One of the consequences of Google’s plan to change to a mobile-first search index is that the distance from your studio to the person searching is now the most important ranking factor in Google.
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.
One 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.
Moving a studio online is hard. Moving to a new location, changing the studio name, or even changing your website URL are all considered “moving your studio” according to Google.
The problem is that there are hundreds of places your old studio name is listed online: Google, Google Maps, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, and MapQuest just to name a few. When your listings don’t match in these places, 2 things happen. First, potential clients may see your old location and get confused, and second, Google ranks your page higher when your name, address and phone (NAP) are consistent across the Internet (read more about NAP here).
If you change your studio name, address, or phone number, you need to make a plan to update your information online. I recently helped a friend move their business, and here is the plan I followed:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important because the majority of your potential clients will search for professional photographers on the internet before they call.
SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of your website in a search engine’s un-paid (“organic”) search results. Essentially, it is content you add online to:
1. Make your studio’s website visible to search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo
2. Make your studio’s website display higher in the search results
It makes sense. First, search engines have to find you, and second, they have to think your site is important enough to display higher on the page than your competition for the same search keywords.
If you’re not familiar with the term NAP, you’re not alone. NAP stands for “Name, Address, Phone.” Having a consistent NAP is critical for search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing if you want your photographic studio to be found online.
Question: What does BLOG stand for?
Answer: Better Listing On Google.
This old joke has a lot of truth in it: online marketers have known for years that an active blog will improve your website’s page rank, with can get it listed higher on Google. While the reasons are technical, the bottom line for a studio owner is that they can improve their online marketing by having a blog.
To make this easy for anyone, Google includes the free Blogger software with your Google+ account. Log into Google, and click the little grid tool in the upper right corner of your screen. Now find the Blogger logo, and click this to start your blog. Read more
Google places high priority on Local Search, especially for smart phone searches. This means that if you are in Niles, Michigan searching for a photographer, Google will give extra credit to photographers located in Niles, Michigan. Google’s assumption is that, all things being equal, you’d like to find photographers close by.
How can you use this to your advantage?
For non-competitive phrases like “photographer in Niles, MI” you may be able to get on the first page of Google simply by adding your town to your home page’s title tag. Read more
When you’re working on social media – newsletters, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – there are several best practices you should know. We’ve scoured the Internet and listed them all here for your convenience. Bookmark this article and you can refer back to it the next time you’re posting on social media.
The good news is that while the “best practices” for email, newsletters, and social media like Facebook rarely changes, it seems like the recommended image sizes change every few months. Fortunately I found a new image size “cheat sheet” online. The link is at the bottom of this page. The good thing about this cheat sheet is that it was just updated so you can refer to it until the next batch of image size changes comes along.
One of the most important – and least publicized – changes Google has made In the last few years is their move from Google Places for Business to Google+ Local.
Understanding the move and how it affects your place in Google search is important for your studio.