SEO For Photographers: The Only Guide You Will Need To Get More Photography Clients

Table of Contents Show

What Is SEO?

People use search engines such as Google every single day. They use it to find answers to all sorts of queries.

These include:

  • Checking one’s spelling.
  • Typing in the name of a brand in order to shop online.
  • To find out how to do something.
  • To find customer reviews of a product or service before making a purchase.
  • To find discount coupons upon checkout.
  • To find nearby services (e.g., gas station, restaurant, mechanic).

The way we search, how we search, and why we search continues to evolve.

For the purpose of this guide, I am going to define SEO as a series of tasks that help a website gain visibility in search engine result pages.

Visibility is just another word for ranking and it should matter to you because results on the first page of Google tend to get all the traffic, especially the top 3-5 results. And SEO is the diagnostic process of how you can get your website onto the first page of Google so that you can get maximum exposure.

However, the mechanics of SEO is constantly changing. This is because the way people search changes across time and search engines adapt to this. At the same time, Google’s algorithm is continuously learning how to best promote results that are ‘better’ and right for you. In fact, ranking positions can fluctuate on a daily basis and this goes to show that Google is always testing what is best for its users.

What does this mean?

Well, at the most basic level, the contents of your website should match the search intent of the user. Therefore, if you are a family lifestyle photographer based in Glendale, Phoenix, you should make this clear across your website and its pages.

You can do this by:

  • Setting your homepage title as “Family Lifestyle Photographer Phoenix”.
  • Using a single H1 on your homepage and setting it as “Phoenix Family Lifestyle Photographer”.
  • Implementing localbusiness structured data on your homepage that specifies the area that you serve.
  • Create pages that provide information on photo locations within Phoenix for family portraits and linking to these pages from your homepage.
SEO for photographers goes far deeper than alt image tags and descriptive image filenames

At the same time, Google’s algorithm is continuously learning how to best promote results that are ‘better’ and ‘best’ for a particular person based on their search history and location In fact, ranking positions can fluctuate on a daily basis and this goes to show that Google is always testing what is best for its users.

Therefore, fulfilling search intent is just part of the process. You will also need to look at the search engine result pages (SERPs) to understand what Google wants to show for a given keyword.

I refer to this as SERP intent and SERP intent can change across time.

For example, when you search for family lifestyle photographer phoenix, what type of pages and content show up on the SERP?

Are the majority of results family photographer websites? Or do lists of photographers or area-based directories dominate the SERP?

Finding out the answer to each of your keywords will give you a better understanding of which keywords you should target and how to do so.

What this means for you as a business owner is that SEO is not a set and forget task.

Is DIY SEO For Photographers Effective?

Absolutely!

I think you’re the only person who is prepared to do whatever it takes for your business.

To be honest, finding an effective and honest SEO who is willing to work for less than $1,000 per month per project is rare. Therefore, you are better off at learning the basics yourself because the harsh reality is that someone with my experience will rather work on more lucrative projects.

Secondly, there are a lot of less than reputable vendors who will sell you the dream, take a monthly retainer, and do absolutely nothing. Just as there are scammy photographers, there are scammy SEOs eager to take your hard earned money.

female minifig looking shocked although audience cannot tell why

Or worse yet, the SEO you hire may use risky tactics that can land your website in a lot of trouble.

If you’re a sole proprietorship I highly recommend that you learn and do as much SEO as you can because nobody else is going to care about your business as much as you.

The SEO checklist you will find on this page will be a great start and the SEO strategy section will give you an upper hand.

Who Is This For?

My SEO guide is applicable and 100% actionable for all types of photographers.

This includes:

  • Senior portrait photographers
  • Family lifestyle photographers
  • ISP photography businesses
  • Newborn & children portraiture photographers
  • Wedding photographers
  • Fine art photographers
  • Landscape photographers
  • Headshot photographers
  • Pet photographers
  • Boudoir photographers
  • Event photographers

My promise to you is that I will update this guide continously to ensure that the recommendations, stratey and tactics on this page will always be relevant to get you photography clients.

How To Get The Most Out Of This Guide

The purpose of this guide is for it to be your definitive source of trusted information. I want to go beyond the usual superficial SEO tips and get to the stuff that matters.

In the following section, you will find 21 essential things you must check and do. I call these the basic SEO tasks that one must do to make sure that your website has a winning chance at ranking.

🙈 How long will this take?

Some action items in this checklist will take a few minutes while other steps will take considerably longer.

For example, keyword research will take a lot longer because you will need to review the data from your Google Search Console. If you haven’t had Search Console set up on your website, this will cost you more time.

