SEO Tips For Photographers

This post was created in conjunction with a webinar I did for HeARTspeak. Thanks to all that attended – and for those that could not make it, I hope you find the below helpful.

Listen, I am going to be honest SEO for photographers is not easy. Competition is fierce and the landscape of Google changes almost daily.

But – you can beat Google at their game if you have the dedication, time, and patience. SEO is not a one and done task. Just like dogs or cats – the more you feed them, love them, and nurture them the more you will be rewarded with licks and snuggles. Well, Google is no different – just give it a lot of what it loves and it will be your friend.

Now, if you are looking for photographer SEO tips like – add your meta description, add a keyword 5 times in your content, or get lots of backlinks from comments – you might want to head back to 2010.

This webinar – and post focus on SEO for Photographers in 2022! And man, things have changed. So let’s go and help you guys get those beautiful websites ranking!

Image Optimization

When I do Website Audits for photographers, this is the top issue I find in just about every one of them. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your photos resized and optimized for the web. Every oversized image will affect your site speed, and when your site speed is slow – users bounce and go somewhere else. It is even more important on mobile devices.

If you are on WordPress, you can optimization tools like Smush to compress and resize your images.

Testing Your Images

The first thing you should do before any other SEO work is to check your images.

There are a few tools you can use, but one of my favorites is WebPageTest.

Head on over there – enter your URL, then you can select whether you want to choose a mobile test or a desktop test. I do recommend you do a test in both.

Once you run your test, you can use the dropdown to view the Image Analysis. Once you click that a new tab will open and deliver some insights into the images on your page.

Be sure to test your home page, gallery pages, and blog post page so you get a full overview of all of the different pages on your website.

You can see my image score is a C. My images weigh over 3.5MB which is HUGE and I can reduce them by almost 97%.

Scroll down the page and you can see insights about each of the images on the page.

Let’s take a look at the “web-blue-house-matawan11-818×1024.png” image and see what we can learn here. There is also a see details button you can click to learn more.

  1. The image is a PNG file – you should NEVER upload a PNG file for your images. They are much larger than JPG or WebP images. You can see it is 1.6MB which is huge.
  2. Potential smart compression is telling me I can reduce the size 99.5% by delivering an image in the size that the page is showing it in. This means that on the website, the size of the image actually showing is only 219×274 pixels, but the image I uploaded is 818×1024 pixels. So the browser needs to resize it down to fit – which can make load speed slower.
  3. When you click the see details button you can see optimized versions of your images that you can download and use on your website.

Quick Image SEO Tips:

  • Try to keep then to 100kb or maximum
  • Resize images to the max image size being used on your website.
  • Compress images to make them smaller.
  • Use only jpg or WebP (preferred)
  • Use a file name that contains a keyword (if possible) and defines the image
  • Resize images to the max image size being used on your website.
  • Compress images to make them smaller.
  • Use only jpg or WebP (preferred)
  • Use a file name that contains a keyword (if possible) and defines the image

webpagetest image analysis dropdown
webpagetest image results
image optimization tips in webpagetest

Naming Images

Naming your images is important for SEO as well as for easily being able to find images when you need to. Don’t do as I did here! The image name here is IMG_9304.jpg.

This tells Google and other search engines absolutely nothing about what the image is. Had I not been lazy, I may have named it something like “dog-with-tongue-seaside-beach-nj.jpg”.

This will give a signal to Google that it is about a dog with its tongue sticking out. And more importantly, it notes where the image was taken which would help with locality which is important for photographers!

Every single image should have a descriptive and custom name, but make it as short as possible!

ALT Tags

Alt tags are CRITICAL. Not just for SEO, but for accessibility for those that have disabilities. Since Google cannot easily understand what an image is, the Alt tags help them

In the source code of your website it would like something like this:

<a href=”thisismywebsite.com” alt=”this is my alt text”>Visit my website!</a>

Tips for writing a good ALTtag:

  • Keep it short, just a few words
  • Try to use a keyword if it makes sense
  • Describe the image

If you are on WordPress then you will add ALT tags in the media section as shown below. This is not a good example of an image url, but it is a good example of ALT text. It reads “bianca boxer for adoption in northern nj” making it clear who is in the photo and where they can find her.

alt text in WordPress

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Keyword Research

google search dropdown

Read how to do keyword research with Google Search Console to find quick win opportunities!

