SEO Tips for Photographers

, Another rant from , 6 Comments

Photographer_DaylanDoesI am not a photographer. I don’t own an expensive camera, nor do I know much about aperture or depth of field or the difference between a Canon 5D and a Canon 1DX. But I do know that the photo’s I’m seeing people I know who do know about that stuff create are simply amazing!

There are some incredible photos that pop up on my various social network feeds almost daily and I am amazed at how people are able to make a photo of something look completely different or far more beautiful than I can see it with my own eyes.

In summary, I don’t know how to take great photos, but I do know search and SEO. I also think good photography kicks ass! And I love seeing people who have such incredible talents to create these photos get the exposure they deserve.

This post is for all those photographers out there who create amazing works of art but need a little help in how to make a dint in 1,000,000,000+ posts that exist in search engines about photography.

Get a website and build a blog!

Don’t be afraid that your site will just be another drop in the ocean and that nobody will want to read what it is you have to say. If you love what you do then you should talk about it. There is always an audience that is looking for advice, reviews, experiences, case studies or simply want to hear what you have to say about photography.

If you love the subject, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Be as nerdy or as high level as you find interesting. In fact, the nerdier and more technical you are, the more long-tail terms you are likely creating for your site. Long-tail photography terms are absolute gold when it comes to organic search.

Focus on specifics

It’s often the specifics that like-minded people will be searching for. Thinking that a post about the new APS-C CMOS sensor (and yes, I had to Google that) won’t appeal to anyone is silly. There are people on the Internet searching for information on that right this very second! Why shouldn’t your post be the article they get served up by Google?

Don’t be afraid to use big images

Thumbnails and tiny images provide no real benefit to your audience and completely under-sell your skills and the photo.

Using larger images increases the likelihood that people will appreciate and ultimately share your content across the web.
If people using your work without permission is a concern, then consider adding a watermark to your images featuring your URL. Having an image featuring your URL is a great indirect link-building technique too. 

Offer snippets that allow sharing of the photo

Include a html snippet for each photo that allows a user to copy the code and paste it directly into their site.

EG: Copy and paste this into your website to share this photo
<a href=””><img src=””></a>

By making sure the code includes a link wrapped around the image you are providing an option for other websites to use your photo without them needing to download and host your image, as well as scoring a link on their site.

Don’t forget the basics

It’s easy to overlook, but when creating a site to host your photos and content don’t forget the simple SEO elements that can enhance your sites authority.

ALT tags on images: use rich keywords that describe your photo. ALT tags compensate for when text cannot be used in a web asset (like images).

Titles: Use titles on pages that contain your images. Make the titles relevant to the post. Try to incorporate keywords too.

Page titles: Be sure you titles are relevant to the images or subject matter. Include your name or domain name too.

Meta Description : You have around 160 characters to provide a summary of why someone should care about this post. Think of your target audience and use terms and sentences that would make them want to click your link.

Sitemap.xml : Be sure you have an image site map uploaded. These tell search engines which images should be crawled and added to the index.

And also the not so basics

Schema mark-up, rich snippets and open graph protocol play a big part in how search results are displayed across social platforms and search engines. When building your site, be sure to include basic rich snippets such as the rel=”author” tag. This can get awfully nerdy very quickly, but luckily there are great plugins such as SEO for WordPress by Yoast that can do it for you.

Get social. Promote Yourself.

This is a no brainer really. Social Media is probably the greatest promotional tool for photographers ever created. Anyone can set up a Facebook or Twitter account and share photos, the trick however is to do is smart!

Facebook is the largest photo sharing platform on Earth. It offers some amazing groups where you can ask for advice and feedback on your work, find hints and tips and perhaps the most important aspect – network.

Photographers are utilising Google Plus more than any other industry out there in my opinion. It allows you to interact with some of the world’s best photographers and promote your work with a massive like-minded audience. G+ is the ultimate networking tool for photographers while also directly influencing search results.

Pinterest is a photographers social best friend. Photos are the most shared content on this platform. Simply offering users the ability to ‘Pin’ your photos to their Pinterest boards could generate more traffic to your site than any of the other social networks combined.