If you’re consistent, you can probably complete all the tasks within 90 days.

If you’re wondering how long SEO takes then the answer is a lot more complicated. This is because every website is different and your goals and resources will vary to any other photographer.

Follow this guide and you will start getting actual enquiries from prospective customers within a year. I have been able to do this for my clients so I expect no less for you.

🙉 Can I skip straight to the SEO strategy section?

I understand that you’re hungry for results but SEO is a diagnostic process.

Your first task is to ensure that your site is in tip top shape and the 21-point SEO checklist will help get you there.

If you rush into a content strategy, any gains that you may get can never reach their full potential. For example, no matter how great your content gets, you may find yourself on page 2 of each query.

Do things right the first time and success will compound across time.

🐵 What keyword should the homepage target?

The answer to this question will vary between businesses. However, for most single-owner-operator photography businesses, you should assign the most lucrative keyword to your homepage.

This is because:

  • Your homepage will typically have the most amount of inbound links from unique referring domains.
  • This in turn gives your homepage the most trust and authority compared to any other page on your website.
  • Therefore, your homepage will be your strongest asset to rank for a high competition keyword such as photographer + {city name}.

Click here to find out more about assigning keywords to webpages.

🙊 Do I have to spend money on SEO tools?

SEO tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Sitebulb provide incredible insights for keyword research and rank tracking. But they’re not cheap subscriptions to maintain.

You will not need any paid tools to complete this 21-point SEO checklist.

However, once you make your way to phase VII and VIII, I recommend paying for Ahrefs and SURFER.

Before you dive in, I want to make it crystal clear to you that completing the SEO checklist will not magically improve your visibility. Making sure that Google can crawl and index your pages, reducing page load timing, having foundational HTML elements that help Google understand the context of your pages – these are the bare minimum you need to achieve.

Without completing the checklist, there is no point in investing in content strategy and authority building.

So your first step is to work your way through the SEO checklist.

The actual SEO begins after this.

Writing description alt tags, optimizing page titles, keyword research driven pages, having an appropriate word count per page, using crawler-friendly URL slugs, and enabling HTTPs will not move the needle at all.

Sorry to break it to you but you should already be doing these things.

So you know how some people will tell you that SEO is like running a marathon?

They’re not wrong.

However, here’s the thing, one does not simply run 26 miles. There is a lot of preparation work involved in getting ready to run a marathon. It is a gradual process to ensure that you are fit and healthy and this process alone can take months depending on your physical and mental condition.

SEO is exactly like that.

Think of completing the SEO checklist as the preparation and training required to run the marathon. The SEO strategy that comes after it – this is the actual running of the race.

So on your marks, get set, GO!

Part 1: SEO Checklist For Photographers

SEO is a diagnostic process and the following 21-point checklist will help you identify possible symptoms of why your business is not showing up for related searches. By going through each of these action items, you will be able to establish a strong foundation that will help amplify your online presence.

It doesn’t matter what type of photography you specialize in because the action items on this list are relevant across all websites.

SEO checklist for photographers:

  1. Make sure that Google can discover the pages on your website.
  2. Perform keyword research to understand what your prospective customers are searching for.
  3. Pair each keyword with an individual page on your website.
  4. Use a fast web hosting service to reduce TFFB.
  5. Create a Google My Business profile (if you don’t already have one).
  6. Create 10-20 citation profiles that reflect the business name, address, and business hours as per your Google My Business profile.
  7. Use an indexing tool to make sure that all citation profiles can be discovered by Google.
  8. Create a website within your Google My Business profile.
  9. Post at least once per week to your Google My Business profile.
  10. Use search engine friendly URL structure.
  11. Keep URLs as short as possible.
  12. Minimize the number of plugins on your website.
  13. Remove unnecessary scripts or tracking codes that are slowing down your pagespeed.
  14. Make sure each page on your website is targeting one specific keyword.
  15. Use the target keyword the page title and H1 and at least 1-2 times in the body text.
  16. Check for duplication caused by www, non-www, http and https.
  17. Upload appropriately sized images and apply suitable compression to reduce load time.
  18. Link to important pages from within your homepage.
  19. Apply organization and/or localbusiness structured data to the appropriate web pages.
  20. Ask industry colleagues to link to your website.
  21. Make sure any incoming links are pointed towards live web pages.

1. Make sure that Google can discover the pages on your website

A page can only be shown in the SERPs if a search engine crawler can (a) find it, and (b) understand the contents of the page. While rare, some websites have noindex meta tags applied site-wide and this will prevent Google from discovering any of your pages.

