6. Get Mobile Friendly
This is probably the most important SEO factor as we head deeper into 2015. You need to get mobile friendly. For us Squarespace users, that's already taken care of because our websites are responsive and will change formats depending on what device you're using. However, if you're using any other website platform, pay extra attention to how your website is structured. I took a deep look into my Google Analytics to see where most of my website visits are coming from and no surprise, 65% came from a mobile device. It's becoming increasingly important to make your content not only available on mobile devices, but easy to navigate. Make sure your menu or sitemap is very user-friendly and prominent and don't leave out a contact page! I can't stress enough how important it is to have a mobile-friendly site. While it's not an official ranking for Google just yet, it's becoming more apparent that it could become one. Check out this super helpful article for more mobile SEO: Is Mobile Usability Now A Search Ranking Factor? In this article, they will also show you how you can check usability using Google Webmaster Tools.
7. Website Structure
In my first post, I mentioned that I was going to keep a lot of the SEO tips very basic. This one is no exception. There are so many things you can do in the backend of your website but I realize that wedding photographers don't exactly have the time or the know-how to crawl around in the HTML coding of their site. However, there are a few things you can do to help boost your search rankings.
First, you should submit a sitemap to Google using Google Webmaster tools. Now, if you have Squarespace, you can stop reading because SS does this for you automatically. I'm not sure about other platforms but I wouldn't bet on it. When someone searches for information, it's Google's job to scurry around the internet, pull the information from websites, and then display it in a manner that helps bring the most relevant information to you first. This is called "crawling" and to do so, Google needs a map of your website so that it can quickly navigate the pages. I realize that this may be a little more difficult for the average joe, but if you're interested, here's a helpful article from Google about managing your Sitemap.
One thing I have been repeating over and over again is how important content is for your search rankings... and in general! There is a huge push towards building relationships with your visitors and it all begins with your website. When someone is searching for wedding photography prices, having a dedicated pricing page with lots of information and content will be super beneficial for your potential client and to Google. I see a lot of photographers with these super simple websites and I love the look of them, but you just don't get any information! Make sure that you have abundant, accurate, and relevant content that will attract your target audience. I always applaud the photographers who have client lounges, information pages, bridal advice, and other miscellaneous pages! It adds such value to your website! Even adding a sign up for a newsletter is a great way to build a relationship with your visitor and keep them in your mind.
Before you get crazy creating a million different pages, you need to keep in mind that Google is still trying to "crawl" around your site to get information so your website should be informative but clients shouldn't have to spend more than a few clicks finding the information they want. You can use Google Analytics and Keyword tracking to find out which information is the most important to your visitors and use that to build your navigation.
Now here is where I would write a HUGE paragraph about Schema markups because it really is so important to SEO but honestly, 90% of wedding photographers don't have the time or the know-how to do this, so I'm not going to include it. I just couldn't write a section on website structure without mentioning it.
8. Social Media / Influencers
Social Media eh? Ah, something most of us are super familiar with and I know a ton of photographers are already on the ball with this but I figured I would make a list of things you can do anyway. If you haven't already, LINK. EVERYTHING. Anywhere you appear online should have some link to your website. Your social media pages should be fully integrated with your official website and vice versa! Reviews, content marketing, and blog posts should always be pushed to your social media accounts and they should in turn link back to your site. I have a HUGEEEEEEE post coming on social media marketing, but for the most part, what you're probably doing on Facebook is great! Networking, sharing, posting, updating, etc. Getting 'viral' on social media will certainly help. With that being said, don't get caught up in Facebook "Likes" -- that's part of my upcoming post. If you don't have a Google+ Business page, please pause and go make one right now. Google+ is a great way to spread content across all kinds of platforms and like I said in Part One: "Google loves Google"
The section on influencers goes back to external linking in part one but it's such a huge part of SEO that I want to make sure it's reiterated in all forms. The amount of reputable websites that link to you is so crucial. Google can see those links back to your website and if they are relevant to your industry and build discussion, sharing, and buzz, then it can help increase your rankings. For example, my insanely talented friends Michael & Carina do a LOT of editorial work and styled shoots. They then share these sessions with the wedding industry and always get linked back whenever that happens. Go Google "Yorktown Wedding Photographers" -- who comes up first? That's right, Michael and Carina. They have spent years getting their work published and it's really benefited them because they have so many large and trusted websites pushing traffic back to their site. Sorry guys, my link to your site probably won't matter ;) but you get my point! So how can you get external linking to work for you? Getting published is a great start but also reach out to local vendors and ask to be a vendor featured on their site, sponsor an event, or anything to get people talking about you and your work. Another great way to get that traffic is to find someone influential in the industry and do the same. I realize that it's not exactly feasible to ask Jose Villa to give you a shoutout, but hey, it's worth a shot? :)
9. Give It Some Time
Something that is very important for you to know is that SEO takes time. The people that show up on the front page have been doing this for a long time. It won't happen in a week and it certainly won't happen in a day. It's a slow process that takes a lot of effort but in the end, it's worth it. So don't get frustrated if you implement everything you see on SEO and you don't even show up! While you're working on your SEO, be sure to sign up or track your Google Analytics so that you can narrow down things that are working or aren't.
AND THAT'S ALL!
Just kidding. I only covered about 1% of the SEO world. There are countless things I left out for your sanity and mine. There are also so many resources out there to check out if you don't understand something. When confused about Google... Google!
I hope many of you found Part One and Part Two beneficial. As more SEO updates come out throughout the year, I'll be sure to cover those as well!
Please don't hesitate to email, message, or "chat" me with questions!
Next up for Marketing Mondays, I'll be breaking down all of the social media platforms, Google Analytics (and why it's a MUST HAVE), Paid-Per-Click and SEM Advertising, and so much more. Stay tuned!