If you’re starting on your own as a professional photographer, or even if you’ve been in business for some years now, you have to make sure that your marketing efforts are doing their best. That includes local SEO, which is a smaller part of your overall search engine optimization strategy. Granted, as a photographer, you may be more than willing to travel for work depending on the kind of photography that you do. For the sake of this guide, let’s assume you’re a local business trying to find new customers nearby.
Local SEO refers to the optimization of your online presence for a specific location or area. If you’re a photographer in Seattle, for example, you’d want to optimize your website and other online listings for the Seattle area, including suburbs, neighborhoods, the Sea-Tac region (Seattle-Tacoma), and more. By using local optimization, you will be able to build your credibility as a local business and get Google to recognize you so that you rank higher in search results.
Speaking of Google, the first thing that you’ll want to do to kickstart your local SEO is to claim your Google Business Profile. Formerly known as Google My Business, this directory listing page is what gets you listed with Google. When you do it right, it can boost your search results rankings and build your credibility as a business. Make sure that you fill out your profile completely and optimize where you can.
Use headlines and tags for keywords. Fill out all of the categories and make sure that you leave nothing unchecked here. A partial profile is almost as bad as not having one at all. Double-check your contact information, too, because that’s got to be perfect.
Speaking of perfect contact information, your next step will be to check all of your online listings for consistency. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. You need to pick a consistent format and stick with it in every single listing. One deviation could be a red flag to Google, even if it’s the difference between “Road” and “Rd.”—don’t do it.
As a photographer, you may have a business name or you may just use your name for the company. In either case, you also need to pick a consistent choice here so that you can be listed the same way everywhere. If your Facebook is Fred Flintstone Photography, you wouldn’t want your Google Business Profile to say Photography by Fred, for example. Look at your address, website URL, email address, phone number, and other contact details to make sure they match, as well.
Reviews mean a lot for local businesses and solopreneurs like photographers. If you are trying to build your online reputation and boost your local SEO, reviews and testimonials are going to be a great help. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that reviews are positive and that if there are any negative reviews or concerns, you address them as soon as possible so that people feel valued and appreciated.
It's impossible to avoid negative reviews. Everyone, eventually, will find a critic. It may even just be a bot or junk reviewer trying to promote their own brand, but it will happen. That’s why you need to stay updated on reviews and be ready to respond to any negative feedback.
Today, everyone’s searching from their mobile phones. More than half of all searches for local businesses happen on a smartphone device. Therefore, websites are being encouraged to develop a mobile-first approach to design. Make a website that’s easy to navigate, renders on any device, and that doesn’t include a lot of clutter that takes too long to load. Keep it light and agile and you’ll get a boost in rankings for that alone.
As much as it might seem like you can just start putting a city or location on other keywords and calling that your local SEO, there’s more to it. Those might end up being some of the keywords that you use, but you don’t know that until you take the time to do your research. You can use the same keyword research tools that you used for the rest of your optimization efforts, but you’ll want to input the local parameters of the search. Then, you’ll get all the right keywords so that you can start putting them in place.
As a photographer, there are a lot of opportunities for you to build your local network. You could link up with event and wedding planners, entertainment providers, schools (for senior portraits or class photos, etc.), and any other related business. Between sharing links and reviews, you’ll build each other up and help build your credibility at the same time.
The more connections that you have to other reputable businesses, the more reputable you will appear as a result. When you’re developing your networking strategy, make sure that you look at digital marketing and offline marketing, too, because local businesses need to stick together in every way possible these days.
Now that you’ve learned how to optimize your content for local SEO, you’ll have to be prepared for all the leads that will come from those efforts. That starts with the assistance of a 24/7 answering service so that you never miss a single opportunity. And, when you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, that also comes with services like appointment scheduling, lead intake, and live website chat.
If your business still needs some help with outreach and lead generation, ask about our support for outbound sales and outreach campaigns. And if you’re ready to learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out what our team can do for your photography business.