Now that you have wrapped up the wedding and holiday season, it’s time to get down to business! On the agenda for 2014 is how to get found online. Like most photographers, you are probably more interested in getting found online in your local area—meaning you’ll want to rank high in search results for:
Your town (or region) + the kind of photography you do.
For example: “Seattle portrait photography.”
If someone in your local area is searching online for a photographer, you ideally want your business to show up on page 1 (but page 2 isn’t bad). And if someone from out of town, out of state, or out of the country considers getting married in your region, of course you want to be found in that instance, too. You definitely want to show up on that pretty little map that pops up first in the results. So, since you are wanting to increase SEO for your online business presence, here are 7 ways to boost local SEO and get found online.
1. Add more local information on your website
Ironically, many photographers who are dying to be found by people in their area don’t have their location listed anywhere on their website! How do they think they’ll get found by their local community? I can understand some of the excuses for being resistant to putting your personal information on your website, like: you work from home, or you really want to book jobs in next town over. It’s understandable, but it’s still essential to list—at the very least—the region or town your business is based in and your service area. I find it funny to visit a photographer’s website and have no clue where in the world they’re located. But, now imagine your clients doing the search! I strongly suggest you add the information in text (rather than, say, embedded in a graphic) because SEO is all about text. Add where you are located, the kind of photography you do, and which regions you serve to at least three pages of your website. For example:
“Feuza Reis is a Myrtle Beach Wedding and Maternity Photographer serving Horry County and Charleston, South Carolina. She is also available for destination weddings.”
This kind of text should be put on your Homepage, your About page and your Contact page, if your site has all three. This information should also be on your blog.
2. Add your phone number with area code
When looking at your online presence (websites, blog, listings) Google looks closely at your NAP (Name, Address and Phone number). By seeing the area code, Google knows you are affiliated with that region, and the phone number reinforces it. I sometimes even add my full phone number to my “meta” which is something you might fill out for plug-ins, such as Yoast or All in One SEO, for your blog posts.
Bonus tip: Make sure, once you’ve spread out your information like this, you know where you’ve put it. Keep your phone numbers updated on every single page.
3. Online Directories/Citations
Once you’ve covered the basics in tips 1 and 2, you really should list your business on some online directories. Google likes to see other websites verify who you are by having your information listed with them. There are both paid listings and free listings you can take advantage of. I recommend you check out getlisted.org, which has a simple tool to see how “findable” you are online, and follow some suggestions they make. They have great resources, and they also have information about which online directories are most popular for our field! If you see your competition ranking high in search results, most likely they are listed on a few online directories. If you want to know which ones, you can use the tools offered by a Canada-based online company called Whitespark.
Bonus tip: If you have multiple phone numbers for your business, make sure all of your sites and listings have a common phone number listed—your main number because this can increase your chances of a higher ranking in Google.
4. List your business with Google
Google is the number-one search engine in the world, so it’s a no-brainer to be listed with them, as they have their own business directory. (Google Places used to be under the Local tab, but now it’s all done with Google Plus. It is a bit confusing, but it’s absolutely essential for being found online.) To list your business on Google, you need to go HERE!
Follow the instructions they give to list your business, and then they will send you a postcard with a PIN (Personal Identification Number). Once you upload the PIN, there is a waiting period for approval which can be weeks or months. If you have never updated the PIN, then most likely you don’t have a Google listing. To check your listing, Google yourself on http://www.maps.google.com. If you see a dual listing, contact Google to adjust the listings to ensure your business information is correct.
Bonus Tip: You should be using and posting to Google Plus. To learn more about it check out this great article featured on the Modern Tog .
5. Get Google Reviews
You will see that the photography websites ranking at the top of the maps listings and search results have Google Reviews. This is done via Google Plus, so you must be signed up to Google Plus with a personal profile as well as a business one. (In Google Plus, there’s an area of your profile where you can list all of your local information, so don’t miss out on adding all of your local details.) Google Reviews is the first place you should be asking your clients for reviews, regardless of the kind of photography you do. You need this in order to be ranked locally, so it is very important. So once you find your business on Maps, you can send that link to your customers and once you get reviews, you can ask customers to Google you and where it says X amount of Google reviews, they will see an option “ write a review”.
6. Link to local businesses
As photographers, we would all love to be featured on those amazing, huge wedding or lifestyle blogs—which, after all, can be great for SEO. One area not to ignore is smaller blogs, business websites and association websites. This is especially true if they are local businesses because when businesses link to each other they all become stronger in their online presence. Local businesses should already be reaching out to help each other in this way, so be one of them!
Secret tip: If you ever do any work for a community college or university, anything related to local government, or do a shoot for a non-profit organization, try to get them to link to your work! All .edu, .gov and .org web addresses have a very high rank authority, and a link from one of them is like finding a golden egg. I seriously would work for free to get a link from a college or government website—that’s how important it is.
7. Have your local information on your author bios and bylines
Wherever you’re published on the web, make sure your location is there with your name. If you’ve been doing this already, good work! If you have the control to go back and add information, I suggest that you do it. Especially from here on out, you want to include your location every time. For example, my overall bios that are all over social media and my author bios on my articles all have the words “Myrtle Beach” because this is the city I want to rank for.
Last but not least, don’t miss out on opportunities to list your location as much as possible. Don’t forget about social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and so forth. Do you have any other tips which have helped you get found locally? Let’s hear them! Now go get found!
Feuza Reis is a Myrtle Beach Wedding Photographer and blogger. She is also founder of Get Found With Fuse, an SEO for photographers bootcamp and online workshop.