I read an interview with Miriam Ellis, an expert in Google search & SEO at Moz.com. Although she says there are many factors that determine where your website page will show up in Google searches, she had 3 recommendations that local businesses should focus on in 2017.
1. Reviews are Critical. According to Ellis, surveys indicate that 91 percent of consumers now read online reviews and that 84 percent of people trust online sentiment as much as they do personal word-of-mouth recommendations. It is important not only to grow your studio’s local reputation on social media, but you have to respond quickly and expertly to both praise and blame.
Have you ever wondered if potential clients are finding you on the first page of Google? Here’s a simple way to find out.
It’s common for professional photographers to offer more than one kind of photography. For example, wedding photographers will also offer family or senior portraits.
The challenge is, how do you show more than one kind of photography on the same website home page? Potential brides don’t want to see photos of kids any more than high school seniors want to see images of old people.
Here are 4 examples of website home pages that attempt to solve this problem. Think about where your website is on the list, and what you could do to improve it.
I was looking at the “About” page on a photographer’s website the other day. Every website has an About page, and this was like many of the others I’ve read before.
Nothing was wrong with the page – it just felt like I was reading a resume: A list of awards, past accomplishments, and a sentence at the end describing how successful their studio is today.
Professional photographers wear 2 hats: they not only do photography, but are also local business owners who need to market their business. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who prey on photographers, hoping that while they might know their way around a camera, they are less knowledgeable when it comes to marketing.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to work with someone who offers to sell you links – also called backlinks – to your website. You should avoid them at all costs.
When potential clients search Google for photographers, the first thing they see is a map of the studios closest to them. Getting on this map can dramatically improve your chances for a client to find your website.
You may be curious why some studios come up on the first page map – and some do not. It seems like a mystery. What did those other photographers do that you aren’t doing? What could you be doing differently?
While no one can guarantee you a front page position, Google does give guidelines on how to increase your chances of being on the first page. According to Google, their Maps search results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help Google find the best match for search results. For example, while a studio that is closer to the client should be higher on the first page, their search technology might decide that even though a studio is farther away, it is more likely to have what the client is looking for!
Here’s more detail on what relevance, distance, and prominence mean, along with some ideas to help improve your website for each.
Recently a friend asked if I could help him figure out why his customers were searching for his business on their smart phones and being directed to his old store he’d left a year ago.
I searched for his business on Moz Local (read why here) and discovered that Bing.com and Yellowpages.com both showed his old store address in their listings. Since he’d updated both when he moved, why were they again showing the old address?
One of the ways Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines figure out what kind of business you run is to scan your web pages looking for keywords. Basically, keywords are 1-3 word phrases on a page that help the search engines determine what that page is about. While keywords are important in a page’s title, meta-description, and body text, most photographers forget the easiest place to use them: in image file names.
Take this image on the right, for example. If you shot this kind of photography and wanted to put it on your website’s portfolio, you’d be tempted to drag and drop it from the sitting’s project folder on your hard drive. The file would probably be named DSC_1234.jpg or SMITH-0012.JPG.
A quick search shows there are 122,00 images on Google named DSC_1234.jpg!
Modern website design has changed over the years as the result of 2 major influences: Apple, and mobile computing. Apple computers invented the clean, simple design, and smart phones have forced websites to look good on small screens.
Take a moment to look at your website. See if it is breaking any of these 5 rules for modern website design.