In this article I’ll show you how to research keywords for your photography website and how to select the ones that offer you a better chance to rank higher in organic search results. In this way you’ll be able to identify new keyword opportunities for your website.
The ultimate goal here is to help you get more relevant organic traffic to your website and convert those visitors into paying customers.
While many photographers focus solely on imagery while building their websites, it’s important to remember that Google still relies on textual content when ranking websites in search results.
Obviously, having a good looking website and portfolio is vital for your photography business. Yet, it’s also important to understand the value and SEO potential that words (textual content) can bring to the table.
The importance of textual content
So, in order to get higher positions in organic search result pages (aka SERPs), you should take into account and work on the following content related factors:
- Content relevancy – your content should be valuable to your visitors and should be relevant to what they are searching for (satisfy your user’s search intent).
Example: let’s say a user is searching in Google for “wedding photographer in Los Angeles” and lands on a page with some generic info about how to plan a wedding. This page is not relevant to what he is searching for, so he’ll probably leave it shortly. The page should be particularly about a wedding photographer who is providing photography services in Los Angeles.
- Content length – it’s important to have a bare minimum of textual content so that Google understands what is your page about. Aim to have at least 300-500 words on any important page of your site. Normally, longer and more comprehensive content tends to rank higher in organic search results.
- Content quality – always think of your site visitors when writing any text/content for your website. Does it sound interesting? Will it bring any value for my readers? It’s worth considering creating not just blog posts with client galleries, but also helpful content based on your experience, such as lists with top recommended venues, locations, posing or outfit ideas, you can answer so many questions and offer so much guidance to your potential clients, simply by creating comprehensive and informative articles for them. Here is a huge list of photography blog post ideas.
- Relevant keywords – when you describe a page try to use a natural language but in the same time try to include the keywords you want to rank for. Also, use synonyms and keywords related to your topic, to avoid repetition and make your content more comprehensive. For example, if you are writing about “wedding photography locations”, use related keywords such as: “wedding photo shoot locations”, “places to take wedding photos”, “wedding photography spots”, etc. Google has a very thorough understanding and will take all this into account when deciding to add your page to a SERP.
Types of keywords (short tail vs long tail)
Now that you know what are the best practices for SEO friendly content, let’s talk a little about the types of keywords you can use. There are three categories:
1. Short tail
These are search terms that usually contain one or two words. Short tail keywords are also known as head terms. These keywords have a high search volume and high competition, but a lower conversion rate. Head terms can generate a good amount of organic traffic to your site, but it will take a lot of time and effort before your site can rank for these keywords. If you have an established website with high authority, you can target these kind of keywords.
Examples of short tail keywords:
2. Medium tail
These are search terms that usually contain two or three words and are more specific than short tail keywords. They have a decent amount of traffic and a lower competition compared to head terms. It’s still not easy to rank for medium tail keywords. You would need high quality content and some strong backlinks (external links pointing to your site) to be able to get traffic from medium tail keywords.
Examples of medium tail keywords:
wedding photographer in miami
elopement photographer colorado
wedding planners chicago
3. Long tail
These are search terms that usually contain more than 3 words and are highly specific. These search terms have a low amount of search volume, but the conversion rate is higher. You can rank relatively easy for long tail keywords and the traffic you get will have a higher conversion rate. People usually use long tail keywords to search for something very specific and have a higher purchase intent. If you are just starting out with SEO or would like to expand your discoverability online, it’s a good idea to target these kind of keywords.
Examples of long tail keywords:
reasonable price for a wedding photographer in miami
affordable wedding photographers in grand rapids mi
places to elope in colorado without hiking
wedding and event planners in atlanta georgia
At this point you can start researching keywords and select the ones that would make sense for your content and rank well in organic search results. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you are on the right track:
1. Define the topic
Before creating any kind of content, be that a page or a blog post, you should have a clear understanding of the topic you want to address. Or better said, who do you want to attract to your website through this new page/post.
To simplify this process you can ask yourself a few questions:
What services do I provide?
What is the geographical location I serve?
What keywords are my competitors ranking for?
What type of content do I want to create (guide, tutorial, education, etc.)?
Next, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Imagine you are your client, and ask yourself:
What are they searching for?
How would they search for your service?
Will your content be relevant to what they are searching for, will it satisfy their search intent?
It’s important to know what is the main topic of you content to be able to create a list of some relevant keywords and use them to get more ideas.
You don’t need to target the exact same keywords for your homepage, about page or an article on your blog. Meaning, the blog posts, should have more narrow topics, targeting a specific need or question a client may have (for example: how to elope in yosemite national park), while your home page can target a specific service you want to promote (for example: wedding photographer in nyc).
Write down a list of a few keywords (2-3 keywords) that describe well your topic. These will be your main keywords, which you will use to define your full list of keywords.
2. Search for keywords
Once you define the topic and have a list of main keywords, you can start searching for words and phrases that your clients use when searching online.