If you suspect that Google is having difficulty crawling and indexing your website, the easiest way to check whether your webpages have been indexed is by typing “site:yourdomain” into Google. This will output a list of pages that is already in Google’s index.

Alternatively, you can download a program called Screaming Frog Spider SEO and let it crawl your entire website. The output from Screaming Frog will report whether pages can be discovered by search engines.

You will also want to connect your website with Google Search Console, Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster. This is because the URL Inspection feature within GSC will allow you to check for crawling and indexing issues for any given webpage across your site.

2. Perform keyword research to understand what your prospective customers are searching for

As long as people use words in their search queries, keywords will remain a core component of SEO.

But not all search queries are the same. This is because some keywords are actual questions (.e.g, how many Amps is AAA battery?).

Some keywords can be in the initial discovery phase (e.g., types of batteries).

Some keywords reflect commercial intent (e.g., buy AAA batteries).

While some keywords are comparison based (e.g., Energizer vs Duracell AAA).

Each search query represents a different intent and the answer to each query should be different.

For example, when someone searches for photographer, what are they actually looking for?

Are they looking for a definition of the profession? Are they wanting to hire a photographer? If so, what type? Or are they looking for career information because they’re interested in becoming a professional photographer?

This is what keyword research entails – finding out the search intent of a query and looking at what Google thinks is the best fit for it. This information will then help you decide how to product content on your website to encourage Google to believe that you should be one of its top recommendations for the keyword.

3. Pair each keyword with an individual page on your website

While it is normal for some webpages to rank for up 100 keywords, you should always assign a single keyword to each page.

Generally speaking, if your content is able to solve search intent, the page will accumulate visibility for variations of the keyword across time.

Keyword research leads into site structure and content mapping

I like to create a spreadsheet with target keywords in one column and the corresponding page or blog post in another column. This allows me to visualize what type of content is needed to target each keyword on my list.

4. Use a fast web hosting service to reduce TFFB

In July 2018, Google began using mobile page speed as a ranking factor for mobile search results and in May 2020, Google announced another indication that page experience is going to become a ranking factor with Core Web Vitals.

Google released Core Web Vitals in Search Console in May 2020

If your site is taking far longer than your competitors to load, Google may penalize you by shoving you down the results page.

If you’re on Squarespace of Wix, there’s nothing you can do because you have no control over who your web host can be. For Squarespace websites you will have to rely on their CDN setup.

For WordPress websites, however, a managed WP will yield far better TFFB than your regular budget shared hosting plan. To me, managed hosting vs shared hosting is like using a computer that has an internal SSD versus a 5400rpm HDD. The difference is night and day.

It is important to pick a managed web hosting service that has a server where your visitors are. For example, if you are a photographer based in Utah, you will want to use a hosting service with servers in the United States (preferably in the West Coast).

I have used WPX and Flywheel in the past and while both were pretty good (much faster than shared hosting), renting VULTR and DigitalOcean servers via Cloudways is the clear winner for me.

Discloure: I get paid a $20 affiliate commission when you sign up to Cloudways via my link

5. Create a Google My Business profile

When a user types into their Google search bar photographer, wedding photographer, family photographer, or seniors portrait photographer, I suspect that the SERPs will display a map widget no matter where in the world they are.

A map pack shows up in the SERPs for the keyword ‘wedding photographer’ for users searching within Michigan

Your GMB profile can be a powerful and under-used asset. You can find out how to optimize your GMB in this post.

6. Create 10-20 citation profiles

Citations by themselves don’t do much. But having your business details published consistently in multiple directories can help search engines understand your business as an entity.

Doing this has benefits for both your website and GMB visibility.

You can do this yourself or use a paid service such as Citation Builder Pro to save you time.

The Pro package from Citation Builder Pro that comes with 50 citations is more than enough – you really don’t need a lot of citations

7. Use an indexing tool for your citation profiles

Thousands of new citation pages are created every single day and Google is never going to get around to these. And a citation profile can only help your SEO efforts if it is crawled and added to Google’s index of webpages.

Even if you outsource the citation profile creation to Citation Builder Pro, not all of them will be added to Google’s index. This is why you should invest in an indexing tool such as Omega Indexer to make sure that your citation profiles actually add value to your SEO.

8. Create a website within your Google My Business profile

Most people are not aware of this feature or how to use it to its full potential.

Log into your GMB dashboard where you will find the ability to create a free website

9. Post at least once per week to your Google My Business profile

Did you know that you can publish images with 1,000 word captions onto your GMB profile? By doing so, you can help your GMB profile show up for certain keywords.

