There are loads of SEO techniques that will bump your photography website up in the rankings. Many photographers don’t believe SEO is important because, after all, “we’re photographers.” That couldn’t be more off-base. If you don’t care who sees your photographs or how people find you, then nothing really matters, does it? However, if you care and want your photographs to be found by potential clients or even other photographers, then SEO can play one of the biggest roles in this endeavor.
In the rest of this article, I am going to share three of the smartest choices you can make for your photography website that will improve SEO immediately.
1. Choose Your SEO Plugin Wisely
In our community of SEO for photographers, we used to recommend All In One SEO as the best WordPress SEO plugin. However, since the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast was developed, our recommendation has changed.
Now when asked which plugin to use, we send people over to Yoast’s plugin. Why? For starters, it provides advanced and specific control over all the important meta information for a website. In addition to everything the AIO SEO plugin can do, it adds Open Graph function, Google Plus Authorship, Twitter Card support and so much more.
So Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin adds the basic SEO functions that every website needs for Page Rank and the social signal features that will help the modern Google Author Rank.
Note: The plugin does require some setup, so if you need it, I recommend doing searches or asking for help getting it set up.
2. Choose Your Theme Wisely
The theme you decide on plays an important role in SEO. That’s because each theme handles certain situations in different ways.
For example, some themes have SEO features built-in, but that’s unnecessary when using the WordPress plugin above. Some might argue that it’s better to have the SEO settings in the theme, and some the opposite. I personally use the plugin because of all the added benefits.
Some themes force your portfolios to use individual posts for each photograph. Unless you are writing enough context to support the individual page, that adds no SEO value. Using a theme with a built-in gallery styles will enable you to create individual portfolio pages where you can categorize, display a beautiful gallery and add context to cover all the photographs on the page.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of great photo themes out there. My recommendation is to go about picking your theme in the following way:
- Browse photography themes and find something you like.
- Go to the theme descriptions and review what I mentioned above regarding how your chosen them handles a portfolio.
- Review how the theme handles SEO.
- See if the theme has a good return policy or demo period.
When you’re ready, take the plunge.
3. Choose Your Host Wisely
Quite often overlooked is the actual hosting company and hosting type where a website is living. Within recent years in the SEO world, search engines began using page speed and loading time as a ranking factor.
Many photographers are using popular hosts such as Bluehost, Hostgator, GoDaddy, Dreamhost and more. These hosts have been successful for countless websites. In addition, the majority who host with them use their shared hosting platforms. That means that they’re sharing a server with hundreds of other customers. There are some downsides to this approach.
- Slower speeds based on your neighbor’s traffic.
- If a neighbor gets hacked, you’re vulnerable.
If you’re experiencing slow speeds, there are a couple of things you can do.
- Ask your host if they have a faster plan. For example, Bluehost and Dreamhost both offer Virtual Private Server hosting. These levels are not terribly expensive and will have a huge boost of speed and security.
- Find a new host and see if they offer migration services for free or a low additional fee.
- Try a WordPress hosting company that is specialized in hosting WordPress sites specifically.
If your website lives on a server that is fast and reliable, search engines will take notice and favor the site, thus having better results for your keywords.