, I’ll just sit back and let all the traffic come in and that should equal sales because traffic = sales, right?” Wrong.
That’s what most people think and it’s a huge loophole in our educational system. Economics and Marketing are not common knowledge. “So, just how do I get my website seen?”
First: You need to submit your sitemap
There’s a few essential steps you have to go through first like submitting your website to the search engines to let them know you exist. To do this you need a sitemap, which is a list of all the pages on your website.
A sitemap lets Google know the structure of your site so it can send the Google bots to “crawl” your site. There’s a Wordpress plugin that will automatically update your sitemap: Google XML Sitemap.
You’ll also need a robots.txt file to let Google know which pages you don’t want indexed (Yoast plugin mentioned below does both for you). You can then submit your site with Google Webmaster Tools.
But wait, Google is not the only search engine! You have to do this for each of the search engines. I recommend starting with Google because they control 70% of traffic on the Internet.
Then do Bing and Yahoo, it isn’t necessary to go beyond there I think. The reason being: what do you use to search for stuff on the Internet? It’s most likely Google, right? So here’s the links for Google & Bing.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization is getting your website ready for the search engines to recognize you. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
Basically the most important aspects of SEO break down page by page on your site. You have to choose the keyword(s) you want to focus on and gear each page around that keyword (a keyword can be a phrase).
Your URL has to have the keyword in it, as well as be a clean URL. Your page title, page content, image tags all should focus on that keyword.
Overstuffing keywords won’t help, it’ll actually hurt so, use the keywords wisely. There are plugins that automatically do this for you depending on what platform you use. For example, WordPress has a great plugin: Yoast SEO (also does your sitemaps). You can find a beginner’s guide to SEO here.
In this post I will talk about the top ways to getting your website seen:
- Provide great content
- Write evergreen content
- Promote your content
- Inbound/Outbound links
- Guest blogging/posting
- Capture your leads
- Create groups
Copyright © 2015 – Onelfri Villar Photography
Top ways to get your website seen
The best way to leverage SEO or get ranked on Google is to provide great content.
Writing great content means that I can read what you wrote a few years down the line and still be like “Yeah! This is cool.” It needs to be something of value that will help people in their business and/or lives.
Of equal importance is evergreen content: content that will be valuable for a long time. For example, “How I saved $276 on a shoot by renting equipment.”
Content has always been the top method for getting traffic to any website, just remember that it takes time so, be consistent with your blog especially!
If you don’t have a blog, you can also create engaging content alongside your photographs. Tell the story of your project, don’t just throw up a bunch of photos and think they’ll speak for themselves.
Everyone is doing this so, the question is how are you going to stand out by doing the same thing? You need a blog! You can set a blog up for free here.
Also, you want to be writing captions along with a short descriptions of each photo. This can be some backstory as to something that may have happened during a shoot or the reaction the client had. Don’t think you only need photos on your website because you’re a photographer.
Google loves websites with plenty of text so this will only benefit you. You don’t have to write an essay each time, I hate essays, I’m sure you do too. Have a conversation with your viewer, speak natural and have fun. Its more likely people will share your content if you do this.
Promote your content
Check out blogs that are similar to yours. Speak with the author of a particular post and share one of your blog posts with them. Don’t ask them to blog about it right away; ask something easier like, “Do you mind sharing this on your Instagram/Twitter?” Message a few people each day.
When you’re reading other content online, which you really should be, comment and get involved with the conversation. Do this as much as possible. This will create new visitors to your site as they see you’re a real person and are engaged in your field.
Use internal links (links to other content on your site) and let people know you have. Use outbound links. There’s always other links you can use in your content, when you do mention other websites or people, let them know. This will make them more receptive to accepting your request above.
You are now networking. Look at websites that are getting a ton of visitors, for example blogs that show up in the top spot in Google (i.e. Huffington Post).
Then find posts that are related to your website/blog. Get to know the writers from these websites. When you start building a relationship, ask them to introduce you to someone else on the site that writes there frequently.
This will allow you to start guest posting/blogging on other websites. You’ll have a bio on that site so, make sure to put a link to your website there. Only provide a link to your website in your post if it’s beneficial to your reader.
These are known as backlinks and are very important. They can really influence your ranking position when coming from authority websites such as The New York Times.
Also, as a creative you might get published or mentioned in a magazine or newspaper, if and when you do get published, lets say by Fast Company on their website, make sure they include a link to your website. For more on backlinks click here.
Capture your leads
So now you have all these people coming to your website. Fantastic! Most creatives/artists don’t even know when people are visiting their websites because; they don’t have a lead capture system in place.
If someone goes to your website and leaves, you’ve lost that person forever. But, if you have a sign-up form where they can put their email or phone number, you now have them forever. Look into Aweber for email marketing and ClickFunnels for lead capture tools.
Join groups relevant to your interests on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google +. You can choose to focus on only one of those but, have a plan.
You can always create your own group and invite people to it. Once you start getting enough traffic to your site people will start to know who you are and they will join. Pinterest is another place to be active if you’re a visual person.
Another really fast way to improve your website ranking is by spying on your competition. Using the available tools like moz.com and spyfu.com to see what your competition is doing.
For example, you can see what keywords they’re targeting, what’s their demographic, whether they’re using paid or organic traffic, how many inbound/outbound links they have and so forth.
These tools provide free versions and trials so they’re worth trying. See my resources page for more. Also, a previous blog post here.
How to Get My Website Seen As A Creative
The guide above is what I explained in the beginning. This is how Google reads your pages (in order of importance):
1. SEO Title
3. Meta description
The keyword you’re focusing on (in your page) must be in ALL of these, preferably in the beginning of each.
Next would be your image descriptions and tags. The same applies here. Your focus keyword must be in at least one of the images on the page. If the image is a sunset on the Highline, the title cannot be “_MG_0050”, make it “Sunset on the Highline”.
Google reads images mostly as text: file name, alternate text, other text near the image on the page, if the image is at the top of the page, file size and image dimensions. All of these need to be optimized for upload. Use tinypng.com to optimize.
I have made a SEO image optimization checklist, get it here (A 12-tip breakdown). “Alt text” refers to what users would see if they choose to display websites without images.
“My images speak for themselves”, that’ll get my website seen
Often creatives think that their work can speak for itself, if that is true than I suppose you’re making robots that talk to your clients for you. Even then, your clients would never know much about you.
How would they know if you’d meet deadlines with low stress? How are you going to make their life easier? How is working with you going to be different then the creatives they already work with? These are really important questions and can be answered simply: testimonials.
Another huge tip is to make a few testimonial videos. After completing a project, before you pack and be on your way, especially if your client is ecstatic with the work you’ve done, take that moment and ask for a short testimonial video (2-3 minutes) saying how awesome you did.
Post these videos on your website, maybe on your contact page. Post them on YouTube if you have a channel and if video marketing fits in with your marketing strategy.
In summary, one of the most important things you can do as a creative/artist to get your website seen is blogging. Everything mentioned above really revolves around blogging. It all applies on a page-by-page basis but, blog posts, when done on a weekly basis, can rapidly increase traffic.