Follow these tips from my local SEO tutorial.

10. Use search engine friendly URL structure

A permalink is the full URL that users and search engines see when navigating through your site.

Which of the following links are you more likely to click on?

A. danielkcheung.com/?p=123
B. danielkcheung.com/seo-for-photographers/
C. danielkcheung.com/2016/11/seo-for-photographers/
D. danielkcheung.com/archive/123

Answer A doesn’t provide you with any clue with what the content is about. Neither does answer D.

Both answers B and C have descriptive keywords in the URL slug. However, C has a date stamp and if you are wanting up-to-date SEO tips, B conveys a more evergreen vibe than answer C.

11. Keep URLs short

SEO-friendly URL slugs are a good start but overly long descriptive permalinks tend to perform poorly in the SERPs.

Therefore, set your own URL slug and follow these rules:

  • Insert the target keyword into the permalink.
  • Keep subfolders to a minimum.
  • Try to summarise what the content is about in less than 9 words in total.

12. Minimize third-party plugins

The more plugins running on your site, the slower your site will load.

As handy as WordPress plugins are, having too many installed on your site can lead to poor user experience.

Before installing a plugin, ask yourself if the same result can be achieved with relative ease via hard coding.

For example, a plugin can make 301 redirects really easy but the same 301 redirects can be achieved by hard coding it into your .htaccess. It may take a few minutes to learn how to access and edit your .htaccess file but in doing so, you can reduce the number of plugins running on your site.

As a rule of thumb, try to keep the number of active WordPress plugins to less than 30.

13. Remove unused scripts

This task falls under the umbrella of speed optimization.

One of the easiest ways to speed up your website is to remove any unnecessary or unused scripts. The following video from Google Chrome Developers on YouTube will show you how to complete this step.

14. Assign each page with one target keyword

In the initial stage of your SEO campaign, it is best to keep things simple.

This is why I always recommend assigning a single primary keyword to each individual page or blog post on your website.

As you can see from the below image, webpages that rank well do so for many keywords.

Ahrefs is a paid SEO tool that allows you to spy on competitor’s SEO

Every single page on your website must serve a purpose. If it does not help bring in new customers, the page should not exist. And the best way to give a page purpose is to assign a specific keyword to it and ensure that the content on the page is 100% relevant to the keyword.

From the above example, we can see that this particular webpage provides information on photography packages and pricing. There’s over 1,500 words on the page and from a quick glance, all of it is relevant to the topic of Susan Stripling’s pricing for her photography services.

Page type

Keyword

URL slug

Homepage

family photographer + {city name}

../

About

{your business name}

../about

Contact

N/A

../contact

Pricing / Investment

{city name} + family photographer cost

../family-photography-pricing-and-packages/

Service page

elopement photographer

../elopement-photographer/

Service page

affordable family photography + {city name}

../affordable-family-photography-seattle/

The table above shows some example page types and their respsective target keyword.

Since your homepage will typically have the most amount of inbound links from directories, roundup post and editorial mentions, it has the greatest chance at ranking for competitive keywords.

These include:

  • wedding photographer + {city name}
  • family photographer + {city name}
  • senior portraits photographer + {city name}
  • newborn photographer + {city name}

For this reason, I recommend that photographers assign their primary keyword to their homepage in the initial phase of the SEO campaign. Later on, as you develop your SEO strategy can you move away from this tactic but for now, this is the best course of action.

15. Use the target keyword in the page title and H1

Some themes are set up with the page title being the same as the H1.

These situations are not ideal as you want fine control over every single element that can help Google understand what your webpage is about.

In the above example, you can see how the target keyword wedding dresses Sydney has been incorporated into the page title, URL slug and H1 tag.

16. Check for duplicate content

When a search engine comes across two or more pages with identical content it will have difficulty knowing which page to serve to its user. The page that it picks may not be the one that you want.

If you have HTTPS enabled, check that the HTTP correctly 301 redirects to the HTTPS version.

If you changed your root domain from www to non-www (or vice versa), check that the old version correctly 301 redirects to the correct version.

17. Upload appropriately sized images and apply suitable compression

One of the easiest ways to achieve faster page speed is by correctly resizing your images prior to uploading them to your site.

Websites owned by photographers tend to be slower than your regular website on the Internet. This is because photography websites have a lot of rich media to display.

An output from Google’s PageSpeed tool – don’t be like this website

As a general rule of thumb, the majority of your images should be no larger than 1400 pixels on the long side. From my experience, most WordPress themes are configured to display content at 960 – 1200 pixels wide. Given that the majority of users are on smartphones, images that are 1400 pixels wide will render crisp images on most devices.

