4 SEO Mistakes Photographers Make

January 22nd, 2018
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Are you wanting to attract new visitors and clients to your website? It can be tough to navigate the world of search engine optimization (SEO), but we’re here to help. Here, we cover the four SEO mistakes that photographers make so that you can avoid them.

1. Relying Solely on Images

While it’s important to have Search turned on for your images to help ensure they show up in Google Image search, it’s just as important to add text to your pages. Search engines like Google and Bring prioritize text—the more text they have to crawl and cache, the better your site tends to do in rankings for their preferred keywords.

Be sure to add metadata information like titles, descriptions, keywords and alt text. Be as descriptive about each of your images as you can. Read our help guide to learn more about updating your photo and gallery details.

In order for information like the titles, descriptions and keywords to get catalogued by search engines, you need to make sure your gallery and photo pages are set to display this information publicly. If the text is hidden, then it will not be visible to search engines.

If you do not want to make any text visible, we recommend at least providing information in the Alt Text box. This will not be visible to your visitors but can be read by screen readers (assistive programs for the visually impaired) and search engines.

2. Not Using Unique Keywords and Phrases

When adding text and keywords to your site, don’t use common phrases like “Wedding Photography” or “Landscape Photographer,” otherwise you’ll be competing against many larger, established brands.

Instead, choose a less common search term that is more specific to your photography business like “Denver Wedding Photographer” or “Santa Cruz Landscape Photographer.” Focusing on phrases that include your specialty as well as your region can boost your chances of being found in searches.

For example, most prospective wedding clients are not going to type “Wedding Photographers” but rather are more likely to type “[X Area] Wedding Photographers” or “Wedding Photographers in [X Area]” to filter their results. A client in England most likely isn’t going to want to see results for photographers in Canada. Select keywords that the clients you’re trying to attract are most likely to use in their search.

There are a LOT of SEO tools on the web these days. If you still need additional guidance on how to form an SEO strategy based on specific keywords, we recommend talking with a SEO consultant or service for more assistance.

3. Not Regularly Producing Content

Sites that are constantly producing content tend to rank higher, so the more content you add (such as images, videos and blog posts) the more available information Google has to crawl. One of the best ways to keep your site updated is by blogging. This is a great way to share your images as well as add additional text.

Blogs can be especially great for studio photographers, who may be adding a lot of images to their site but keeping them restricted to just clients. In addition to updating your public portfolio, a blog is one way to highlight recent shoots that can be shared publicly.

Another advantage of having a blog is that it can showcase your specialty and professional knowledge. Need help getting started with a blog? Here are some resources on getting your blog set up and creating your first blog post:

• How to blog—creating a new blog post in Zenfolio

• Configuring your Blog Presentation (guide for Zenfolio Classic subscribers)

We also recommend checking out our post on the Best Blog Tips & Practices.

4. Not Marketing Your Work

Using the SEO tools provided by Zenfolio is a great way to maximize your search engine rankings, but it does not catapult your site straight to the top overnight. You also need to market your work.

Here are some recommendations on how to market your site and increase traffic flow to your site.

  • Get Listed. If you’re a studio or an event photographer, it have your website (or company) included in listings like, Yelp, Wedding Wire, etc.
  • Be Social. It’s important to get your name out there, and one of the best ways to do this is through social media. Share your work on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, 500px, PetaPixel, LinkedIn, etc. Also, be sure to link back to your social media sites on your Zenfolio account.
  • Enable Sharing. Allowing visitors or clients to share your photos and blog posts by enabling the Share button on your site can help get your name out there. The more people who share your site on social media the more referral traffic there is back to your site. If you’re concerned about protecting your artwork, consider adding watermarks to your photos.
  • Be Enticing. Give people an incentive to visit your site! Sales, coupons, contests and raffles are fantastic tools to draw people into your site. You can also send out gallery invites and marketing emails to help market your site and keep people up to date on the latest. Our video on Advertising for the Holidays provides helpful suggestions and resources on how to communicate sales on your site using banners and coupons.

Effective SEO can really boost your business. By following this advice on what to do and what not to do, you’ll be taking the right steps to draw more people to your site.


  • Taylor M

    Taylor, a native of Silicon Valley, is a Sr. Technical Support Specialist at Zenfolio. She has a BFA in photography and graphic design. Her passions are photography, running, and exploring the great outdoors.

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