How are people going to find you if you are not using terms they are searching with?

Hint, they won’t.

Knowing what your potential clients are searching for is the best way to draw them in. Using keyword research tools is the best way to understand the terms and phrases that people are using to find your services.

First, you need to think about the pages on your website or the topic you want to write about. You should think about it from the perspective of your perfect client so you can create the perfect content.

Keyword Research Quick Tips:

  • Determine the intent of the content – who is the reader, and what will the content answer.
  • Use Google to find people also ask or related terms
  • Use keyword tools to find keyword options
  • Create content that satisfies the intent and optimize it with the keywords you found.

Title Tags

You probably know this one already – everyone talks about title tags, but they are really that important! A creative and engaging title tag can make someone click your result over your competitor.

So, think about this one carefully and use these tips when creating yours:

  • Keep the title tag to 50-60 characters
  • Use keywords
  • Add a location when it makes sense
  • Look at the top competing pages and see what they use – make yours better

If you do one thing after today’s webinar, please go to your home page and remove HOME from your title tag.

This is one of the top issues I find on all websites.

For example, on K Schulz Photography’s website, we have Home – K Schulz Photography in the title tag. This is a loss of great SEO space! A recommended title tag would be “K Schulz Photography | Minnesota Pet + People Photographer

Remember, every page should have a unique title tag that describes the page in an engaging way!

title tag example with home in it

Internal Links

One thing no one else seems to talk about when giving photographers SEO advice is internal links.

OK, so what the hell is an internal link you might ask?

Internal links are when you link within your website from one page to the other. This is a big ranking factor and one that is so underused, especially in the photography niche.

Internal links help you encourage visitors to go to other pages and also allow you to control how Google crawls your website.

Example of an internal link:

Learn more about meta descriptions

That is an internal link that will take you to our meta description page. The anchor text is descriptive and clearly defines what the expected page will be about.

Internal Links Quick Tips:

  • Internal links should be on EVERY page of your website.
  • They should be keyword rich, but not using the same one all the time. Variations of keywords should also be used.
  • The anchor text should be short and sweet

Below is an example of a website that recently underwent an internal link audit and implementation.

analytics graph internal link success

Backlinks For Photographers

Just saying this word makes me cringe. There is nothing I hate more about SEO than the dreaded need for backlinks. But sadly, we need them.

When other websites link to you it is like giving you a vote – the one with the most votes wins. Backlinks have always been a part of the ranking factors, and probably will continue to be – so it is important to try and set aside some time to acquire some.

Quick Tips For Backlinks:

  • Get backlinks from niche relevant websites (photographer or local business-related)
  • Backlinks should be from pages that have more authority than your own website
  • Work with local businesses for guest posts or events to acquire backlinks
  • Create listings on relevant photography websites
  • Try to use keyword rich anchor text or your brand name when acquiring backlinks
  • Dofollow are preferred but nofollow are good too

Google Business Profile


Every local business should take the time to craft a well-optimized Google Business Profile. This helps bring a business more visibility in the map searches and local packs. By completing your profile and adding your best photos you will grow your chances to be seen.

It is also extremely helpful to send clients there to leave reviews for your services.

Add a note to your calendar to update it every 6 months with fresh photos and any business updates that may have happened.

You can get started creating your Google Business Profile here.

Valerie Bruder has done a great job with hers!

It is completely filled out with all the important information and has some custom images for users to see.

The reviews are key to success. She currently has 7 reviews, and these are what can help her get more visibility on the maps.

Of course, they also add to the trust factor and play a part in getting more clicks to the website.

The only suggestion I would make is to add a few more recent images since the ones she has seem to be a bit dated.

example of google my business box

Content

This is one of the most challenging parts! Your content not only needs to be engaging, but it also has to be content that will draw in new users by using searched keywords and phrases.

Doing keyword research is the key to creating content that ranks. Without understanding what people are searching for, there is no point in creating content.

So, let’s talk about some ideas for content that works for pet photographers.

These ideas may not all be what we call “targeted keywords” that will bring clients right away. But having other content on your website can help push visitors through your sales funnel or help bring brand awareness.