For full-width background images, 1920 pixels will be good enough.

Do not upload full size images. It may look great on your 27″ iMac but the majority of website visitors are not going to be using a 27″ iMac!

I know many photographers use JPEGmini for compressing jpeg files for client delivery. The problem with JPEGmini is that the file compression is not strong enough. This is because JPEGmini is for reducing filesizes without affecting print quality. When it comes to meeting PageSpeed Insights, you need something stronger. But this does not mean that you should compress your images until they look like blurry messes.

I recommend two solutions:

  • ShortPixel, or
  • Exporting in Photoshop with an output quality of 6.

If you don’t want to pay for an ongoing subscription with Adobe Creative Cloud, ShortPixel has the option for you to buy individual credit bundles.

ShortPixel has a plugin that integrates with your WordPress backend. So all you will need to do is upload a correctly dimension image and ShortPixel will compress it automatically when you upload the file.

If you don’t run a WordPress website, you can use the ShortPixel website to bulk upload up to 50 JPEG or PNG files at a time.

For photographers, I recommend using the Glossy option as Lossy is a bit too aggressive for my taste

FYI, when you sign up to ShortPixel using this link, I receive an affiliate commission.

You should also enable lazyloading of images.

18. Link to important pages from your homepage

Your homepage will be one of the strongest webpages. This is because your homepage will tend to receive the most amount of website traffic and have the most amount of incoming links.

Because of this, you should link out to your important pages from your homepage. This will allow search engines to easily find your important pages and going back to the basics of SEO, our primary goal is to ensure Google can find all your pages that can help you get more photography clients.

This is exactly what I have done on my own homepage. As you can see, I link to my About page, my SEO case studies, and in the primary menu I make sure all my SEO services are within 1 click away from the homepage.

Your homepage is your strongest page in your website so make sure you link out to important pages from the homepage

19. Implement organization and localbusiness structured data

I have found no evidence that structured data influences rankings. I do, however, have plenty of data that supports the notion that structured data can help improve click-through-rate (CTR).

For this particular task, your goal is to implement relevant schema to your homepage, about page, and contact page.

The following SEMrush webinar featuring Jono Alderson (Special Ops, Yoast) and Martha van Berkel (CEO, Schema App) is a great way to understanding how structured data relates to businesses and entities as seen by search engines.

20. Get industry-level links

Getting links from other websites to your is one of the most difficult tasks in SEO. This is because it is not natural to link out to a product or service unless there is a very good reason to do so.

Links help Google assess how trustworthy your website is as a source of information. However, don’t make the mistake of getting hundreds and thousands of links. Instead, aim for quality links.

The easiest links you can get are from your peers.

What you can do is create your own recommended suppliers page on your site and link out to them. Let them know you have done so and ask them to do the same.

21. Make sure incoming links are pointed towards live pages

When you make a change to your URL slug or delete an old blog post, this can have serious ramifications for your SEO.

Screaming Frog can help you identify inbound links that are pointed to 404 pages. For pages with links that on longer exist you can implement a 301 redirect from the 404 page to an existing page.

Part 2: Coming Up With An Effective SEO Strategy

Only begin working on the following section if you have completed the SEO checklist.

Now that your website is at its optimal crawling and indexation health, it is time to figure out what your goals are and how to achieve them.

In a nutshell, a SEO strategy will:

  • Map out opportunities.
  • Identify content ideas that will assist in increasing traffic from organic search.
  • Provide a timeline of KPIs and how to execute the required tasks.

This is arguably the most important component of your SEO campaign as you are now running the race. Your SEO strategy is what will bring in new visitors to your website and allow you to convert them into leads and paying customers.

Let’s get started.

SEO Strategy For Wedding Photographers

Here’s a roadmap of how the next 12-36 months will look like from an SEO perspective.

Phase I

Find keywords that can indirectly bring in relevant website visitors.

Phase II

Research and publish wedding venue pages.

Phase III

Track impressions and clicks within Google Search Console to measure the successfulness of each page.

Phase IV

Create content that helps Google understand your business

Phase V

Add FAQpage structured data and corresponding content to gain more CTR and visibility in the SERPs.

Phase VI

Build website and webpage-level authority and trust signals

Phase VII

Find out why competitor pages are on page one of the SERPs.

Phase VIII

Shift primary keyword(s) away from homepage

Phase I: Pick the right keywords to target

If you live and serve a major city, the chance of ranking for wedding photographer + {city name} is going to be extremely difficult.

