Blogs Posts

Keyword Density, Prominence, and Proximity Explained

Written by search engine optimization consultant Blake J. Discher.

keywordWhen writing body copy for your website’s home page, it’s important to keep three things in mind. By now most anyone who is working on optimizing their website for Google and the other search engines knows that excessive placement of the keyword phrases for which they are optimizing can hurt their ranking in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

That’s known as keyword stuffing or keyword spamming.

Keyword Density

Put simply, keyword density is the ratio (or percentage) of the number of times your keyword appears on the page of your article, versus the number of words on the page. For example, if your home page has 500 words of body copy and your keyword phrase appears 5 times, your keyword density is one-percent. No one knows for sure what the search engines consider ideal — the number changes with every algorithm update — but conservatively, two to four-percent is probably in the correct range. I wouldn’t exceed six or seven-percent under any circumstances.

Keyword Prominence

Keyword prominence refers to how prominent your keywords are within key elements of your web page. Specifically, how close to the beginning of the page’s TITLE tag, heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.), and meta DESCRIPTION, your keyword phrase is placed. You should always put your most important keyword phrase at the very beginning of your TITLE, DESCRIPTION, and H1 and H2 tags. Also try to begin your first and last sentences of body copy with the important keyword phrases.

Still Intoxicated?

in•tox•i•cat•ed [in-tok-si-key-tid] adjective: mentally or emotionally exhilarated.

Friends often ask, “What was it that got you interested in photography?” My answer refers back to the first time I saw a silver print appear in the developer during my eighth grade photography class. I was “intoxicated” by photography from that point on. And I still am.

That said, I’m bothered that I haven’t worked on any personal projects in many years. With 365-projects all the rage, I just might start that picture-a-day project. There are plenty of good free blogging-platform templates from which to choose to showcase one’s work and you could even utilize Instagram or Tumblr if you’d like to work with a mobile phone.

What does this have to with web marketing? The answer is that both your existing clients and potential clients will enjoy looking at your personal work. My website tracking data shows that the “Personal” category is second in clicks only to the “Corporate” category on my Firefly Studios site.

I think people have a real curiosity about what we photograph when we’re not being paid to photograph. While I was in China last month my good friend Peter Krogh turned me on to panos and time-lapse using the Nikon D800, so that’s what I’m going to concentrate on over the summer.

So get started with me as deepen my intoxication with photography. There’s no time like now to begin!

Effective Achor Text for SEO

Written by search engine optimization consultant Blake J. Discher.

anchor

Anchor text is the actual human readable text of any link on a web page. We’ve all seen the worst example of effective anchor text, the clickable Click Here. A link that simply reads “Click Here” tells the reader (and more importantly, a search engine) nothing about what that link is about.

Instead, you should attempt to have any link to your website “read” what that specific page is about. This is referred to as “relevant anchor text”. In other words, if you are a wedding photographer in Houston, perhaps you should strive to have any incoming links to your site read, Houston Wedding Photographer. This tells the search engine that the destination of that link will contain information about a Houston Wedding Photographer.

When you undertake a link exchange campaign, your incoming link’s anchor text ideally should be the keyword phrase for which you are optimizing your home page or another page on your site.

      Your keyword phrase is the phrase that you suspect buyers would enter into a search engine to find a photographer that offers the type of photography you provide. According to my research, the most common syntax used by a searcher seeking a photographer is in the form:

[location] [specialty] [“photographer” or “photographers”]

    (With the plural generally having more occurrences.)

If I’ve negotiated a credit line for any of my images appearing on my client’s website, I always specify the credit read Detroit Photographer Blake Discher with that text being the link back to my site. In fact, I just made that example a link to my homepage.

Detroit headshot photographer Mary DuPrie (I did it again, the words Detroit headshot photographer are a link to Mary’s site) helps out her makeup artist Tammy Pore from time to time with a link in her blog to Tammy’s webpage. Because Tammy’s site is entirely made with Flash, incoming links play a critical role in Tammy’s SEO efforts. A screen grab of Mary’s blog post is below.

Exaple of anchor text in a blog post

(Tammy optimizes her site for the phrase “Michigan Makeup Artist” and Mary’s link will help Tammy in her SEO rankings.)

Photo by Svadilfari licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Great Blogs That Will Help You Sell

Repeating my mantra “photographers are salespeople first, image creators second”, I thought I’d share two of my favorite blogs on the topic of sales.

The first, written by S. Anthony Iannarino of Columbus, Ohio, offers straightforward suggestions and tips to help you with just about every aspect of the sales process including cold calling to closing to asking for referrals. Check it out at www.thesalesblog.com.

Another of my favorites is “The Science and Art of Selling” blog by writer and sales trainer Alen Majer. I like his blog because most of his posts are quick tips that can help to get you back on track after you’ve just lost that job you were trying hard to get. Here’s a guy who’s latest book is titled, “Selling Is Better Than Sex”. I mean, this guy takes sales very seriously!

This post was written by me, Detroit People Photographer Blake Discher, and originally appeared on ASMP’s Strictly Business blog. Illustration by Mister Kha, licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Let Me Practice on Your Big Day

Many, many readers have read and commented either here on Groozi or privately to me about the post “Score This: Photog 1, Cheapskate 0″. We’ve all shared a good chuckle, perhaps to conceal our nervousness about the state of our industry. But any professional photographer will tell you that their business is being eroded as a result of inexpensive digital cameras that take amazingly good pictures and a growing attitude that, “those pictures are good enough.” Amateurization and crowdsourcing have combined to create an entire body of photography that can be had for a song, primarily because the creators of these images don’t realize the value of the images they have created.

