Photocrati Quick SEO Guide
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What are your keywords?
First recognize that you optimize a site for specific keywords. For most working photographers, the ideal keyword phrase is "your location + your kind of photography + photographer." For example: Dallas wedding photographers, New York fashion photographer, Los Angeles child photographer. You will use these keywords throughout your site. You might also choose some secondary keyword phrases. Primary: Denver Wedding Photographer. Secondary: Denver Engagment Photography.
Use your keywords in your site title
Go to the Settings page in your WordPress dashboard and adjust your site title to include your keywords. For example: Denver Wedding Photographer - John Smith instead of John Smith Photography.
Use SEO-friendly permalinks
Go to Settings > Permalinks and choose to use "Month and Name" permalinks. Now your pages and blog posts will show up as www.johnsmith.com/denver-engagement-photography instead of www.johnsmith.com/?page_id=5.
Install and configure an SEO plugin
By itself, WordPress is already a great platform for SEO. You can make it even better with a great SEO plugin. We recommend either the Yoast SEO plugin or the All in One SEO plugin. To install either plugin, go to Plugins > Add New. Search for "Yoast" or "All in One SEO." Find the plugin in the search results and click install. It will install automatically. When it's finished, click the option to "Activate." You'll then want to go to that plugins setting page and check that the settings are as you want them.
Include text on your home page
You home page is the most powerful page on your site, since it receives the most links. You should optimize your home page for your primary SEO keyword phrase. You will already have a start if you've updated your site title (step 1), which will now show up as the title tag for your homepage. Now you should other sub-titles and text to your home page. This is one of the most important things you can do. You have two options:
- Add subtitles and content directly to your home page, just above/below your homepage gallery. Click Pages > Home. Below the gallery, add a subtitle using h1 or h2 tags that says your keyword phrase. Then add at least 300 words of keyword rich text. Save the page.
- Use footer widgets. You can add content to your home page and/or other pages on your site using our footer widgets. Go to Appearance > Widgets. Drag 2-3 text widgets to the footer area. Give a title to each widget, ideally using your primary keyword phrase or a variation. Divide your text across the widgets as appropriate.
Some more tips for your homepage text:
- Use your keyword phrase more than once, and use variations (denver wedding photographer, wedding phtographers in denver, denver co wedding photography, etc). Don't overdo it either - that's keyword stuffing.
- Use your secondary keyword phrases as well. Include a section on
- Include some testimonials - this is just good for conversion rates.
- Include reference to local place names / venus in your text. Google picks up these local references.
- Include links to your priority SEO pages. When you include your secondary keyword phrases, make these hyperlinks to pages that are set up specifically to optimize for these phrases (see below on secondary pages). The anchor text of links between pages on your site is very important.
Create and optimize secondary pages for your secondary keyword phrases.
For any phrase you want to optimize for, create a page with that keyword phrase as the title (this ensures the phrase shows up as title tag, heading, and in the URL). Add 300 words of keyword rich text to that page that uses your secondary keyword phrase and it's variations. Link to that page from your home page and from your blog side bar using the same keyword phrase.
Link to your own home page and to your priority pages using the appropriate keywords.
Link anchor text - for links to your site from other websites, but also for links between pages on your own site - is a critical factor in determining search results. Take control of this by adding more links and carefully selecting the anchor text. Here are three simple ways to do this.
- In your homepage text, make keyword phrases into links to your priority pages.
- Add a link to your homepage in your footer copyright area, and use your highest priority keyword rather than your company name as anchor text.
- Add links to your homepage and to your priority pages on your blog sidebar using the appropriate keyword phrases.
Post frequently on your blog
Post frequently on your blog, and always think about which keywords you can include in your blog post titles. Include variations of your main and secondary keyword phrases where appropriate. But also use blog posts to optimize specifically for "long-tail" keywords relevant to your work. For example, if you are a photographers, include the name of the venue of your last wedding, plus the words "wedding photographer" in your blog title. So if some one in your city is getting married in the same venue, and searches for wedding photographers who work there, you'll show up.
Also be sure to include sufficient text and appropriate subtitles in your blog posts. Avoid blog posts with nothing but images.
SEO for images?
Photocrati Galleries, because of the java script libraries used to create our displays, do NOT display links, alt tags, or meta data your images. So you cannot optimize specific images within your Photocrati Galleries.
UPDATE: As of Photocrati 4.1 (due for release in early June 2011), Photocrati galleries will be SEO friendly! Your image titles and captions will appear together as image alt tags automatically.
You can optimize images uploaded via the conventional WordPress media functionality. There are usually two goals for image SEO - to optimize images themselves for Google image search, or to use the images for overall page optimization. The Photographer's SEO Book has an extended section on image SEO that cover both types.
To optimize images, you'll need to make use of text around the image. Most important, you'll want to include image alt tags that are brief and descriptive of the image. Use relevant keywords for the image, but don't repeat the same keywords over and over. In the new SEO friendly Photocrati galleries, your image titles and captions will automatically be used as your image alt tags.
In addition to alt tags, you can consider renaming your images prior to upload to give them keyword rich file names and you can try to include keyword rich text around the image. Remember, search engines must rely on text to guess what your images are about.
Building Links is Ultimately 75% of SEO
All the optimization you do above is designed to ensure that when Google sees your pages, it knows explicitly what they are about, and believe that someone searching for your keyword phrase would find relevant content. But this is only a small part of the battle. There are a lot of competitors and a lot of sites with content about the same topic, and Google will only rank your site higher than the rest if it sees your site as "important."
Google estimates the importance of a given website or webpage by looking at the NUMBER AND QUALITY OF LINKS back to that website. The more links you have, and the higher quality those links, the better you will do in search results.
Here is a quick list of link-building ideas:
- Link to your main site from any other sites you own. Use your keyword phrase in the anchor text.
- Ask friends, family, and colleagues to link back to your site.
- Submit your site to a half dozen major photography directories (just search Google for photography directories).
- Arrange link exchanges with worthy partners - other photographers, preferred vendors, etc.
- Write guest posts and submit them for publication at other blogs - in your byline, link back to your site with appropriate keywords.
- Submit a batch of images to be featured at another blog.
- Write a testimonial or review of a product or service you use and submit it to the company.
- Have a great Photocrati site and good things to say? Send us a testimonial. If we use it, we'll link to you.
- Write a blog post about every wedding/assignment (if allowed) and email the clients. They may link to you.