This is because from your keyword research, you will know that this type of keyword has the most search volume. And when you look at the SERP for this query, you will likely see:

  • 1-2 very established wedding media outlets (theknot.com, junebugweddings.com, weddingwire.com).
  • 1-2 directory websites (expertise.com, peerspace.com).
  • 5-6 wedding photographer websites.

I can guarantee you that trying to rank for any of the following keywords will be extremely difficult for most of you:

  • wedding photographer NYC
  • wedding photographer Los Angeles
  • wedding photographer Phoenix
  • wedding photographer San Diego
  • wedding photographer Santa Barbara
  • wedding photographer Seattle

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t aim to rank for wedding photographer + {city name}. With the right type of content strategy and authority building, it can be achievable within 2-3 years. As such, ranking for wedding photographer + {city name} should be a long term goal that works in conjunction with your month-to-month SEO efforts.

Now that we have established that wedding photographer + {city name} is not the best use of your time, let’s explore a content strategy that has been very effective for a past wedding photography client of mine based in Sydney, Australia.

What if you could get in front of marrying couples before they were even looking for a wedding photographer?

Let me illustrate.

Q: What is the first thing that a recently engaged couple will search for?

A: It’s the wedding venue.

The wedding venue is the most costly aspect of a wedding. Therefore, finding the right one that is available and fits within their budget and requirements is the most critical decision a marrying couple will make. In fact, many couples will shift their wedding date in order to accommodate the right wedding reception venue.

This goes to show how significant the wedding venue decision making process is and this is where you can have your first interaction with them.

This strategy is effective for wedding photographers because finding essential information on guest capacity, restrictions, and pricing is extremely time-consuming. Wedding venues are notorious for deliberately not displaying this information publicly to help their sales team bring couples in for a site visit.

This is your opportunity. Instead of trying to rank for wedding photographer + {city name}, rank for {wedding venue name} + wedding.

Let’s say you service the Austin – Georgetown area of Texas.

As we have already established, wedding photographer Austin and wedding photographer Georgetown will be very difficult from the beginning as almost every wedding photographer within a 50 mile radius will be trying to rank for these keywords.

Instead, pick a few of the smaller wedding venues in Georgetown to review as a wedding photographer.

For example:

  • Celebrino Event Center
  • Berry Creek Country Club
  • Dimebox Ballroom at Fire and Ice Hall

Phase II: Publish wedding venue information pages

Once you have made yourself a list of wedding venues, the next step is to contact each wedding venue to gather as much information as you can.

I suggest getting the following information from each wedding venue or event space for hire:

  • Max seated capacity
  • Minimum spend (expressed as dollar value or head count)
  • Approximate or starting price per pax
  • Disabled access
  • Deposit and booking process
  • Cancellation policy
  • Name of venue manager and their contact details

Now that you have collected all the essential information that a bride will want to know, it is time to create a landing page for the venue on your website.

Present all the information and add your own insights as a professional wedding photographer. For example, you can provide a list of nearby locations for the best bridal portraits – this will give the page the extra depth that other competing pages lack.

If you have a portfolio from the wedding venue, insert a gallery of images! I’m pretty sure every bride wants to picture how their wedding will look like and by including your own images, you can showcase your photography.

Publish the page and submit it to Google Search Console for indexing.

If you have completed the SEO checklist from above, Google should be able to discover your new landing page and add it to its index.

Repeat this process until you run out of wedding venues to review.

Phase III: Measure measure measure!

Recall how in the very beginning of this SEO guide that I said SEO is a diagnostic process?

SEO should be data-driven and the decisions you make should always be supported by your own data. This is because every website is unique and every single SERP and keyword has its own unique set of rules.

Therefore, you should always rely on your own data sources to make informed decisions on what to address. This is why it is imperative that you have connected Google Analytics and Google Search Console to your website.

Trust me, the wedding venue content strategy works.

Here is a screengrab from a past client of mine who is a wedding photographer in Sydney, Australia. As you can see, clicks and impressions have been on an upward trend in the past 12 months.

In the short 9 months that I worked on the account, I was able to get the client ranking for a number of lucrative wedding venue searches (see below).

The best thing about this SEO strategy is that you don’t even need to have photographed a wedding at the venue before and it is a great way to foster a relationship with each wedding venue.

But don’t just take my word for it. Review your Search Console data periodically to see if any of your wedding venue landing pages have started to get impressions and clicks.

Phase IV: Create content that helps Google understand your business

Publishing venue information pages is not enough. This is because Google has yet. to understand why it should promote your page over others.