Photographer and author John Harrington wrote a blog post titled, “The REAL New Frugality – TIME [Magazine] Style” in which he talks about how an amateur photographer left about $2,700 on the table by selling a photo he took to TIME for its cover for $30!

Buyers of photography are becoming accustomed to the dropping prices for images. After being asked to use one of his iconic images in exchange for a credit line, Chicago photographer Joe Pobereskin recently blogged, “Do you ever wonder what a photo credit tastes like? How about this: do you ever wonder how many miles per photo credit (MPCs) your car gets? I do.” Read entire post. And even Seth Godin, today blogged, “The reality of digital content (lose the cookie, lose the fortune?)” in which he ponders the economic futures of photographers and writers in this digital age.

Katrin Eismann, chairwoman of the Masters in Digital Photography program at the School of Visual Arts in New York said in a New York Times article, “Can an amateur take a picture as good as a professional? Sure,” Ms. Eismann said. “Can they do it on demand? Can they do it again? Can they do it over and over? Can they do it when a scene isn’t that interesting?” And that, I think, pretty much is what separates the pros from the amateurs.

But no doubt, professional photography is changing. The cost of entry to the industry has dropped dramatically forcing pros to seek out ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors lest the product they produce becomes comoditized. They must ask themselves, “What value do I bring to the client that my competitors do not?” and then talk it up during that initial phone conversation when the prospective client calls.

Gallery owner and photography educator Thomas Werner recently brought this to my attention: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art held a symposium to which examined the current state of photography. They posed a question to the 13 invited participants to the symposium’s central question: “Is photography over?” It’s fascinating reading.

Richard Anderson, photographer, digital standards expert and the driving force behind dpBestflow, was interviewed by Ethan Salwen for the “AfterCapture On Photography” blog recently. The post was titled, “It’s About Professionalism, Stupid” and is a good read.

Mr. Salwen closes with: “I agree with Anderson that this is the most exciting time in the history of photography. How one does or doesn’t make money in this golden age of photography will continue to be a challenge. But whether or not is focused on making money from photography, thoughtful photographers trying to make great images must continue to take advantage of evolving technologies. This requires addressing the craft of photography with professionalism.”

I thought I’d close this entry with something Barrie Spence brought to my attention in a comment to that “Score This…” post. This is an ad that appeared on Scotland’s Gumtree, which as far as I can tell, is sort of like the USA’s Craigslist. It too might elicit that same nervous laugh…

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You Comment and I Follow

Written by search engine optimization consultant Blake J. Discher.

You Comment I FollowMost SEO experts agree on at least one thing: incoming links to your web pagees are very important when it comes to determining where your page will appear in the search engine listings. An impediment to getting these valuable links is that, by default, most blog platforms are set up so that a “Do Not Enter” sign is added wherever a link appears in a comment. This means that search engines will not “count” the link as they are crawling the internet. In geek-speak this is known as a “no-follow”, originally designed to help stop comment spam. With today’s ease of comment moderation by blog owners it’s really not needed. In fact, what it actually does is remove some of the incentive for your readers to contribute the blogging community by commenting on your posts.

What can be done about this? Do what I’ve done, I’ve turned off “no-follow” because I appreciate my reader’s comments. How? It’s easy. If you use WordPress, use this plugin. If you use Blogger for your blogging, then read this instructional post on how to modify your template.

So if you’d like, please feel free to comment and include a link to your site. We’ll both benefit; you’ll have an incoming link to your site and I’ll have an engaged readership!

SEO Friendly Blog Post Titles

There was a recent post in one of the professional-photographer-type forums by Nashville shooter David Bean about “behind the scenes video” that a lot of photographers are starting to feature on their websites. He provided a link, http://blog.visualreserve.com/?p=256, which from an SEO standpoint is not very useful. That’s the default URL structure for WordPress permalinks, which is what the permanent URL for your bog posts are called.

(In case you’re wondering, yes, I called David to ask if I could use his post as an example and he said “absolutely.”)

The part of the URL “?p=256″ contains no keywords and therefore can cause indexing problems for search engines. In fact, even WordPress refers to these as “Ugly Links!” The easiest way to correct this problem in WordPress is to go into “Settings”, then “Permalinks”, and select “Day and Name” which would give you something like:

http://yoursite.com/2010/02/19/sample-post-title/

That gives you the date of the post, then a “/”, then a hyphenated version of the title of your post. This is much more SEO-friendly than the default permalink. WordPress refers to these types of links as “Almost Pretty.”

But the best solution is to have WordPress generate what it refers to as “Pretty Links.” Do this by selecting “Custom Structure” under the “Common Settings” choices. WordPress utilizes pre-defined references to various post data so that you can construct your URLs any way that suits you. I’d suggest a structure that give you links that include the category name followed by the post title. So your URL might look like:

http://yoursite.com/negotiating/learning-to-say-no/

This structure contains relevant keywords for a blog discussing “negotiating” such as the one you are reading, and could help to improve search engine placement for the post. To change you structure to produce links like that I’ve described, add the following code in the “Custom Structure” box:

/%category%/%postname%/

To see a complete list of the post data reference codes and read a bit more about this, visit the official WordPress information page covering this topic.

Good luck!