Who the hell is Daylan Pearce?

Daylan is a digital strategist for branding agency Principals. Looking after digital and customer experience projects, Daylan has been featured in The New York Times,, B&T, ProBlogger and more. He once ate 13 McDonald's cheeseburgers in under 5 minutes, but strongly advises against anyone else ever trying that. He also feels slightly odd when writing about himself in the third person for blog biography summaries.


6 Responses

  1. Steven Wright

    July 23, 2012 3:59 PM

    Hey – nice one. I did see this and thought, hmmm, who’s this for?

    For me, it’s about time, and more to the point, balancing it. The trouble I have is if I have a couple hours free, do I sharpen up some SEO elements (other performance), or head out and take photos. I reckon I could get some big wins from trying to optimise the site to load faster with more AJAX loading on request, rather than a ‘big bulky serve it all up’ (for example). More often than not, I find myself wanting to go take more shots, over improvement of the site.

    On the social side of things, that is generally the biggest traffic puller – be it commenting on blogs, sharing via Facebook / G+, but as time has gone on, I’ve found myself updating my site less and less, while having a more constant stream on G+, and Facebook. That said, I don’t think i’ve really jumped on the Pintrest bandwagon yet…

    One simple win is basic naming the files – I know it can be a pain, but that seems to be the biggest drawcard from Google Image Search.

    There are wins to be had, but a fair bit of it comes back to ‘how much does it matter’ based on my photography just being a hobby. If I wanted to step it up, there’s some mandatory tips i reckon you’ve nailed. No real excuses on sitemap – I should do that…

    I do like the idea of ‘copy this to include on your site’ – be interesting to see how effective it could be – i’ll let you know if I try it.

    • Daylan Pearce

      July 24, 2012 1:02 PM

      I get ya,
      Everyone would prefer to be doing the thing they love rather than the ‘paper-work’ side of it. For a lot of people SEO is considered one of those types of tasks.

      There are of course some quick, non-disruptive wins and check-box items that every photographer with a website can capitalise on to ensure their content is given a little love in search engines.

      PS: You were my muse not so much because you need to focus more on SEO, rather than you’re photos often kick some pretty serious ass and it’s good to see the quality content online like your stuff get acknowledged.

  2. Emma

    July 24, 2012 12:06 PM

    Great post, friend Daylan! I’m with Steve on this one, while I’ve whacked in the SEO plugins into WordPress, it really does come down to a matter of time. I’m actually finding myself relying less and less on an actual website, and more and more on my social networks.

    Facebook has been the biggest win for me to date. Especially for the type of photography I’m lugging my camera around to. Weddings, portraits – it’s an easy way of getting a referral and promoting my business because the client usually shares/tags – exposing my work to their family and friends.

    And it allows people to engage directly to me – many won’t send an email, but will leave a comment or ask me a question via Facebook.

    Pinterest works well for me – especially when I post wedding images as it is the place-to-be for brides-to-be. Having said that though, I can’t attribute anything to Pinterest as yet, mostly, it’s just a little bit of self promotion.

    I know it’s a need to do, but it’s still a hobby – one that gets severely neglected when my real actual job demands all my attention. Perhaps for us time poor hobbyists you could do a future post titled ‘If you could do one SEO thing to boost your photography business, it would be……’??

    • Daylan Pearce

      July 24, 2012 1:21 PM

      Cheers Em,

      I agree, social media is a photographers best friend but as far as putting together a well presented folio and one that isn’t essentially owned by a third party platform, there are still huge benefits in having a website.
      With targeted SEO, a photographer can enstil themselves as an authority for any number of high traffic terms.

      But, yeah, I agree. Get on board social media – particularly G+and FB.

  3. Scott

    August 1, 2012 6:15 AM

    Great tips Daylan. Photographers are often reactive when it comes to their websites, so we try our best to provide our community with articles like yours as a means to make them proactive. I hope to include this link in our next community email as I believe it is extremely useful for all photographers. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Daylan Pearce

      August 1, 2012 9:39 PM

      Thanks a lot Scott, glad you liked it. There’s so much more that can be done no doubt, but that would make for one veeeerrry long post. Thanks again.