Do you need new clients? Do you want them to find you online? Of course you do! The biggest secret on how to do it is here in this blog. Ready? Simply put, don’t worry solely about local SEO text, but optimize your website and blogs with alternative keywords. I call this enjoying a sippy drink down by the beach instead of fighting in the UFC arena for that sought-after local SEO keyword
Town Name + Type of Photography you do
Don’t get me wrong, winning that belt title is oh so grand, and of course local SEO is extremely important to me and is a part of my overall SEO strategy, but I realize that my end goal – NEW CLIENTS – can be achieved by many paths. As long as there are ways that get me there, then I can continue to live out my passion and my creative destiny. So if there are less competitive ways to reach my goal of being booked by new clients, why would I pull my hair out aiming for a local SEO saturated keyword that everyone is fighting over? Especially when there are other shortcuts to reaching my end goal? Exactly.
The number one request I receive from photographers is: I want to be found for LOCAL SEO – [town name] plus [kind of photography I offer], as if this were the holy grail in the Indiana Jones movie. Like, I truly believe they hear the Indiana Jones theme song when they see their businesses come up for that term + location in a search result. Okay, back on point here. While doing a search in Google, we tend to see 3 things: Local results, Universal results and Ads. In case you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about, here are some definitions:
Local results – for many, it’s the Google Maps listings that show up at the top above search results.
Ads – the paid ads you see at the top and side of the pages.
Universal results– refers to the results below the local listings—also known as organic results.
Let’s talk local vs. universal (or organic) results. There is a set of things that needs to take place in order to get the Local Google Business listing (blog post to follow). People think you show up in the maps section if you simply sign up. Nope, there is more to it than that. My blog teaches practical DIY SEO in order to obtain organic results as well as working toward your local results listings. (Let us not confuse the two.) We all know that being found online by the kind of work you do and the town you service is a fantastic thing. But even more so, to have both come up in a Maps listing AND have your website or blog show up on page 1? It’s like fireworks on the 4th of July!
In competitive and saturated markets, though, this could be very hard.
Alternatively, if you live in a smaller market area, there might not be as much search traffic for that term, or you may think certain terms have traffic that just don’t. More on this topic as you read further. So it’s possible to do a lot of work that doesn’t allow us to reach our goal. Which is? BOOK NEW CLIENTS, LIVE OUR HAPPY CREATIVE LIVES. INSERT SMILEY BRAZILIAN FACE HERE.
Another common thing I see is that some photographers are interested in outranking a competitor instead of converting leads to bookings. Sounds a bit like high school, doesn’t it? (I can relate, believe me.) One thing I have learned about competition in business in general is to keep your eyes on the road. Focus on you, do great things, be happy. The more you are yourself, the more you will attract the clients you wish to work with, and the more business you will get. This doesn’t mean I don’t do competitive research to see who is ranking and look for new things I can learn, but my goal is not to outrank A or B. It is to receive new inquiries and book consults and photo shoots. If our focus is on outranking the competitor and not focusing on results, then it is all in vain!
So let me recap and you TWEET THIS> The secret to ranking in a saturated market is FOCUS ON THE GOAL NOT ON THE COMPETITION.
- Brand your self! A huge aspect of SEO now, is Branding. The more powerful a brand is in communicating their message, the more views will be engaged, will stay and the more Google will like that website/blog. Even big brands now see the important of personalizing their brands with their audience. As photographers, creatives and service based business for the most part our brands will be an extension of who we are as human beings and as artists. This is a long process and one I am embarking myself on right now. It is deeply rooted and freeing because I am embracing who I am, so my brand can reflect that. The more of me I put out there, the less it will be about price or competition. If you can not hire a brand specialist right away, start a brand box or brand secrete board on Pinterest. You can blog your brand journey, inspiration and work towards building your brand.
- Have a list of your main 10 keywords you ideally want to be on page 1 of Google for. This will be what kind of photography you do and where. Don’t forget sub-categories of types of work you offer. For example, in wedding photography there is also engagement photography. This will help you elaborate on point below. I wrote a beginners Guide to keywords and you can read all about it here.
