Fifty Shades of SEO – Part II
How Blogging Can Boost Your Business
By Eugene Feygin
*This article was originally published in 2015. The content has been so helpful to Zenfolio users that we have republished it!
SEO may not be the sexiest topic, but it’s crucial for a photographer today to know all about it. Why? Having SEO implemented will drive more traffic to your site so you can gain more clients and sell more. In the second installment of our SEO series, we talk about blogging and how it can benefit photographers. Read our Part 1 post on linking here.
Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 3: Keywords are Your Best Friend.
Why do I need to blog?
Many photographers I speak to dislike writing. However, they do not fully comprehend the potential that a blog has in their online marketing strategy. Blogging is the most common online marketing tool. A blog is used to create engaging content that your potential and existing customers may relate back to your photography. It’s also an easy way to add content to your site to help boost your search rankings.
What is engaging content?
This can be just about anything. Some common blog topics include: a written article, a video, amazing pictures that tell a story, etc. Keep in mind that the point of the blog is engagement. Engagement is defined as time spent by the visitor on the blog page, the number of clicks through the information, the number of likes the shared post gets on social media, whether the visitor scrolled down the page, etc. This type of engagement is measured by search engines and is used to determine your search engine rankings. In short, engaging content can directly benefit your search ranking.
How will a blog post help my rankings?
A blog post is a great way to show your current and new followers how your business is progressing and what you’re working on.
A typical example of a blog post with engaging content might be posting a photograph you shot during a recent wedding at a historical venue. Your post can include text about the day, photos, and even a video (hint: For an added SEO boost, provide a transcript for your video to help with adding additional text to the post). The blog post can then be leveraged as promotional marketing material for your business. The blog post will also be indexed by search engines, making your blog accessible to someone searching for photos of that historical venue for their own upcoming wedding. You can also share the post on social media where it may get likes and additional shares. This may result in new customers seeing the blog post and lead to greater brand awareness, which will more than likely translate to more bookings.
What guidelines should I keep in mind?
Ideally you should be writing at least 800-1500 words plus three to 10 original photos. You should also think about the keywords you utilize throughout the post and consider linking back to your site categories.
For example, if you have a portrait photography category on your site and your post is about photographing an artistic portrait, then consider linking some of the relevant phrases in the post back to a portrait photography gallery—this will add signals to search engines that the page is about portrait photography. This will also give your users an easy way to get to the relevant category on your site.
One big side note is to avoid using the same phrases over and over again as it can hurt the post’s SEO. Another tip is to sometimes link long phrases to create some variety in your search relevance. In essence, you are trying to tell Google that certain search phrases should return your website in the search results.
How often should I post?
This really depends on how much quality content you can produce. Ideally you should have posts scheduled on a consistent basis. It is much better to produce one to two articles a month that are engaging and insightful, rather than producing four to eight articles a month that simply showcase what you do with little to no engagement.
The point of a blog is not to show your work—that is what your website portfolio is for. The point of a blog is to engage with your target market and keep them engaged for as long as possible. This engagement will keep your business at the front of your followers’ minds. That way, you’re the first business they think of, whether they need your service now, a year down the line or if they need a service to refer to their friends.
One strategy is to prepare five blog posts and space them out when scheduling them to go live. You can schedule the posts to go live at different times of the day and days of the week. This helps to measure the level of interaction so you can select the best one for your audience’s engagement.
How do I get more readers to my blog?
Promoting your blog posts on strategic social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is crucial for getting the most out of every post you create. If you write an insightful post that can really impact your community, but you do not promote it, the chance that someone will engage with it is slim to none. You need to consider promoting these posts on all the marketing channels, and don’t forget about good old fashion email marketing!
Consider putting your first photo further down on the page so that when a viewer lands on that page they can still see the photo but it forces them to scroll down to see the rest. This engagement gets the readers’ attention and can be used to hook them as well as serve as a metric that you can utilize to increase your rankings (more engagement = higher rankings).
Think about the types of posts on social media you tend to click on the most and the types of titles they have. Use that information when writing your blog post titles as well as the excerpt information.
Don’t forget to also reach out to industry experts in your field and let them know about the post. Their followers may be interested in the content and their recommendation or Retweet could help with your rankings as well as bring in new customers.
Use your blog as a marketing tool that engages with your existing and potential customers on a consistent basis. Content that is relevant to your market audience will drive more engaged traffic to your site which will in turn boost your overall SEO and search ranking.
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Eugene Feygin is a Chicago-based SEO consultant with more than a decade of experience helping local photographers and small businesses around the country strategically utilize online marketing. He is also a fashion and corporate event photographer who produces high caliber work for event and production companies around the country. Check out his photography website as well as his SEO consulting website.