SEO Posts

Five Do-It-Yourself SEO Improvements

This post is now hosted at my new SEO-only blog http://www.go-seo.tips. Clicking the headline will take you to the post.

Keyword Density, Prominence, and Proximity Explained

This post is now hosted at go-seo.tips. Clicking the headline will take you to the my new SEO-only new blog.

Think Outside the Box, Improve Clickthrough

A small chain of outdoor adventure clothing shops based in Ann Arbor, Michigan sends me emails from time to time since I am a regular customer. Today’s email was a holiday promotion but what caught my eye was a link titled, “Gifts for Ex-Lovers”.

Ex-Lovers

Like everyone, I have ex-lovers so my curiosity got me and I wanted to see what the gang at Moosejaw would suggest I give an ex. If you’re unfamiliar with the psyche of the company, one day this past summer, they were bored, took a hunk of bologna and a deli meat slicer up to the roof of their headquarters and whipped sliced bologna at passing cars and made a video of the fun! (click here, opens in new window). Suffice it to say, they’re an irreverent bunch… one reason for their success in their target demographic I’m sure.

I clicked the link and was sent to a page of the site containing 16 items that I guess they deemed appropriate for ex-lover, most of which I’d be grateful if an ex-lover sent me. A few stood out from the rest (and I’m keeping my comments to myself): a “Ruffwear Roamer Leash”, a “Black Diamond Pecker” (that’s it to the right), a “SOG Flash I Knife”, and a “Back Country Access B1 Shovel”. Hmmmmm.

In any case, I’m guessing that link in the email will get the most click-throughs of any. Think outside the box, be different, and be successful!

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Show Personal Work on Your Website

When designing a new website (or redesigning your existing one), one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is what to call your portfolio galleries and what to include in your images. Photographers are all over the map, some simply number their galleries: Gallery 1, Gallery 2, and so on. Some use more descriptive words: People, Places, Editorial, and Corporate. I’ve even seen gallery titles such as, Happy Faces, Beautiful, and Innocent. Clients I’ve asked prefer intuitive, descriptive gallery titles.

I think even more important than gallery names is that you include personal work. Years ago, before the web became the prominent method of showing one’s portfolio, a consultant suggested that in addition to one’s regular portfolio, a photographer should have a second, perhaps smaller, book of personal work.

Effective Anchor Text for SEO

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Use Only WordPress for Photog’s Website?

On one of the listserves I subscribe to, there was some discussion of whether or not anyone had seen WordPress used as a platform for a photography studio's entire site without it looking too "bloggish".  (Is there such a word?)

By far the most elegant implementation of WordPress for a photographer's website that I've seen is Susan Carr and her partner Gary Cialdella's site.   It does very well in search for the keyword phrases they target.

Another well done WordPress site that does well in search and doesn't look like a blog is Andrew Pogue's tasteful site.

A photographer's blog, implemented in WordPress, that does incredibly well in search is Mary DuPrie's "Photographing Models" blog.  It also helps her studio's main site rank well in search because each is hosted on a different server and her blog copy is written intelligently/correctly so as to to improve her search rankings for both sites.

Flash content is OK with workarounds such as browser client tests and at least some control over the content on your home page.  Few Flash-based sites give you full access to your home page's source code.  There is one Blue Domain (!) template that does so in a clever way, but I'm not sure they even realize it does.  Off-server landing pages can also help, but it's a slow road to page one using that tactic since the domain for such pages will likely be younger in age than the sites on Google's or Yahoo!'s first page.  Age of domain is becoming an increasingly important factor in search.

What do you think?  Have you seen an amazing implementation of WordPress by a photographer for their main site? 

Crucial for SEO: A Good Title Tag

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New Clients Don’t Search for You By Name

At the start of my web marketing presentation, I ask my audience, “How many of you come up on the first page of Yahoo! or Google? Then, in a room filled with about 100 people, about ten or so raise their hands.

Little do these ten know, I’m hoping to give the room a chuckle at one of these brave souls’ expense. I’ll ask one of them, “For what search phrase are you showing up on page one?” The answer I really want to hear is, “I’m number x when I search for my name.” And about 7 out of ten times, that’s the answer I hear. And it’s perfect, almost as if I had a set-up man planted in the audience, because my response is this:

“Unless you’re a superstar in your business, no one, except maybe your mom, searches for you by your name. You came to the right session, the information you’re about to hear can help you to improve your search engine ranking for your business… when someone searches for your business!

And the rest of the room laughs because they now understand the absurdity of being satisfied with page one results when searching for “Victor Shankapopolis” or what ever your name is. Instead, they likely search for these three items in varying order:

[your profession] [your specialty, if you have one] [your geographical region]

So, if you are a wedding photographer in Denver, your potential customers may search for Denver Wedding Photographer. If you’re a photographer in Detroit, your potential clients may search for simply Detroit Photographer. This is why, each and every time, when a new client calls me, I ask how they found me. It helps me to know what search phrase my clients are using and what phrase I should be optimizing my site for.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all is well if you are on the first page of the search engines when you search for just your name. Well, unless your name is Annie Leibovitz.