#1 on Google By Ryan Parent
These days everyone is talking about SEO (search engine optimization). Its become the new marketing buzzword. Google is the next Yellow Pages. It used to be whoever had the biggest add got all the calls. Now its whoever appears high in Google. The only problem is there is only a few spots at the top and everyone wants it. I can’t promise everyone first place rankings, and there is no magic formula. What I can give you are some tools I used to reach the top. If you want to rank well in google for photographers in your area you are going to need to spend time on this. It took me 5 months to reach number one for “Ottawa wedding photographer” and I spent at least a couple hours a week working on this. The larger the area you are trying to rank high in the more competition and the more work will be required. You are not competing against Google you are competing with whoever ranks higher than you.
There are 2 categories of factors that determine your Google rankings. On page factors and off page factors. On page factors are everything that appears on your website. Off page factors are what appears away from your website. It is estimated that Google rankings are determined by approximately 1/3 on page factors and 2/3 off page factors.
On Page Factors:
Take the words you want to rank well for and make sure they appear on your site. Early and often. They must appear frequent but natural. There are penalties for over using keywords. Use info pages and put a splash intro page with some text.
Quantity and theme of content:
Google likes sites with lots of relevant information (i.e. text). Google can’t read your photos and tell what you do. Put those info pages to good use, write content that relates well to the words you want to rank for. If you are a wedding photographer write about wedding photography. If words like bride, groom, rings, love, married, photo, camera, picture appear on a website google is smart enough to tell that this site is related to wedding photography. Make sure the content appears natural. Keyword stuffing is bad. Use a splash intro page, put a link to your html site on the intro page. Google will read the text on your mirror html site best.
What you link to is very important. Only link to relevant websites or sites that you trade links with (more on this later). If you link to a dead site or a spam like site you will hurt your rankings. Link to reputable sites that are either related to your business or that link to you.
Off Page Factors:
This is the single most powerful factor in determining your rank in Google. If you did non of the other things you can succeed by this factor alone. A link is when someone else puts text or graphic that when clicked on directs the browser to your site. Google determines your rankings for certain keywords based on what links to you. There are 4 factors that determine how much value you get from a link on someone else’s site.
- How powerful is the site that links to you? -The more reputable the site is that you have a link on the better.
- Is the site similar in theme to your site? -If you are a local baby photographer get links from people in the baby industry, photographers and people in your area or even better, baby photographers in your area. Thats right start making friends with the competition.
- Are there keywords in the link text? -Link text is the words people click on to get to your site.
You want the words in the link to be keywords you are trying to rank for.
- How many links are on the same page as your link? -The more links on a page the less power each link gets
Stay away from sites that put hundreds of links on a page.
Google is your friend they want you to rank well for your keywords. Webmaster tool is designed to help you do well. Learn webmaster tools inside out. I’m not going to go to much into details here but use there help center and learn about what everything does in there.
These 5 factors are what I believe to be the strongest factors in the Google algorithm. There are hundreds of other factors that play a part but if you master these 5 you will rank well. Its not easy tho. It takes time and dedication. As I said before I spent 5 months to get to number 1 for wedding photographers in my area and I’m still working on other more competitive keywords. But think of it as an investment, the time you put in doesn’t get lost, you are building the reputation of your site in Google’s eyes. Its like some weird kind of piggy bank, that will pay off.
Now since the biggest factor is links, I’m going to give you three practical ways to go and get links:
-Submit your site to every directory you can find. The best way to find good directories is google search. Search “photography directories, wedding directories…etc. Get your site everywhere.
- trade links with people in similar industries or geographical locations.
- do not trade links with anyone and everyone only reputable sites.
- when you trade links you can request they use your keywords in the link text.
-go out and make friends with everyone, get contacts, get your friends to put links on their websites.
Although this post only scratches the surface on SEO it will give you a great place to start. Everything in Google happens slow. If you make a change to your site it may take over a month for Google to recognize. Sometimes when your site is climbing the ranks it may bounce between positions. Don’t lose sleep over this its normal. A friend of mine spend 2 months bouncing from page one and page 5 but when the dust settled she rested on the middle of page one, she is also a Photobiz customer.
If anyone reading this would like some personalized advice I would be happy to speak with you over the phone and provide some help. Feel free to message me anytime threw the contact page on my website listed below.
Your article was not only concise and informative, but inspiring as well! Good job.
Thanks so much for sharing this, Ryan!
I would love LOVE your help with my SEO. Honestly, it hurts my head just thinking about it sometimes! If you ever have free time on your hands (does that ever happen??), drop me a line ;)
I believe that you can help me. I am confident that I am a professional photographer. I am self taught and spent many hours learning how to take a great photo. Yet I just can't seem to book as many sessions that I'd like. I am not skilled at the marketing side of the business. Take y
Time to look at my site and let me know when we can talk. I enjoyed all the info you gave it this post.
Thank you for posting info regarding Google. I would love to talk to you sometime to get suggestions on keywords and such. I was always on page one when I had my business in calif. and I recently moved to Colorado and am trying to do all the work myself now and am not having much luck with Google. If you have a spare moment maybe you can contact me. I really appreciate your time! Thanks! Julie