It seems whenever the term SEO comes up in photography groups, Google ranking is the top priority, but I see photographers over and over again check their Google ranking incorrectly. You see, “googling” yourself is NOT how to check your ranking AT ALL. First, there are two kinds of ranking results, called universal results and local results. Secondly, Google is more and more using social media contacts and your interests to personalize your results. So if you are signed into Gmail, which many photographers usually are, then your search results are personalized and customized, and they do not showcase your true universal or local ranking.
When photographers hear this, I get two different reactions. Many of them thought they had been ranking so well, and some others believed they were not ranking at all, but they actually were. If you’re working on getting found online, it’s very important to know your initial or current Google ranking. Here are three ways to check your true Google ranking position.
1. One of the easiest ways to check your Google ranking is to use Google Chrome. Go to the top right icon that looks like a few lines, and click on it. Then choose Incognito Search. This allows you to appear as “signed out” and to go incognito so you can see the true rank positions of keywords. You can now search for “name of city + type of photography you do” as well as other keywords from your list. I would then save this data on Google Spreadsheet, or somewhere else you can track your rankings, on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
2.The Small SEO Tools website is a great resource for a quick check on ranking positions of various keywords at a time. I have used this site to check my page rank and Google rank, but I never click on the ads to pay for any additional services offered, so I don’t have any experience with that portion of the website. But their free tools are awesome. You go to http://smallseotools.com/keyword-position/ and add in your keywords in box and put your url etc. I usually don’t check Bing or Yahoo rankings because the most important one to me is Google. All you do is list your keywords with no commas: just list them by line. Then, unclick Yahoo and Bing if you don’t want those rankings, and click “check ranking.” Wait for your results, and don’t forget to copy and paste them into your tracking spreadsheet as well.
3.Local rankings. The biggest request from small business owners, when it comes to their SEO, is that they want to be found locally for the town they do business in. Google has a section for local results up in the maps area. How to show up in this area is a bit unclear, but start by getting listed with Google Business. Fill out your Google Business page and get at least 5 reviews from clients. You will know that you are listed with Google Business if you signed up it and they mailed you a postcard with a PIN to verify your address.
Recently, I have heard photographers complaining, saying they were nowhere to be found, even by their business name. But they were not checking their local listings correctly. To check if you are listed with Google, you should go to maps.google.com and look up your business. If you can’t find your business, then go sign up HERE and follow their instructions.If you see that you are already set up, then your next step is to get at least 5 Google reviews to help you rise in the local rankings.
Sometimes it is hard to know what to write to ask for a review so Pencil and Lens to the rescue. They have provides a free download for GTF fans to know exactly how to ask clients for reviews and testimonials. DOWNLOAD FREEBIE HERE.
UPDATE YOUR INFO ONLINE
If you can find yourself, but you find outdated information in your listing, then try to edit your listing via the same link I posted for Google Business—or from your Business Gplus page, which is essentially the same thing. Confusing, right? Yup, its actually linked to your Google Plus account, but I never mention the words Google Plus to my clients because it’s a turnoff. Instead, I send instructions for how they can review me. All in all, maps.google.com is used to check if you are listed in the Google Business listings, and work towards those reviews in order to creep up the local map results.
There are other sites and more ways to check Google rankings, but these should be a good start for those who are just beginning to work on their DIY SEO. So go and check your rankings, and report your findings in the comments below.