This week we're focusing on our Facebook Live event about SEO! We're fortunate enough to have our in-house Google Certified Expert Molly to walk you through the basics and misconceptions that are out there. Check out the previously recorded event and join us weekly on Facebook for more incredible content to help improve your website, earn more customers and money.
Welcome to SEO GO Basics! I’m Molly, the SEO expert at PhotoBiz, and today we wanted to help you better understand SEO and what is actually going to help grow your traffic, ranking, and booking opportunities.
There is a lot that goes into SEO, but today we are going to focus on basic tips, strategies, and common misconceptions to help get you started.
Before we go over what to focus on and how to get started with SEO you must first understand what SEO is. To break it down as simply as possible, it's how easily your website is found when users search on Google or other search engines. Gaining more attention and credibility from search engines takes time and consistency, but the tips and strategies we will be going over will help you build a strong base to grow your online presence.
There are a lot of things that tie into your overall SEO, and SEO is always changing, but the main things that will always play a factor in Google's eyes are how helpful, credible, active, and popular your website is. The basic tips covered will help you manage these expectations so you understand where to start and what to focus on to best optimize your time and your chances for growth.
I am sure if you have ever gotten sucked into the SEO world and have tried to manage it on your own the first big question you had was where do I get started?
Research: Always start with researching your target audience, what content they respond well to, what phrases they use when searching, and what questions they have so you can build your website around this.
Create good content: Create content for your website that is clean, concise, and engaging while providing the information and style you found your audience is looking for.
Optimize: Include your keywords throughout the front end of the website, and add metadata to every page for Google to crawl. Use your keywords properly (1-2 times on the front end) and avoid keyword stuffing.
Market: Market your website to drive more traffic and gain more attention from Google. Blog, stay active on social media and use your local listing consistently to show your site is popular and should be suggested more in search because users are finding it helpful.
Monitor: Finally, SEO is not a one time task, it requires consistent monitoring and updates based on your user interactions. Use analytics to continue monitoring your traffic and engagement level to help understand how the site is doing and what opportunities you have for growth.
Now that you know the steps to get started let's go over the main things to focus on as you are going through this process. Like I have said before, there is a lot that goes into SEO, but try not to get overwhelmed. Even if you just focus on these basics you will be able to grow your online presence.
What to focus on
The 3 main things that can affect your SEO is your Content, Metadata, and Marketing:
Content can make or break a website, tell users what you offer, where you serve and why they should book with you.
Metadata will help gain more attention from Google and allows you to control who you are targeting with your website.
Marketing drives traffic to your site. Google likes to promote popular sites, so use your resources to drive as much traffic to the website as possible, but make sure to not pay for traffic because Google will see this is false traffic and can penalize you for it.
Content can make or break a website, and if you have good content that is helpful for users your site will be pushed more in search.
Keep it simple: tell users what they need to know right away to improve engagement & conversions. This also shows Google that the content on your website is relevant, helpful & clean.
Include text on every page: Having some sort of text on every page is important. Users don’t want to read a page of text, but having some text on every page is important to support the metadata & to explain to users & Google what this page is for & how it is relevant to them.
Use call to actions: including buttons & forms throughout your site will help gain more inquiries & bookings. Sometimes you need to tell users what they need to do & leave them with just enough content to make them want to contact you for more.
Use keywords properly: make sure to include the main keywords for that page content 1-2 times as organically as possible. Using a keyword too much, hiding keywords & listing keywords is seen as spammy & will hurt your SEO more than help.
Once you have your content in place you can input your metadata and add your keywords on the front end of the site as needed. Metadata can be customized on every page of your website. There are length requirements to keep in mind for Google, so keeping things short and sweet is key as well as mentioning the main phrases you want to be found for that relate to the content on that specific page. Tell Google what it needs to know about your business while also explaining to users what you offer and why they should click to learn more.
Here is an example of good metadata to create for your home page if you were a portrait photographer. This is meeting all of Google's requirements while connecting with the user to urge them to click on the website:
Your Metadata title is a brief and accurate description of your business using the main location your business is registered, what your main service is for that page, and your business name. This appears in both search and open website browser tabs.
Your meta description should summarize what this page is about. Search engines use this to give users a brief summary of the page/website before they click on it, so finding a balance for Google and users is important. Make sure to use the main keyword from your title and your main location, while also including some verbiage that shows users what sets you apart and make them want to click to see more.
The optimal length is: 50-155 characters.
Example: "Portrait Photographer specializing in capturing families, seniors,
engagements & more to preserve your most precious moments in
Greensboro, NC & beyond."
Keywords and phrases should be unique, separated by commas, and relevant to the content of the page you are optimizing. You should use no more than 15 keyword phrases per page to avoid being penalized by Google.
Example: "Greensboro Portrait Photographer, Greensboro Family Portraits, Greensboro Senior Portraits, Greensboro Engagement Photographer, Greensboro Photographer, Winston Salem Portrait Photographer, Winston Salem Family Portraits, Winston Salem Senior Portraits, Winston Salem Engagement Photographer, Winston Salem Photographer, High Point Portrait Photographer, High Point Family Portraits, High Point Senior Portraits, High Point Engagement Photographer, High Point Photographer"
Something to keep in mind when adding keywords in your metadata and front end content is to use keywords properly. Only include keywords on that page that relates to the content on the front end of the site. For instance, the example above is great for a home page, but if I wanted to optimize my family portrait gallery I would only use Family keywords here and would not use seniors or engagement, this way every page has its own set of keywords that Google will see relates to the front end content.
