Use Image Search to Help You Rank on Google

photographer online searchOne of the least-used, easiest ways for photographers to improve their presence on Google is to add keywords into their image names on their website.

Consider this: According to Jumpshot, after analyzing millions of online searches in the US, they found that about a third of all searches on Google used the Image Search tools.

Imagine you’re a bride who types “detroit wedding photographers” into Google. you get 1.3 million results. Would you rather look at the text on 1.3 million websites, or click “images” and just look at the photos?

Here’s how you can create a page on your website that will attract 33% more potential clients.

Step 1: Pick a keyword Phrase.

3-5 words, whatever you want to rank for. The longer the keyword phrase, the easier it will be to get on the first page of Google. For example, “Detroit wedding photographers” returns 1.3 million websites, but “Detroit wedding photographers jewish wedding” returns 498,000 results. Looking through the listings, there are only a few wedding photographers targeting Jewish weddings in Detroit on their website, so it will be much easier to rank for.

The rule of thumb is, the longer the keyword phrase, the fewer people will search for it, but the less competition there will be to get on the first page of Google. When you’re just starting out, it helps to pick longer keyword phrases that target niche specialties or locations. As these pages rise higher on Google, you can compete for more general keyword phrases on new pages. However, every page on your website should have a keyword phrase you’re trying to compete for on Google.

Step 2: Use your keyword phrase to name your page.

In this case, I’m creating a wedding page for Jewish weddings in Detroit, so I want to name my page something like:

I could call my page “jewish-wedding-photography” and leave off the “detroit” but then I would be competing with 2.3 million other web pages! Instead I use the longer keyword phrase to narrow my market and increase my changes of being seen.

Step 3: Repeat your keyword phrase throughout your page.

In addition to naming my page with my keywords, I want to use them throughout the page. For example:

Page title: “Traditional Jewish Weddings in Detroit”

Headline: “Elegant Yet Traditional Jewish Wedding in Detroit”

If you’re using a WordPress blog or similar, this makes it easy to create a blog post about a particular event you’ve shot and change the title and H1 (headline) tag. If you are creating a more general page that can be accessed from your website’s menu, follow the same guidelines. Either way, make sure you have a minimum of 500 words (about the length of this article) on the page. Less than that, and Google won’t take you seriously.

As you write your copy for the page, make sure to use your exact keyword phrase at least twice in the text. You could even bold it or make it a sub-heading tag (H2). Remember, your goal is to give Google clues what the page is about when it is deciding if you should be on the front page.

Here’s another tip: mix up your keyword phrase word order. You could use both “weddings in Detroit” or “Detroit wedding” depending on which one is grammatically correct. Google doesn’t mind, and will give you credit for well-written copy.

Step 4: Use your keyword phrases in your image names.

Chances are when you upload an image to your website, you see a little extra field called “alt.” This stands for “alternative text” and it means what will be shown if the image file cannot be shown or seen (blind viewers). Google takes the “alt” text very seriously, so you should use your keywords in it along with your image names.

Image 1 name: “jewish-wedding-photo.jpg”

Image 1 alt name: “smith wedding photo”

Image 2 name: “traditional-jewish-wedding-photo.jpg”

Image 2 alt name: “jewish traditional wedding photography”

Make your images around 640x480px to keep them small enough to prevent copying (you can also use a watermark) but large enough that Google will notice them. In addition, Google seems to like horizontal images in standard 16×9 or 4×3 ratios. In Photoshop, use “Export” instead of “Save As” to minimize image size and make them load faster on a page.

Here are more rules for naming your website images.

Step 5: Publish your page.

It can take several weeks or even months before Google will notice your new page and include it in the ranking for your keyword phrase. Be patient. Try typing in your keyword phrase from time to time until you see your page in Google search.

The benefit of adding images named after your keywords will become more obvious over time. As your images come up on the Google image search page, customers will click on them, and this will push the page even higher on Google.

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