The internet provides a perfect vehicle for photographers to market their businesses. Through websites, blogs, and social media sites, photographers can easily show their work to the world. The internet offers marketing opportunities that will have your ideal customers calling you. To take advantage of these marketing opportunities is simple. Before your customer can find you, search engines (e.g. Google) have to find you first.
Learn to speak Google to get to the top of search results. Well, you don’t have to learn to speak Google, but your website does. Certainly by now, you have “Googled” something. You typed some search keywords into Google’s search box. Then Google returned a listing of websites, blogs, and social network sites that were relevant to your search with the most important results listed first. Google can only return your website in the search results if it understands your content. And the only way Google can understand your content is if your website speaks Google.
The Internet is a Visual Medium, but Text is King
Like the internet, most photographers websites are visual. However, in Google’s eyes, text is king. Google and the other search engines understand text much better than images. Furthermore, the search engines expect web pages to contain a certain amount of text and for it to be in specific places on the page.
Many Photographer Websites Break All The Rules
Take a look at your site. Does each page have 250 to 500 words of text? Are there pages with no text at all? Does each page have a unique title? Is each page optimized for keywords? Is there a clear call to action? Where does your site show up in Google search results? Unfortunately, most photographers have the wrong answers to these questions.
Is Your Site Too Flashy?
Things get slightly technical here. Flash is a website design tool originally intended for small pieces of animation on websites. Over time it became powerful enough to use for complete website design. Because of its animation capabilities it is one of the best tools for building image galleries and slide-shows. Put complete website design capability together with photographers need for image galleries and slide-shows and you end up with photographer websites designed totally in Flash. While that in itself is not a bad thing, it is a very bad thing for being found through search on the internet because Google and other search engines do not communicate with Flash sites very well.
Flash has its Place
Flash is a very powerful program. Again, it is one of the best tools for displaying images and slide-shows. To use Flash effectively requires that its use is integrated into your website in a way that Google can understand. This is accomplished by developing a Google friendly page and putting the Flash component inside the page.
Top 10 List for Getting Your Photography Website Discovered
What do you do now? Take a look at the following top ten list. While by no means complete and exhaustive, it contains basic guidelines for getting higher search engine results.
1. Website design should meet web standards with Flash integrated into the pages
2. Each page should contain 250 to 500 words of text.
3. Each page should be uniquely titled
4. Each page should be include keyword in headers and sub-headers
5. Each page should be optimized for different keywords
6. Content should be updated on a frequent basis (Blogging is one of the best ways to do this.)
7. Your website should be submitted to local search directories at Google, Yahoo, bing, Yelp and others.
8. Your website should include high quality links from other sites.
9. Each page should provide a call-to-action
10. The website should be interactive and invite visitors to click through to other pages.
Make Sure Your Investment is Doing the Job
Your website is the cornerstone of your internet presence and represents a significant investment. With today’s economic environment it is more important than ever to get the best return on your advertising dollars. The internet offers a chance to maximize your return because you can target your marketing efforts towards your ideal clients. Make sure that your customers and potential new customers can find you when they need you most by making sure that Google can find you.
Wayne Ergle is the owner of onclickConnect which provides Web Design, Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing services to small businesses. He can be reached at 678-360-7938 or online at http://www.onclickconnect.com