Think about it. If you were looking for a reliable mechanic, would you trust a website that sells car audio parts?

Perhaps you would if the website is a well-known company.

Trust is everything in SEO and there are no shortcuts to gaining and keeping trust.

At this stage, Google does not trust you and while it can see that you are publishing useful information, the jury is still out.

To combat this, your next step is to create content that explains to the search engine why a wedding photographer website should be in the top results for wedding venue related keywords.

You can do this by developing your website’s relevance to your service area.

Let’s say you service the entire San Francisco Bay Area.

Obviously, wedding photographer San Francisco will be something you would love to rank for. But getting there will take a fair bit of work and one of the first things you can do is to start publishing content that makes it easy for Google to associate your website with wedding photography related queries within the San Francisco bay area.

You can publish a comprehensive page that lists every single wedding venue in San Francisco, San Mateo, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Oakland, Alameda, Richmond, and San Jose.

The following table shows how you could potentially structure the content piece.

Page title

San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Venues

URL

../san-francisco-bay-area-wedding-venues-all/

H1

Wedding Venues In The San Francisco Bay Area

H2.1

My Favorite Wedding Venues

H2.2

San Francisco Wedding Venues

H2.3

San Mateo Wedding Venues

H2.4

Oakland Wedding Venues

H2.5

San Jose Wedding Venues

As you can see, this will be an exhaustive list and will take some time to compile.

Alternatively, you can target smaller areas within the Bay Area per page.

Or you can publish a blog post that reviews a number of wedding venues that fit a certain requirement.

Some content ideas include:

  • Best wedding receptions with high ceilings
  • Best venues for small weddings
  • Best hotels for wedding receptions
  • Best garden theme wedding venues
  • Best indoor wedding ceremony venues in San Francisco

This is the exact strategy I used to rank a website for the keyword indoor wedding venues Sydney.

As you can see from the above screenshot from my Search Console, the page ranks for a number of keywords and has brought in some website visitors in the past 3 months.

In conclusion, the possibilities are endless and by methodically publishing this type of useful information, you can build your website’s authority and relevance for a range of strategic keywords.

Phase V: Enrich your SERP visibility via FAQPage rich results

Rich results are additional elements that are displayed with your blue link in Google SERPs. They can be very effective at drawing attention to your page and entice people to click on your page over others.

Adding FAQPage structured data is one of my favorite SEO hacks but you should only do this when your venue page is moving up to page 2 of the SERPs. This is because rich results will only display for results on page 1.

This is what FAQPage rich results looks like in the real world (see below).

At the time of writing:

  • Emojis do work in FAQ markup (but use sparingly and don’t overdo it).
  • Bold and italic formatting work in FAQ markup.
  • Links in FAQ markup works.
  • Bullet lists and numbered lists work in FAQ markup.
  • Only 3 pages per SERP will display FAQ rich results.
  • A maximum of 10 questions and answers can be displayed per rich result.

If you run a Squarespace website, I’ve already written a guide on how to do this previously – click here to check it out.

Additionally, you can also add clickable links and you can find more information on how to implement links in FAQ schema here.

Phase VI: Build trust and authority to your website

Producing great and useful content will only get you so far.

As Google continues to give more real estate to ad placements, the competition for the top remaining spots in the organical search results will only intensify.

From the recent major core algorightm update in May 2020 it was obvious that Google had taken a preference at promoting websites that had authority in the SERPs.

Therefore, if your website does not have adequate trust signals, getting to the top 3-5 spots is going to be impossible.

Acquiring linked mentions from other websites is the only way how the Google algorithm can judge your website’s authority. This is why in the SEO checklist you were tasked with getting a few backlinks from your colleagues within the industry.

Some links are better than others and some are downright toxic and should be avoided.

Do not ever buy links from Fiverr. Ever.

If we believe that the best links are those that come from authoritative sites, how do we decide what an authoritative site is?

Pick a super competitive keyword (e.g., wedding photographers) and see what are the top 3 websites that show up in the SERPs. Chances are that those websites are deemed by the Google algorightm as being trusted sources.

The websites that you see on page 1 of the SERPs usually indicate that Google trusts them

From the above example, it is clear that Google favors weddingwire.com, expertise.com, harpershazaar.com and junebugweddings.com as trusted sources of information when it comes to wedding photographer related queries.

Therefore, find a way for these websites to link to you.

You can do this by a few ways:

  • A paid feature (as an advertiser).
  • Send them a gallery of images for them to use freely.
  • Via some other exchange of value.

Phase VII: Spy on ranking competitor pages

Every result on page 1 of Google is there for a reason.

