Basics Of Photography SEO, Part 2: Where To Use Your Keywords

If you’re in the photography business to make money, then you want your website to be easily found by those looking for your services, which means paying attention to search engine optimization (SEO).

Used properly, SEO can bring the right customers straight to your door – people who are searching for what you offer, and are ready to buy.

To do that, you must ensure that every page of your photography website is properly optimized for the keywords important to your specific business. We discussed keyword research in the previous article (Basics of Photography SEO, Part 1: Google doesn’t hate you). Now let’s talk about where to put your keywords.

Here are the 10 most important places to put your keywords to their best use:

The Page Title

As far as importance goes, the page title is at the top of the list. This is the text used as the browser window title, and also as the header line in the snippet that shows up in the Google search results.

See (1) in the diagram below:

A look at SEO priorities on Google.The page title should be limited to 70 characters, with your most important keywords near the beginning.

The Page URL

The web page URL is also a good place to use keywords.

For example, gives a clear signal of what that page is about. This is the green URL below the title in the Google snippet, highlighted as (2) above.

The Page Description

The description, (3) in our example, is usually the meta description for the page. However, it also needs to be written in a way that’s tempting for the reader to click on, so you need to strike a balance here between SEO and readability. The maximum length for the description is 156 characters.

Headings And Sub-Headings

Since Google makes ranking decisions based on relative importance, using your keyword phrases in the headings and sub-headings indicates that those words are probably relevant to the topic of the page.

The Body Copy

This is simply the normal text on the page, and you should obviously mention your keyword phrases there too, in as natural a way as possible! Google is very good at sniffing out any form of manipulation, so avoid overusing your keywords.

A suggested frequency might be around 3 percent. So, if your document has 500 words, your keyword might appear, at most, 15 times.


Photographs obviously form much of our website content, and you can get some SEO mileage from naming your images with keywords in the file name.

For example, “family-portrait-botanic-garden.jpg” is better than “dsc_10280.jpg” for SEO.

HTML also allows two attributes for images (ALT and TITLE), which are also useful places to insert keywords.

Image Captions

When inserting images, especially in WordPress, don’t forget to include a caption. Not only can you use keywords here, but captions allow Google to better understand the context of the images.


Of course, testimonials provide great social proof for your work, but they’re also excellent homes for keywords, especially those related to your geographic location, such as the city name.

Anchor Text Of Internal Links

Don’t forget to link your internal content together, when appropriate, and to use the keywords for the destination page in the link. For example, a link that says “click here” doesn’t say much about the page the browser will land on, whereas “Chicago wedding photography” clearly does.

Your Address

Finally, include your address (or at least your city, state or region) on every page of your website. This is the best way to allow Google to associate your website with the main keywords in the local search results.

Final Thoughts

With all of these SEO tactics, it’s important to ensure that all of your content is unique. For example, don’t use the same ALT or TITLE text on every image. Make sure that every page has its own unique title and meta description, otherwise Google will complain that it can’t distinguish them when it comes to keyword relevance.

Most importantly, write for humans first and search engines second. The content then seems much more natural, and Google will be more likely to treat it as valuable and relevant, and worth promoting in the search results.

12 Responses to “Basics Of Photography SEO, Part 2: Where To Use Your Keywords”

  1. Nigel, can you say more about how adding the address to every webpage is best done to improve local search results? Is it as simple as adding the text on each page, or might it need to be a Microformat or Schema based entry?

  2. My experience tell me your comments on Images (titles) and Image Captions is not only right on it needs to be given far more thought then many of us tend to. In Word Press blobs, as you point out, captions are useful text descriptors of images. These captions should be rethought each time an image or image group member, is used in a different essay or article.

  3. EXCELLENT! Easy to grasp and great advice. I'm redoing my website and will certainly take this to heart!

  4. Nigel, what would be worse, leave the same "alt tag" for an entire gallery or just leave it blank?

  5. Thanks Ellen, glad you found it useful, and I wish you all the best with your website redesign!

  6. Good read great info thanks

  7. Thanks, Kevin, and I hope you can put some of this to good use as we move into a New Year - wishing you all the best!

  8. Fabiano - great question about "alt" tags, so thanks for bringing that one up.

    When it comes to "alt" tags, the same rule applies as it does to the main body text: keep it unique.

    If Google sees the same "alt" text on every image on a page or, worse, across the whole site, that can raise a red flag.

    Much better to have no "alt" tags at all than to repeat the same text over and over.

    Hope that helps!

  9. Dajuan - regarding your address on every page, another good question. The simple answer to this is that plain old text is perfectly fine for your address. I don't think there is a need for any microformat objects for that (as there is with the Facebook open graph, for example).

  10. Dennis - thanks for your comment on the importance of captions, you're absolutely correct. Photographers really need to step up and make the effort to add useful, interesting, and keyworded captions to images. I know it can seem like a lot of work to some people, but it can make a big difference.

  11. Mr. Merrick,

    Thanks a lot for this post. SEO is something that we always work on, but sometimes it feels I get lost in the maze. These two articles helped clarify some things for us as well as help define some goals. One question I have is about operatin in multiple languages. Should we use the same strategies, and then just double it up in both Chinese and English? Any advice would be awesome, thanks a lot!


  12. Thanks Garret, and glad to see this has helped you some. A great question too!

    I had a 1-on-1 client recently who had the exact same issue, and we ended up doing keyword SEO in Dutch and English on two versions of the same site, and it worked out pretty well.

    We have to remember that Google (while it does offer that neat translation service when we're browsing the web) doesn't convert SEO data for keywords in one language into another, so we have to rely on separate pages for each language we work with. It's extra work, of course, but probably well worth the effort.

    All the best to you with it!

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