  • Best places in {my city} to photograph dogs
  • 20 great floral dog portrait locations in {my city}
  • Best engagement photos with dogs in {my city} – great opportunity to network with other photographs for photos you may not take like weddings or portraits
  • Why I adopted my cat stories
  • 10 ways to get your cat to look at you for a picture
  • 5 great dog bakeries in {my city}

Header Tags

Header tags are the titles on your page. In most cases the page title will be an H1 header tag. You can use header tags from H2 through H6 on your pages. I do not think I have ever used anything past H3, and in most cases you probably would not either.

These are signals to Google about the topic of the page, so it is important to use them correctly. It is also important for accessibility.

Below is an example of a good photographer service page format using headers.

<h1> NJ Pet Photographers Services </h1>

<h2>In-Home Pet Portrait Sessions</h2>
<h3>Indoor Pet Portrait Sessions</h3>
<h3> Outdoor Pet Portrait Sessions</h3>

<h2>On-Location Pet Portrait Sessions<h2>

Video

Video is one of those items that may not directly impact your SEO as a photographer, but can have an indirect positive effect. Having videos on your website can increase time on page and reduce bounce rate, both which can have some impact on rankings.

While I do recommend photographers use video in their marketing strategy, it is not a must for website growth. I think having videos of you in action and working with your clients is a great way to set yourself apart from other photographers.

And optimizing your videos on YouTube can offer an additional traffic stream!

Embed the videos to your website with “video schema” and you may even catch a better look in the search engines if they decide to show your video when someone does a search.

Schema Markup

Search engine algorithms are smart, but they still sometimes have a hard time understanding the content on websites.

Schema markup helps by telling search engines exactly what content is on your site. It is nothing a reader will see – it will only show to the search engines but can offer many additional opportunities to get some visibility in the SERPs.

Types of Schema:

  • Local Business – This schema markup is the perfect way to advertise your services in your city or region. You can provide additional information in search results, including location info, reviews and hours.
  • Product & Service Reviews – You can use the review schema markup to show users your positive reviews from previous clients.
  • Articles – Structured markups for news articles or blogs allow you to add additional information, including an image, to drive more users to your content.
  • Services – Highlight your specific service offerings and feature top ratings and reviews from past clients.
  • Events – If you’re hosting a special event, let searchers know by using this schema markup to help your event details stand out in search results.
  • Video Objects – Get more eyes on your video content by using this schema markup to attract users with quick information and a screenshot of your video.

Use the Structured Data Testing Tool to see if you have schema markup and if it is valid.

Check your rich results support here.

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Photographer SEO Tips Summary

Below is a simple list of what really matters and what does not when it comes to SEO!

  1. Website speed. Have a target goal of loading in under 3 seconds in all devices and browsers. Test multiple pages, not just the home page.
  2. Title tags. Should be well written, 50-60 characters, and have keywords or city, state in them.
  3. Images. File name should be descriptive and include keyword if it makes sense. Images should always be jpg or WebP files.
  4. Alt text. Every image should have short yet descriptive alt text, use a keyword if you can.
  5. Backlinks. Acquire backlinks from niche relevant or locally relevant websites. Preferably from websites that have a higher authority than yours.
  6. Internal links. Link to other pages on your website from every post or page you create. Use anchor text that is keyword rich and describes the page the person will be taken to.
  7. Google My Business. Extremely important for local map rankings and additional visibility for your brand search.
  8. Content. Each page should be specific to a topic and keyword. Minimize the chance of confusing Google by making each page clearly optimized and focused on a specific topic.
  9. URL Structure. Should be short and sweet and have a keyword if possible.
  10. Proper redirects. You should be able to type in https or http with your domain and get to the same version of your website. You should also be able to access the same version with www or non-www.

Jill Caren
Jill Caren is the owner of ZenSpill, and is a part-time blogger who also works full time as an SEO Manager for Stratabeat, a digital marketing agency. Jill has been an SEO professional for over 15 years and has successfully built, sold, and flipped many websites over the years. Her passion is in making SEO easy to understand and showcasing different SEO tools to make SEO more manageable. Connect with her on LinkedIn!

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