Since SEO is a diagnostic process, it makes sense that you reverse engineer the success of ranking pages for your own business. By doing so, you will have a clearer picture of what you will need to do in order to outrank your competitors.

Competitor analysis is a lengthy process but luckily for you, I have already documented it for you.

To do this properly, you will need a paid subscription to Ahrefs.

At the time of writing, there is a 7-day trial that costs $7.

Follow this step-by-step guide before you continue into the next phase of your SEO strategy.

Phase VIII: Rank internal pages for commercial keywords

Up until now you have not done anything directly to rank for wedding photographer + {city name} and if you have come this far, your homepage should have gained some trust and authority.

Assuming that page 1 of the SERP for the keyword wedding photographer + {city name}, now is the time to flex the compounding factor of your SEO efforts.

You’ll achieve this by shifting the primary keyword away from your homepage and onto an internal page.

This phase involves a few moves and may take a few months.

First, you will need to create a new landing page. This will allow you to set a URL slug with the exact match keyword (e.g., /wedding-photographer-austin-tx/).

Then you can use variations of this keyword in the page title, H1 and various H2 tags. For example, you can use partial match variations such as ‘top wedding photographer in Austin’, ‘pre wedding photographer Austlin’, and ‘wedding photography Austin’.

Publish the page and submit it to Search Console for priority crawling and indexing.

Third, you will need to link to this page from your homepage, preferably using the exact match achor text.

If possible, build some links to this new page. Remember those industry colleagues who linked out to you before? Ask them to change the link to your new ‘money’ page.

Next, pull up your Google Analytics to identify the top venue pages that get the most amount of website visitors. You are now going to make sure that each of these venue landing pages internally link to your new money page.

At the same time, you can link out to the most popular wedding venue landing pages from your new money page.

What you are trying to achieve is to build connections and associations between existing pages to the new. This will help seach engines trust the new content quicker.

After 2-3 weeks, jump into Search Console to see if the new page has registered any new impressions. If it has then this is a good sign.

Now your task is to optimize the keyword density of the money page and the best way to do this is via a data-driven decision-making process.

For this task, I recommend paying for a monthly subscription to a SEO tool called SURFER.

PS – when you sign up to SURFER using this link I will receive an affiliate commission.

SURFER has the ability to run analyses based on geolocation serves – this will often produce more realistic results so that your data can be more accurate

When you run a report in SURFER, you can select to analyze a keyword at a national level or at a major city level.

It is probably best to run a SERP Analyzer report at a city level as this will gie you the most accurate results and ranking pages to compare with the True Density tool.

As you would expect, running the same keyword at a national level (e.g., United States) will yield different SERP results at a major city level (e.g., Miami).

SURFER produces an overwhelming amount of data and it is easy to get lost in how much information it can provide. For the purpose of this objective, you want to compare your new money page against ranking competitors and the True Density function of SURFER will be a great starting point.

The best feature of SURFER SERP Analyzer is the True Density tool

The best way to tackle this list of recommendations is to start from the hightest relevance and work your way down.

Do not try to make everything green.

You must need to apply some critical thinking as True Density is just a formula. It does not take into account many things so you still need to use your better judgement.

Watch the following video for how to get the most out of this SEO tool.

Now repeat this process for other strategic keywords. For example, build out your online presence for surrounding suburbs and cities with unique geo-location landing pages.

SEO Strategy For Destination Wedding Photographers

The content-driven SEO strategy for a destination wedding photographer is a little bit more nuanced than for a wedding photographer that services their local area.

Similar to the strategy detailed above, you can also research and publish wedding venue information, especially if the destination country does not have English as their primary language. This will. make your information easier to understand.

Some popular countries for destination weddings that have English as a second language include:

  • Norway
  • Croatia
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Italy
  • France
  • South Korea
  • Mexico
  • Greece
  • Morocco
  • Bali
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Iceland

For each of these destination wedding regions, try to understand why couples choose these locations.

Is it because one of them have family and cultural roots there? Or is it because they love the romantic vibe of South France?

By understanding their ‘why’ you can tailor your content to address their requirements to position yourself as an expert in your field (even when they’re not actively searching for a photographer).

Given that most countries cover a large geographic area, you can segment them into popular regions. For example, Italy has Amalfi Coast, The Alps, Lake Como and Tuscany. Each of these can be an individual landing page with venue recommendations.

You don’t have to restrict your content ideas to venues. You can research and publish topics on romantic hotels stays, places to eat, places to see and things to experience to build out your credibility and relevance to the topic of overseas destinations and weddings.

Last Updated on

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top