- Start your alternative keyword list to add to your main list. Lets chat about the alternative keyword list for a minute and different ways to add keywords to your list.
- Use Google Suggest. Do you know when you start typing something in Google, and a list pops up? Yeah, that thing. That list is important and an indicator of what is being searched. Fabulous right? You are welcome.
- Use Uber Suggest. From their website: “With this free keyword tool you can instantly get thousands of keyword ideas from real user queries! Use the keywords to get inspiration for your next blog post, or to optimize your PPC campaigns.”
- Use Keyword Planner. It’s not as strong as before, but you can find some alternative keywords as well. Go here and sign into your Google Adwords account. You don’t have to be paying for any ads to use the tool. Basically, you type in your keyword and see groupings of what results they will show. You may be surprised to find the number of searches and whether there is medium, low or high competition. Try to avoid high competition and see if there is enough search volume for you to even use a keyword.
- Ask your past clients and friends. You can survey them and say, “If you were in need of an X photographer in Y town, what would you Google?” You may be surprised by your findings.
- Use Pinterest to sort ideas: Type in a keyword ideas, phrases and see what kind of results are popping up in Pinterest. They also have a suggest tool while typing and you can see which boards pull up and read some other descriptions. Maybe there is a keyword or way of saying something you had not thought about.
- Think more inspiration than town. Yes, adding your city and town is important for local SEO efforts, but be a resource to your client. If your client is a bride, provide information about wedding decor, wedding ideas, wedding colors, wedding trends, wedding venues, and so forth. If your target clients are moms, offer ideas on what to do with their kids in X town, and think about their pain points. Maybe it’s more moms of elementary school kids, or maybe moms of high schoolers, so their needs will change. As I have stated before, do an ideal client profile so you can obtain ideas for alternative keywords.
- Don’t be afraid of small towns and surrounding suburbs. Google understands maps; they have a search engined for geography so they know how close surrounding towns can be and you can still rank close enough to that bigger town. I once heard a Seattle Wedding Photographer changed his keywords to a smaller suburb outside of Seattle and KILLED IT! So mix it up.
Now start saving more and more keywords to your list and use them for blogging, for renaming your image files, and even for hashtagging/social media. This way you have options and you will show up in different places online.
SEO TIP– Speaking of image files. As I have stated before, search engines don’t see photos or text, so whatever text we surround photos and video with will be vital in getting found. The mistake many photographers make is they want everything to be labeled with the same keywords. For example: NY wedding photographer. They will rename their photos with this, use this term in their page titles, and make everything all the same. Don’t make that mistake. I know you won’t because you’re here getting the best tips!
As I’m sure you already know (or have caught on from reading my blog), trying to rank for a market-saturated city is an uphill, tiresome battle which can lead to defeat quite quickly or a busted-up leg like Silva—ouch.
So, does this mean I don’t want to be found for Myrtle Beach wedding photographer? Of course I do! But, when it happens, it’s the cherry on top. I dislike sweating over competitive keywords, so I focus on alternative keywords that help me get found online and help me get inquiries, so I can focus on the second half — which is converting that lead. SEO and being found online is all about getting new paying clients and showcasing your brand message to new eyeballs. I can be on page 1 for a bunch of things, but if I am not booking, then it does not matter.
Finally, when checking your rankings after doing changes to your website and blog, it is important to check the increase in inquiries versus the previous year—and previous month, too—so you can keep track of your efforts. It all can be really pretty in reports, and you can stand up tall puffing and beating your chest because you took photographer A’s spot, but if you are not booking and fueling your true passion of living, this dream of being an artist and getting paid for it, what is the point? What are we doing this for?
For me, it’s so I can live my dream, so I can have freedom: freedom to create, freedom to be. So I urge you not to get stuck in the rut of competition, but pursue true results.
If you want to be the first to know when I launch my wedding Keyword Kits – sign up here! And please post comments, questions and what action steps you will be taking to add new words to your alternative keyword list?
Booking more clients = means I can go back to the homeland more often and photograph asI please. What does booking more photography clients mean to you? #repost of an instagram image of my time in Brazil last year.