SEO can seem daunting, and honestly, I blame the “experts” for over-complicating the process (which usually ends in them selling you, a thoroughly confused reader, their SEO workshop). As someone who works closely with SEO all day, every day I’m going to let you in on a secret: SEO is nothing to be afraid of. My goal by the end of this blog post is to break SEO down in the easiest way possible so you’re equipped with the knowledge and confidence to boost your rankings on Google.
Drop a comment if you ever felt personally attacked by SEO (Mean Girls, anyone?). I know I have. In reality, SEO is only as complicated as you make it. It’s taken me years to learn what works and what doesn’t, but the reward has been so worth it. When we get inquiries from people who say they found us through Google, I get so excited — go ahead, call me a big SEO nerd!
Today, I’m giving you 3 simple tips that you can implement today to help you boost your SEO results right away. Ready to start getting your business found organically on Google? Let’s get to it.
SEO Tip #1: Web pages rank for keywords, not websites as a whole
It’s a common misconception that websites as a whole rank for keywords, but it’s actually the individual web pages that rank. This should come as great news because this means you can (and should) strategically use the pages on your website to rank for your target keywords. We’ve seen major success using this SEO strategy with Carrylove Design clients.
There are four main pages we focus on for SEO strategy:
- Home page
- About page
- Experience page
- Portfolio page
Having multiple pages to work with also leaves some wiggle room to target secondary keywords. For example, if you’re an Austin wedding photographer, you could write” Austin wedding photographer” (the main keyword) on your home page and “best Austin wedding photographer” (the secondary keyword) on your about page. By targeting similar, yet distinct keywords for your home page, about page, experience page, and any other pages you have on your site optimizes your website as a whole and increases your chances for being found organically.
Pro-tip: Don’t worry about pages you don’t want people to see initially. These are pages like your contact form, FAQ, hidden investment page, or similar internal pages that won’t necessarily secure leads.
Keep in mind that the content (words) written on your site matter most (I’m looking at you, photographers!). If you’re a visual person like me, it can be tempting to rely on photos to sell your services. At the end of the day though, the words on your page not only help convey your brand message but also helps you rank on Google. Another photographer can be exactly like yours, but the words you use are going to be what helps get your brand in front of more eyes.
SEO Tip #2: Use your main keyword on a web page multiple times
There are two ways you can go about using your main keyword on each web page. Let’s break each method down:
- Use your main keyword in the H1 text tag.
Before we go further into the details, here’s a quick guide to the different types of title tags you can use to rank on Google:
- H1 (title): The most important title tag. You should only have one of these per web page and it should consist of your main keyword.
- H2 (heading): The second most important heading. You can have multiple H2s per web page and it should contain secondary keywords.
- H3 (subheading): The third most important heading. You can also have multiple H3s per web page that consist of secondary keywords.
- Paragraph: Paragraphs allow you to add more substance and context. Keywords can be sprinkled around in these body texts, but be careful of keyword stuffing.
Let’s revisit our Austin wedding photographer example. Since we established that the main keyword is “Austin wedding photographer” it would be best to write that as your H1 on at least one of your site’s pages.
We inconspicuously place keywords throughout our clients’ websites to set them up for the best success, but to also avoid sounding robotic. If you use ShowIt like we do for our clients, it’s quite intuitive to set keywords as an H1: Just click on “text properties” in the design tab and set your keyword as an H1 under advanced settings. Other website builder platforms should have similar options.
To give a more concrete example, Jessica Frey, who is one of our past clients, lists “Austin Luxury Wedding Photographer” as an H1 on one of her experience pages since that was the main keyword she wanted to rank for. We also wove other keywords throughout the page such as “Hill Country Wedding Photography” and “Full-Service Weddings near Austin, Texas” to ensure we were targeting a few other keywords her ideal clients would be searching for.
TLDR; The more times you can seamlessly fit your keywords into the headings and body paragraphs, the better your chances are for ranking for your target keywords.
- Use an SEO research tool like SEMrush or Ubersuggest
Our team uses SEMrush, which we highly recommend, but Ubersuggest is a great free alternative for conducting SEO research. The platform will show you what keywords you’re ranking for so you can adjust your SEO strategy as needed.
Pro-tip: When doing keyword research, think about how hard it will be to rank for a particular keyword. You want to try to rank for keywords that aren’t completely saturated, which means you’ll face a lot of competition and probably not make it to the first page of Google (and let’s be honest, no one goes past the first page).
However, you also don’t want to choose a keyword that is super niche or obscure that no one can find your business. It’s a delicate balance, but understanding exactly who you serve and what services you provide can help you choose that perfect keyword for your brand.
SEO Tip #3: Use your blog to rank for more niche keywords
Now that you’re strategically using your website to rank for the big keywords, you can target more niche keywords through blog posts.
Rolling with the Austing wedding photographer example, say you’ve covered all the popular keywords on your home page, about page, experience page, and portfolio page. But now, you want to rank for specific venues like Camp Lucy or Ma Maison. By writing a blog post about your favorite venues to shoot at, you can target these venues to reach the audience who is searching them or people who are simply looking for venue inspiration in the Austin area.
To do keyword research for blog posts, I recommend Yoast SEO for WordPress — it’s free and makes SEO for blog posts incredibly easy to navigate. Here’s a quick guide on how to use the Yoast SEO plugin with WordPress, as well as how to write a successful meta description and focus keyphrase.
Focus on useful, long-form blog posts
Before you start pulling your hair out thinking about adding another task to your already long marketing to-do list, let me relieve your stress by saying that you don’t have to blog every single week. Especially if you’re a wedding photographer, blogging even just once a month is good enough.
However, there’s a caveat: You want to write blog posts that are long, helpful, and content-rich. Short blog posts, by nature, don’t have much content and won’t help you with your SEO ranking. Google loves content, so make sure you’re feeding it a sufficient amount of words with information people would find useful — think 1,000 words or more of valuable content.
Minimize the number of photos you use for blog posts
This is a big pet-peeve of mine — don’t overload your blog posts with images. Photographers (understandably) are usually tempted to add a bunch of photos to their blog posts to sell their services. But adding 40+ images in a blog post slows down the page loading time, which affects the ranking of that blog page on Google. Not to mention, adding a bunch of photos can make the blog post hard to read and can overwhelm your readers. Stick mainly to words and only add a photo if it helps you explain the information you’re relaying.
How do I know if my SEO is working for me?
Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast answer. The easiest way to see if your SEO strategy is working for you is to add the question, “How did you hear about me?” on your contact forms or onboarding questionnaires. Other than that, it’s a matter of trial and error!
Now that you have a better understanding of SEO, it’s time to make tweaks to your website design that will help you book clients! Have you played around with your SEO strategy? Let us know in the comments how your SEO journey has been going!