“My biggest frustration is seeing photographers trying to do search engine optimization without knowing what they’re doing,” says Rob Greer, photographer and SEO expert who will speak about the topic at Imaging USA 2018. “They end up wasting time doing things that don’t matter, or worse, that are counterproductive. So my first advice is to get a really good handle on what you’re doing.”
To do that, Greer has shared a few fundamental truths about SEO to get you started.
1. SEO is not a marketing plan.
It’s one small piece of an overall marketing plan. By integrating effective SEO practices into an overall marketing strategy, you can gradually build up website traffic from interested prospects. However, SEO is not a stand-alone substitute for good marketing.
2. SEO is a long-term play.
If you’re banking on a quick fix to acquire new clients, SEO isn’t the tool you’re looking for. On average, it takes 3.4 months for a targeted piece of content to appear in search results.
Pro tip: Need faster results? Consider paid advertising through social media or Google AdWords.
3. SEO is a competition.
There isn’t necessarily a standard benchmark for SEO. Yes, there are best practices, but the ultimate goal is to do enough to outrank your competition.
Pro tip: Try to post evergreen content that will stand the test of time and drive traffic to your website over a long period.
4. SEO is an investment.
To be successful at SEO, you need to invest either time or money. Working with an SEO consultant or agency could run $500 to $1,000 per month and you’ll need at least six months’ worth of help. To do it yourself, be prepared to dig in. Greer estimates that he spent more than 400 hours on SEO work for his own website before he started seeing results.
Pro tip: When creating content for your site, go for quality over quantity. It’s better to create one amazing blog post with in-depth info than to blog every day with less engaging content.
5. SEO relies on good content.
Ultimately, Google and the other search engines want to deliver good results to users. So your web pages need to serve the content that those users are looking for. It needs to be well written, relevant, unique, and updated frequently.
Pro tip: Blogging isn’t mandatory to produce good content for SEO. Search engines reward you for any content updates to your site.
Jeff Kent is the editor-at-large of Professional Photographer.