Our meeting was packed with useful SEO information that was easy to digest and implement.
Information from this meeting is going to be broken down into two parts. In Part 1, Mel covers some theory about search and information about ways to better optimize your site. In Part 2, Mel covers information about other strategies to improve SEO by incorporating other application resources and a few marketing strategies.
SEO can be a complicated and overwhelming topic to understand. For photographers, it is another skill to master, in addition to the on-going learning process of becoming better artists. Just with any form of technology, over time, changes are made to search algorithms which affect rankings for blogs or websites that showcase the work produced.
So many people have fallen in love with this craft that new sites and blogs pop up daily. Sites that are solely dedicated to photography and the personal journeys people embark. As Mel explained, a lot of these actions and needs fall back to some basic psychology concepts. Humans search to accommodate these needs in order to convert information into action, to educate ourselves for personal growth, to fulfill the need to connect with others, to experience something, and to help us develop and reinforce our sense of identity. We search to help find answers or solutions to questions like, “How does this information fit into my life?” And, to help us find interconnections, greater meaning, and inherent possibilities.
The boom of search began in the 1990s but search engines were not as advanced. One could search for “hot dog” and the results would yield a significant number of results with topics that barely relate to a “hot dog.” For example, “hot tea” or “dogs” to “puppies” would appear. Since then, the process has become more refined and advanced that people can find things that better align with their search topic.
Putting a lot of effort and time into websites and blogs will end up like an unrewarding activity when no measurable results can be tracked or measured. That is why it is important to build better signals with our SEO. These signals are important to search engines which rate on safety, performance, intent, and relevance. Photographers should be aware that their websites are monitored so they aren't distributing malware and to ensure that it is ‘authoritative'. Authoritative meaning, as a photography site or blog, “this is the type of content my visitors can expect to find”–this ties into the website's intent. The sites we publish should perform well where it is easy to navigate and that it loads quickly. Also, ensuring that your site is relevant means that you continually produce content that matches the visitor's search query and that it is a popular destination for those searching for you.
In order to build better signals, we first should visualize an iceberg. The “tip of the iceberg” is just the small portion we see while on a ship while the parts that we don't see are vast and significantly larger. The tip we see is equivalent to the URLs we see, your domain name, page titles, content and the keywords contained in the meta data portion of your site's HTML. The submerged parts of the iceberg is equivalent to user experience (mobile & computers), social media, internal and external links, sitemaps, redirects to webmaster tools.
Taking these things into consideration, the main outcome of SEO is to increase visibility with “organic” and “natural” search for targeted/relevant terms in order to promote a positive “customer” experience. On-site optimization is the process that ties together technical optimization (ability for search spiders to crawl/index your site quickly/efficiently) and content/on-page optimization (prominence of keywords, content placement, and site structure). Off-site SEO then ties into the package by ensuring trust and authority from inbound signals though incoming trusted links or social media from authoritative sources.
In order to do this, obstacles need to be removed. Eliminate irrelevant content and links that appear on your site and by improving site speed and performance. Add keywords that are relevant and unique to your website with tools such as Google's keyword planner. Ideal keywords are those with high volume, low competition, and yield a high value (high conversion rate/probability). Instead of using “photography” find a more unique keyword that pertains to your area of expertise, for example, “still life photography” which is a search term that is neither too broad or too vague.
Ensure that your site's pages are optimized by tying in your focus keywords into the page title, page URL, H1 tag (the large, bold title of your blog entry or website page), and by ensuring that those keywords appear in the meta description (or the first few lines of your intro paragraph).
About Our Speaker
Mel Kreitz moved to San Francisco in 2008 where he started his career as a marketing manager. He has worked with start-ups to large companies like Yahoo! He was, also, a part of the Siri team with Apple. Mel currently works with e-Storm International as their Senior SEO manager.
Mel's specialties include: Growth Hacking, Strategic Partnerships, SEO – Search Engine Optimization, Online Video Marketing, Analytics, Ad Copy & Content Writing, Landing Page Design and Optimization, Link Building Campaign, Viral Marketing, Social Media Optimization, Consulting, Teaching.
This blog was submitted by Celeste Wyrick, San Francisco Bay Area PAC chapter leader.
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