When adding keywords to the front end content of your website make sure to use keywords that flow with the content on that specific page, and include keywords 1-2 times naturally. You want to provide these keywords to Google to support your metadata, but you also want to make sure it makes sense to users reading it and it flows with the voice you have created on your site. Don’t overuse keywords throughout the site because this will be seen as spammy and will hurt you more than help you.
Once your content and metadata are in place you can monitor this and tweak it as needed, but to really gain more attention from search engines you need to stay active and market the website to drive more traffic.
There are many free tools to help with this, but the main ones I suggest taking advantage of are your Google listing, social media, blogging and email marketing
Google Business listing: Your Google listing is used to verify your business in the local area. This is the best platform to drive reviews because it will have a big impact on your local search results and helps build more credibility with Google and potential clients.
Social Media: All social platforms are great including Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but Facebook is usually the best platform to drive traffic. The main tip I can give you is to post weekly about your services and add a link back to your website in posts to gain more traffic. Post to a specific page showing more images or information similar to the post content to have a better level of engagement rather than sending users to the general homepage. The more clicks required the more chances we have of losing a potential client.
Blogging: Blogs don’t have to be long, informative posts can be great when you have helpful content for a client, but when blogging frequently it is okay to have filler posts that are 1-2 short paragraphs long. Users usually don’t want to read a long blog just as much as you don’t want to write it, and running a business leaves you with little spare time, so the text you include can just be a quick summary with your keywords worked in (1-2 times in the post) to help boost rankings. This will gain more attention because you are consistently pushing your keywords and showing that you are active and staying relevant.
Email Marketing: You do have an email marketing tool with your account so you can send blast emails to your whole client list or select groups. This is a great way to keep users updated, promote services and sales, and to drive more traffic to the website. Always include a button linking to a specific page on your website for the client to learn more and/or book with you.
Now that we have a better understanding of what to focus on and where to start. Let's go over the common misconceptions so you can prevent wasting time on things that may not get the results you want and you can focus on what matters most when growing your online presence.
There are a lot of things out there about SEO and it can be overwhelming, but the best tips I have for beginners is to take it slow and not to worry too much about the little things. Start with the basics to build a strong base for your website and once you get a handle on these you can move to additional ways to improve your SEO. Below are the common misconceptions I have seen overwhelming, mislead, or distract clients from the main focuses.
Myth 1: Platform Matters
One of the main misconceptions attached to SEO is that platform matters, and when I say platform I mean whether your site is built with PhotoBIz, WordPress, Wix, or another company. Google doesn’t rank you based on who your site is with, they mainly care about if your site is mobile-friendly, how fast it loads, and if you have SEO data in place.
The only things that matter with your platform are:
If your platform isn’t mobile-friendly you will be penalized because more users use mobile devices and Google is indexing this first.
SPEED & SSL
A website should load quickly for the best engagement opportunity and for Google’s approval. This can vary from platform to platform and your content can affect this as well, the best tool to test your speed is Google PageSpeed Insights: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. Make sure you have good hosting for the best speeds and also make sure SSL is included so your website is secure.
You will need a website platform that has SEO tools built in so you can easily customize metadata for every page of your website.
With your PhotoBiz website your site is automatically mobile responsive, we have the fastest load times around, your SSL certificate is included for free, and you have SEO tools built into every page on your site.
Myth 2: Alt Text is Necessary
Frist off, what is alt text?
The text associated with an image that Google can crawl. This should not be used for keyword stuffing but should be unique and describe the image as if you were describing it to someone blind.
Can I add it to my website?
Your images don’t have this information embedded in them, but you can set up alt text, title, and caption options on your images to achieve the same results.
What will get the best results?
Making sure to not keyword stuff is key and the safest way to do this is to include the keywords you want to be found for in the back end metadata and in the text on that page naturally.
Alt Text is something that can be helpful with SEO, but in most cases, it is used improperly. As we went over before, keyword stuffing is an issue, and alt text isn’t meant for this. Alt text should be used to describe that unique image, and your keywords should be implemented more naturally in the site content and metadata.
Myth 3: SEO is quick and easy
There are many different SEO strategies and services out there, but the one thing to look out for is anyone promising results or guaranteeing an easy solution. I wish SEO had a magic solution, but the only way to grow this is with time and persistence.
DON’T LOSE FOCUS
Focus on the basics and build a good structure for your website and SEO. No matter how much things change these basics will always be important: Content, Metadata, and Marketing.
TIME and CONSISTENCY
Don’t get discouraged! SEO takes time to build and Google is looking for consistency. Market, push reviews, and blog on a schedule to build credibility with Google, or other search engines, that will last.
SEO is not a one-time thing and you do have to continue to monitor, update, and set goals based on how your users are responding to get the best results
Make sure to not lose focus of the basics, to not get discouraged, and to stay positive that your efforts will be rewarded. Continue to monitor and analyze the website to adapt and continue growing.
This is something that can be manageable on your own, but running a business and being a photographer is already multiple hats to wear & jobs to do. If you want a partner you can trust you can sign up for our SEO GO service and work with our team who will optimize the website for you, provide monthly reports on how the site is doing, audit your marketing efforts, and will help determine what you can focus on for growth.
Like this article? Click below to download the presentation for our SEO Basics!
Need help with your SEO? Molly and her SEO team can get you started. Check out our amazing service, SEO Go. Our team will optimize your pages and get you a game plan to build up your search engine results and have clients find you. Call our pro services team at 1.866.463.7620 to inquiry about this amazing service. We'll have more SEO content coming your way in the future, till then, happy marketing!