The times when photo studios were able to keep their heads above water with walk-in customers and word-of-mouth propaganda are almost over. In order to be competitive, an internet presence is not only indispensable. It is also the basis on which interested customers can get a good picture of the photographer, his skills and priorities in advance. In times of great digital competition, SEO is therefore indispensable for photographers.
A good internet presence is one thing – and being found with it is another. Particularly challenging for photographers: the portfolio often consists almost exclusively of excellent photos – and hardly any text. Google prefers texts that are relevant to the topic. Correctly?
We show how to leverage search engine optimization for photographers in this short guide.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for photographers is complex
Google’s algorithm is complicated, but the following are considered reliable for the positive evaluation of websites:
- the shortest possible loading times (PageSpeed),
- sufficiently long/descriptive content that is continuously revised and updated,
- mobile-first alignment,
- incoming links from external, trustworthy sources.
In comparison, typical SEO mistakes on photographer websites:
- many high-resolution images (reduces page speed/slows down page loading)
- little descriptive text (makes it difficult to assess the relevance for search queries)
- Website design mostly for large-format desktop PCs (lack of focus on primarily mobile visitors)
- missing link (internal and external)
So how can your photography website be optimally prepared for search engines?
Onpage SEO: keywords, content strategy, image sizes and page speed
Keyword analysis and on-page optimization precede any search engine optimization . That means in your case:
- Which niche or special topic do you serve?
- Examples: weddings (indoor/outdoor), birth photography, portrait photography, on-site or studio shoots, black and white photography, etc.
- Can you be found in a specific region or independent of location?
This results in keywords (search terms) as well as further SEO steps that lead your future customers to your own website.
Examples of typical keywords and their search volume:
|keyword||monthly average search volume|
In the search result lists, this is reflected in varying degrees of competition. The search term “photographer Munich” brings 122,000 results, “wedding photographer Munich” 11,500,000 results. If you want to have your wedding in Lower Lusatia photographed, you can only choose from 1,010 results; without specialization and only related to the region, there are 249,000 search hits for “Foto Niederlausitz”.
Whether the keyword strategy should include regional and/or a specific niche specialization is only clear after a comprehensive analysis.
SEO tip: Google itself sorts regional search results in front of search queries – provided the searcher leaves location services switched on or relative regional assignment is possible via IP address. A fully completed Google My Business account for display in Google Maps is a useful and important addition to search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization for photographer content
Are the keyword sets fixed? Then it’s the (text) content’s turn. In order to get the problem of short texts under control, the following points are recommended for search engine optimization:
- Setting up a blog
- Topic ideas: Help for potential customers such as “How does a shoot work?”, “Do I need to change outfits?”, “Which location is suitable?” etc.; Description of shootings (including the presentation of customer images released for this); techniques and specialist knowledge
- Expand website structure with sub-pages,
- at least for niche topics or special topics, explain & show sub-pages, processes and additional services
Blog posts in particular are an ideal way of working out the artistic aspects of your work as a photographer – per shoot, per special order, per season, etc. Constantly growing, topic-centric and up-to-date content is rated positively by Google – so it’s worth the effort!
Tip: Think about the appropriate text preparation, such as
- clean formatting using hierarchical headings that contain the set keywords.
- short, concise paragraphs.
- the sensible use of lists and enumerations.
- the addition of title tag & clear, catchy meta description.
It is always written for the human reader. Google analyzes content according to its readability and evaluates additional signals such as click-through rate and bounce rate to determine the relevance of websites.
Optimally preparing images for display and online searches is always an aspect of search engine optimization. If it is supposed to be SEO for photographers, however, the relevance of dealing more intensively with image SEO increases significantly. After all, your excellent shots are what should drive people to your website!
This is how you can also be found via the Google text search via the image search:
Optimal image files
- compressed file size with ~ 150kb
- Minimum resolution of an edge length 300px
- use common file formats such as .png, .jpg etc
- already use relevant keywords in the file name & use thematically appropriate upload folders
You can also store your portfolio in an image sitemap . Google itself explains that this sitemap may also contain external links to external image files from photo storage services/CND services. The image sitemap thus deviates from regular HTML and XML sitemap specifications.
With an exclusively created image sitemap, the Google Imagebot captures all image files belonging to your website and your offer – even if you have outsourced part of the portfolio to improve page speed.
Optimal labeling and description
- Fill img and alt tags with meaningful descriptions of the image content
- Keywords can be carefully selected (no keyword stuffing!)
- Adjust/edit Exif data for recording location, time and technology used (if available)
- Caption for photo/portfolio entries
Alt and img tags are used in particular for barrier-free use or describe content that is not (immediately) loaded. Write these tags primarily for the human reader without stringing keywords together. Search engines can now classify images almost flawlessly using tags and thanks to machine vision algorithms. This makes it easier to identify tags that do not match the content of the website and the image content itself.
Tip: The additional labeling of the images is simple, but often underestimated. CMS like WordPress offer these options by default. As known from the press, the captions serve to classify the respective photo more precisely. It can, but does not have to, coincide with the alt and img tag.
Optimal topic integration
- Topic-centric integration of portfolio shots in the text
- Image caption, content, and text serve the same search queries
- Internal links to thematically appropriate content (blog posts, websites, photos)
Search engines are increasingly evaluating the context of content. The focus is on the expectations of the person searching: Anyone who googles “procedure for a wedding shoot” expects a website or a blog post on exactly this topic. If the text, headings, meta description, title tag, img tag and image descriptions are aligned, the search engine rates the relevance higher. Is this information missing or is it very general? Then the search engine can only determine the relevance based on the behavior of the visitors. If website visitors leave your site after a few seconds, they probably didn’t find what they were looking for.
Off-page SEO for photographers
Link building can be challenging. Nevertheless, as a measure of off-page optimization , it is a relevant means for a better ranking.
A Google My Business account and inbound backlinks from trusted, topic-related sites is part of link building. The former ensures that you are visible in local and regional searches. A clear advantage: contact details and opening times are visible with just one click. Positive Google reviews from satisfied customers increase their willingness to book your services.
Seo tips: Wedding locations and other service providers associated with them usually like to link to photographer websites. In the field of business photography, mutual links can usually also be negotiated. Additional link sources usually result from industry-standard search portals such as fotografensuche.de or fotomato.de.
SEO for photographers – everything from a single source
On- and off-page search engine optimization is a continuous improvement process that requires appropriate resources and an optimal SEO strategy . As an SEO agency for photographers, we take over the revision of your existing content, optimize images and link structures for better rankings – and thus for constantly improved visibility with your potential customers.