From time to time, the good people in the bowels of the Googleplex decide to tweak their algorithm to improve search results. It happened not long ago, and rest assured, it will happen again. If you care about marketing your business online, you had better be paying attention.
When Google fiddles with its formula, I always hear from a number of photographers whose Web sites have fallen off the radar. It’s akin to a rolling blackout, where a power company shuts off the electricity for some customers in a coordinated manner to reduce the load on the power grid.
Make no mistake; losing “Google juice” — say, by dropping from page 1 to page 5 in search results — can turn your business’ lights off, too.
In my case, my Web site generates anywhere from two to six assignments per month, and that is a substantial amount of money. It’s good reason to take SEO very seriously.
Keep It Fresh
So, how do you stay on the first page of results for your top keywords, if you’re fortunate enough to be there? Or how can you move up consistently from “beyond page 3” purgatory?
First, we can never predict what Google will do — so there’s no use obsessing on the ins and outs of SEO arcana. Instead, focus on the fundamentals, which never change.
Create fresh content. Switch out your images with new ones. Blog. Use social networking. Do whatever you need to do to build quality inbound links from relevant sources.
And understand that what you are creating is transitory, not carved in stone.
Inbound links come and go. The same link can be relevant one day, less so the next. For example, let’s say a photography site that Google likes links to your photography site; that’s good. Then let’s say this site drops in standing in Google’s eyes. That means the inbound link you earned — the currency of SEO — has dropped in value.
You wouldn’t expect one advertisement or one e-mail campaign to bring you new clients indefinitely. Why expect it from SEO?
Finally, don’t use the too-good-to-be-true tricks espoused by some SEO “experts.” Google knows what you’re up to, or they’ll figure it out eventually.
Trading links doesn’t work. Link farms don’t work. Using tiny or hidden text to load up your Web site with keywords doesn’t work, either.
So many photographers rest on their laurels when they reach the search position they want. If you do this, you have no one to blame but yourself. Sooner or later, the rolling blackout will hit.