Search rank is extremely important to the success of today's photography businesses. Say YES if any of these situations apply to you:
• You envy the photography businesses at the top of the search results
• Your work is better than your search competition
• You've been around longer than your search competition
• You've tried search engine optimization (SEO) to rank higher but it hasn't helped
Despite your quality work and experience why don't you rank first in Google? Why hasn't your SEO efforts changing titles, keywords, meta data, and photo tags made a difference?
You're not alone. Every photographer I consult comes to me with the same dilemma. This article teaches you the secret.
First, let's look at the potential gain.
Why Search is Important for Marketing
We already know that billions of queries are done in search engines by potential customers seeking answers to their questions. Some slice of this pie are people seeking products or services that you offer. How much of that business you can secure depends on where you fall in the rankings.
Website traffic from potential customers, is highest at the top of the search results.
Search Engine Watch reports “the top listing in Google's organic search results receives 33 percent of the traffic, compared to 18 percent for the second position, and the traffic only degrades from there.”
There is financial incentive to rank high. Higher rank = more traffic = more business. Now we just need to get you there.
Google Rank is a Popularity Contest
Remember those high school days where everything was a popularity contest from the prom queens to student council elections? Ranking in search is a popularity contest as well.
Google is extremely smart. It knows you can say anything about yourself on your own website. You can say you’re the best and you can load a million different keywords into your photos, but your opinion and your web savvy doesn’t mean you’re the most suitable choice for Google’s customer.
The Definition of Popularity: The state or condition of being liked, admired, or supported by many people.
Google understands the popularity factor of human nature. When most professional photographers have similar websites, photo quality, and prices, consumers choose the most popular business who is liked, admired and supported by many others. Google ranks those businesses first to make it easy for its customers to find the best result quickly.
You need to prove to Google you’re more liked, admired, and supported than your competition. There are countless ways to achieve this!
Your total combined social activity, including the number of followers and shares, is one way to measure the influence of an online business and will increasingly play a role in how search engines rank sites." An admired business has lots of positive reviews, is being talked about in online forums and social media groups, and may have won a photography contest.
A supported business is a member of professional associations and groups. It has been featured in articles, blogs and news sites. It has been interviewed in magazines and podcasts or has spoken at events.
Note that none of these have to do with your own website. Popularity is achieved across the Internet. Consider a photographer who has been featured on NBC News. A single mention on a powerful website is enough to deserve a top rank.
Start Contributing to Other Sites
You can’t wait around for that NBC News feature or hope a photo contest prize will suddenly fall in your lap. Building exposure across other websites takes action.
First, shift focus away from your site and onto others. I have started a number of photography marketing websites. During the first year of business I barely even look at my own site, posting the bare minimum of content to sustain it. Instead, my efforts are spent contributing to other sites.
I’ve found the easiest way to be featured is to write an article for someone else. This is called content marketing or article marketing. Take a topic that is valuable for people to learn about and talk about it. Case in point, writing this post got me on this popular photography website in order to build my Google popularity. The branding and awareness it will generate for my site Photography Spark is a nice side-benefit.
As a photographer, it should be relatively simple to write for sites like this one. Simply share your knowledge, tips, and ideas. It could be an article about Creativity and Business or Examples of Still Life Photography.
Not a writer? There are plenty of services, like PDN’s PhotoServe, that will write content for you for a fee. You can also approach a website or news organization with your expertise on a topic and request an interview, either written, audio or video and simply answer their audience questions about a subject. Google Hangout interviews work great since it is often faster to talk than to write, like in this SEO interview.
Finally, look for opportunities to get photos featured as many places as possible. Offer bloggers or vendors use of your images in exchange for a mention on their website. Contribute photos to online communities and ask for feedback.
About Zach Prez
Zach Prez of Photography Spark.com is an Internet Marketing specialist with 10+ years of experience. His expertise in SEO, social media, email marketing, and web design has been shared in dozens of top photography sites and magazines. He's a husband and father of three, ninja at Ms Pac Man, and loves books on art crime. Join him on Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.