So SEO, huh? Another cool acronym that helps keep me in a job. Search Engine Optimization is just that – optimizing your website for search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves, Lycos – you get the idea…).
A few disclaimers to start
- We’re not full-time SEO consultants who live and breathe this stuff – we’re techies that have a sound understanding of a broad set of web principles. This post is likely to change and we’re happy to be corrected as things evolve. And they will.
- This post is aimed at photographers, the current majority of our users. Examples will be geared towards that audience. But the principles of what we’re saying will hold true across the board.
- BlogStomp’s SEO functionality is available only for users with WordPress blogs.
- YMMV. Or in other words, it may work differently in your situation, or be different in your experience. But whatever.
Content, Content, Content.
A stream of frequently updated content on your site should be your first target. Blog (share) as much of your work as possible. And do it FAST. Engage your clients/readers close to the moment, and get your readers interacting with your site. The more you share, and the more your users share what you’ve shared, the better off you’ll be. Remember, sharing means caring.
You probably knew that huh? Moving on…
Be purposeful about the words, titles and phrases you use in your posts. Use keywords that are important to your business. Search engines will (over time) associate your site with those words. So this is where people go and write a post something like….
[My-Area] Wedding by [My-Area] Wedding Engagement Bridal Trash the Dress Photography Services at [My-Area] Wedding Venue
I am like, totally a great Wedding Photographer in [My-Area] that totally offers the Best Wedding Photography Services in [My-Area]. If you’re
interested in Wedding Engagement Bridal Trash the Dress Photography Services in [My-Area], please contact me.
Specializing in Wedding Engagement Bridal Trash-the-Dress Commercial Newborn Seniors Architectural Food Nature Photography Services in [My-Area].
Don’t. Just don’t. The above post probably (maybe) would be quite effective. But my goodness it’s lame. Remember that people actually have to read what you write. I, for one, wouldn’t want that associated with my brand. I’d honestly prefer to have fewer hits than have a post like that on my site.
Use keywords by all means (your “About” or “Contact” pages are great places to get these in), but try not to look like a kid in the sandwich board selling pizzas, yelling to passers-by…
You can also put keywords in places that are less visible than in the content of a page/post. You see, the search engines have “spiders” (probably literally a tarantula) that crawl all over the internet looking for things to index.
In human-speak that means Google has software that looks all over the net and stores information on what your site is about. These spiders look at HTML tags and attributes that are less visible to your human readers. In real terms you can put keywords in tags like metadata, title, keywords, alt-tags, etc…
Here we go again….
<meta name=”keywords” content=”my-area wedding engagement bridal trash the dress photography services, photographer, world number 1 photographer, cheap photographer, expensive photographer, budget photographer, the knot, I use a mac so I’m totally creative, I literally live in photoshop (like I have a bed there), photog, I have a cute dog/baby, my photos are better than yours, I bought a fancy camera, kitchen sink”>
Again, don’t. Think of the search engine spiders like people – they can smell a rat, too. The folks behind search engines are, like, MIT folk – almost like the ones in “The Social Network” (which is a very quotable movie, BTW).
This is called ‘keyword stuffing’, and it won’t get you anywhere, or if you’re really (un)lucky, you’ll get blacklisted by Google. Awesome!
Google is very guarded with the intricacies of all of this, but in the most recent news from a Google engineer, they are starting to penalize overly-optimized sites. (If you’re interested, Matt Cutts at SXSW)
In summary, only have a few relevant keywords, please.
Merlin Mann (his real name) put it best.
Man, I like him. The thing is, be yourself. Be sensible and be purposeful. By all means, link to the venue where you shot because you liked them and because they fit with your brand. But don’t sell out (unless the money’s REALLY good…)
This post was rubbish, I thought I was coming here to read about how BlogStomp can help me with SEO.
Please heed the advice above and simmer your keywords and targets to a select few, then apply as follows.
- Image file names – You can set BlogStomp to pump out images with custom names. File names can be a sensible place to put a keyword.
- Alt tag – From BlogStomp 2.5 and up you can add alt tag keywords to images. Strictly speaking, these are for the alternate text version of the photo, should it fail to load. Another good place to put something sensible.
- Title tag – From BlogStomp 2.5 and up you can add title tag keywords to images. This is the text that displays when a user holds there mouse over a photo – a “tool tip”. So make it ‘human’ and readable.
- Content – Lets be honest, what you type in the post itself is the real deal. Write something worth reading, add engaging photos, promote conversation, link to vendors, and be genuine. This is key.
It’s easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole of SEO. Over time, hand on heart, this stuff won’t matter nearly as much as you leaving an awesome impression with your last client. That isn’t a directive to put your head in the sand and do nothing about it, just a bit of perspective.