There are lots of great tools that can help you identify relevant keywords, based on what people use in search engines. Here are some great ones (all tried & tested):
3. Select what keywords to use
Identify keywords that are closely related to your topic, have a good search volume and a low/medium competition. Most of the tools suggested above will display keyword estimates through:
- Search volume – the number of monthly searches for a particular keyword. Long tail keywords usually have a low search volume (for example 10-100 searches per month), but they are highly relevant and easier to rank.
- Difficulty – how hard is to rank for a particular keyword or how competitive it is. Usually, the higher the number the more difficult it will be to rank for that keyword. Look for keywords that have low or medium difficulty.
- CPC – cost per click or how much you would need to pay for this keyword if you decide to run ads in search engines. The cost per click is an additional factor that will help you identify the value of a keyword. If someone is willing to pay more, this probably means that this keyword has a high conversion rate
Let’s say you want to write a blog post about “eloping in colorado” and particularly about the “places to elope in colorado”.
Head over to Ubersuggest (or any other tool from the recommended list) and search for keyword ideas. Include your main keyword “eloping in colorado” in the tool and hit the Search button. As mentioned earlier, pay attention to keywords that are highly related to your topic, have a good search volume and relatively low competition. Browse the list and select the keywords you need.
Here is an example with a list of keywords that would fit your article:
eloping in colorado
elope to colorado
places to elope in colorado
best places to elope in colorado
where to elope in colorado
where can i elope in colorado
where to elope outside in colorado
romantic places to elope in colorado
elope in mountains of colorado
elope destinations in colorado
beautiful places to elope in colorado
place to elope in colorado
best place to elope in colorado
elope on a mountain in colorado
where can you elope in colorado
Save the list of relevant keywords and proceed to the next step (described below).
If your topic is very specific and there is not enough search volume. Choose a related main keyword and search for new keyword ideas. Repeat the process as many times as you need, until you get a decent amount of keywords with good search volumes (10-20 keywords should be enough).
Now that you have a well defined topic and your list of relevant keywords, you can start writing your content. Here are a few tips that will help write compelling and SEO friendly content:
- Write your content in a natural way and don’t try to stuff keywords everywhere.
- Only mention your keywords occasionally within your text. Remember, it should sound natural. Write it for your audience, not for search engines.
- Don’t forget about content length. As I mentioned earlier, longer content tends to rank higher in search results. This isn’t an easy task for photographers, but it’s essential that you have a minimum amount of text (at least 300 words).
- Use synonyms and related words. For example, if your web page is about “how to elope with family”, feel free to use similar keywords, such as:
- eloping with immediate family
- elopement with parents
- how to include family in elopement
- Use short paragraphs. Ideally, your paragraphs should be 2-5 sentences long. Everything longer than that will make your content hard to read.
- Structure your content by using headings, subheadings, lists, paragraphs, etc. This will make you content look better and easier to consume.
- Make you content appealing by using images or videos (shouldn’t be a problem for photographers). This will keep your visitors engaged and provide a positive user experience.
- Use internal and external links. Internal links will keep visitors on your site for a longer period of time, while external links will provide additional value and resources.
The process of assigning relevant keywords to a web page is called keyword mapping.
Before publishing your new content for which you’ve done all the keyword research, you can do one more things to further optimize it – map your keywords to your web page.
You take your keywords (ideally it’s one keyword or a set of related keywords) and place them on specific sections of your page. Here is where you can include your keywords:
- URL of the page – this is applicable to blog posts and pages. If you’re mapping keywords to you home page, there is no need to include your keyword in the URL.
- Title and description of the page – this is important as the title and description of your page appear in search engine results. Placing a keyword in your title gives you greater chances to rank higher for that keyword. You can adjust your title and description by using Yoast SEO plugin.
- Headings and subheadings – you might want to mention your keywords in the headings of your page (H1..H6). There is no need to add keywords to all your headings or subheadings. Placing a keyword in your H1 heading can be enough.
- Body of the page – this is the content that you’ve already written. If you followed the tips described in the “Content Writing” section, you should be good.
- Image alt attribute or file name – if you have images on your page and these are related to your keywords, you can include some keywords as image alt attributes or image file names. This won’t have a great impact on your ranking, hence it’s optional.
- Internal links – you can also use your keywords when linking to other internal pages on your website. In general, it’s a good practice to link to other pages of you site using text links.
Here is an example of well optimized page in terms of keyword mapping:
Over to you
If you read the whole article you’re superstar. Now, it’s time to apply your knowledge into practice. Define a content strategy that fits your goals and start researching keywords.
Remember, content is king. If it’s well written, offers value to the reader and is based on keywords relevant for your business – it will surely start bringing quality traffic to your website and potential new clients.
Give these tips & tricks a try and share your progress inside our SEO community on Facebook. Good luck!