A-Z on How To: SEO (Dun, Dun, Dunnnn...)
Today’s topic is one that has been HIGHLY requested among the community, and I’m excited to dig into it further and make it something that we don’t fear anymore.
SEO is scary. It’s like when kids think a monster is under their bed. It’s that thing that makes us go “what do I do with my hands?!”
We know what it is, but not how to achieve it. We look it up to outsource, and it’s $1500/month. (yikes)
In our mind, it sucks. It’s that thing that sets us behind mentally because we think it’ll always be that pit in our business and we’ll never be good enough to get to Page 1.
That’s the goal right? Get to page 1, get to page 1. That’s what runs through our mind.
I’m here today to tell you that…...SEO is not hard. (you’re either cheering or rolling your eyes at that statement) BUT you need to know what to do, which apparently is some big ‘ol secret.
I still don’t understand why successful coaches, business owners, just hold everything in as if it’s all one big secret. Ya, we have to sell courses, etc etc but it’s not a huge secret. If you do enough research, you’ll find the ways to do SEO, but DANG it’s a lot of research. It’s a lot of little parts and piecing them altogether to get the whole formula.
So I’m going to put everything in 1 place for you today on HOW TO DO SEO. (cue the cheering) This entire episode is your checklist for your website and how to get it ranked for SEO. Grab your notepad because this episode is PACKED. We’re squeezing a lot in here for a podcast.
Okay, so the first thing we need to know before we start is what SEO stands for and how it works. Well, It stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the algorithm of Google that makes you pop up when someone searches whatever they’re looking for.
Your goal is to OPTIMIZE your website, your posts, so that you can climb to page 1 of Google and appear to those clients that are searching your business on Google (for example, LA wedding photographers).
Then we know how it goes from there, you get to Page 1, you get visitors to your website, you get clients, you become rich + famous, you buy a ferrari…..okay maybe not all of that, but that’s pretty much what PAGE 1 amounts to in our minds.
It’s the golden goose.
So now that we know what SEO is and how it affects our business, let’s go through HOW you get to the PAGE 1 wonderland.
You’ve probably seen tips on how to get your website up to page 1. But usually, it’s just like 5 tips. The trick is putting ALL the tricks together so that you can climb up onto that first page.
So let’s start with what you probably are somewhat familiar with - keywords.
Keywords are those things your clients are typing in Google to find you. “LA wedding photographers”
When you’re coming up with your keywords, you want to think - what would my client type in?
Make a list of 10 keywords that relate to your client. Now, let’s research them to see if they’re actually good keywords.
Google has a KEYWORD PLANNER, guys. They set it all out for you. You can type in your keywords and see how they rank. They’ll recommend other options to you. You can make a HUGE list (even including terms like wedding dress, if you’re a wedding photographer) to make sure that you register.
Keep those keywords close to you, and remember that looking them up on the keyword planner once in a while is a good thing. Keywords change rankings, so it’s not a one and done.
Now that you have your extensive list of keywords, you’re going to use them on your website - EVERYWHERE. But, and this is so so so important, you don’t want to STUFF your website full of keywords. Google actually deducts SEO points if you’re putting these keywords everywhere, in places that don’t really make sense.
Make sure your site is readable, flows well, but still has the keywords. Use them in your paragraphs, your blogs, your headlines. A headlines is a big one that people often forget.
You want to unify your website so that the whole thing ranks for those keywords, or different searches your clients are plugging into Google.
Now let’s talk about blogging for a second.
The EASIEST way to get SEO is by blogging BUTTTTTTT you have to do it right. If you just throw up words on your website with some images, it’s going to do nothing. It has to be what we call an SEO BLOG.
They need your keywords. They need them in your headlines, in your body, in your alt tags (we’ll get there in a second).
Per blog, you’re going to have a subject you’re writing on. Let’s say you have an engagement you’re blogging about. Maybe you have a faster way to unclog toilets - whatever your business is focused on.
Each blog has a subject - each blog talks about something different. You’re going to use each blog as an opportunity to highlight different keywords. All of your blogs shouldn’t have all the same keywords. Each blog needs to be a story and have different keywords.
Let’s say you had a Dallas engagement at the Blue Bonnet Field. Well, that’s a pretty epic, popular, and specific place. Advice taken from my friend Victoria from FollowMEAway (go look them up their photos are EPIC) - Google what you want to talk about. See what headlines are out there for those keywords. Then make a headline that is unique.
So you have your specific blog, unique title for your blog, and your keywords that are being really focused on in that blog. Now you need to write.
Just a heads up, this is where I’m going to SPIT some serious information at you. We’re going to go through the ENTIRE process of a perfect SEO blog.
SO, here are a few pointers to remember when you’re writing those SEO blogs.
Use your headlines. Your H1s (H1 is the biggest headline option, so the headline with the biggest font) only for your title. If you have a separate title space do NOT repeat the title in the text.
Use your H2s for your subtitles (H2 is the 2nd biggest text option for headline) - If you’re in squarespace or wordpress you’ll see the headline font size options under the font sizes - H1, 2, and 3.
Include your blog keywords in your headlines, as well as your body. Don’t forget to use those headlines.
Headlines need to be structuring your blog and making it easier for your readers to read. You don’t just want one huge blob of text.
Each paragraph you type should only be 2-4 shorter sentences. Avoid run-on sentences and make each paragraph short, as it’s easier to read short paragraphs than a huge blob of text.
Even though your text will be split up by short paragraphs, headlines, and photos - Make your blogs LONG but INTERESTING. Again, don’t keyword stuff. Make sure you’re writing a story.
Each post needs to be at leasttttt 300 words, but honestly the longer the better. If you’re really wanting results aim for 500-700 words. Victoria, whom I mentioned earlier, aims for 2000-4000 words per blog, but she is a blogger and her revenue streams 100% off her blog pages. If you want serious results and super high rankings for a long time, you can do this too.
My next tip is to backlink. This literally just means to link your other pages on your website, or dress designers, shoe makers, whoever. Let’s say you’re talking about the couple’s engagement, but you’re writing the wedding blog. You can link their engagement in your blog to make it connect to that blog. Backlinks show Google that you’re using your content, and others, and it helps boost you up.
Let’s say you are talking about the bride’s dress. Link that dress link - it’ll talk to that other website (who probably has amazing SEO if they’re a big company) and help you out.
Make photo alt tags. This one sounds scary but it’s super super easy, I promise. When you upload a photo, you’ll see a spot in the preferences on the photo (if you click on it and hit settings, or other, or options) that says META TAG or ALT TAG. These tags will show on the back-end if your photo doesn’t load. Let’s say someone visits your blog of the blue bonnet engagement but the pictures aren’t loading. Your ALT tag for a photo may say something like, “Jackie looks at Troy lovingly among the blue bonnet fields in Dallas”. That way, if the photo isn’t loading for some reason, they’ll still know what’s going on.
Now, when you get to the end of your blogs, you want to have your visitor do something else. You don’t want them to leave. Make sure there is a call to action at the end of the blog like signing up for a newsletter, linking to another blog, contacting you for your services, or buying a product you’re selling.
If you do all the things I listed above, that’s when the Green light pops up on Yoast in Wordpress.
I know I just loaded you with a TON of information, but these are all of the different items you need to be successful at SEO via blogging. Again, you’re going to use your keywords everywhere on your site, but you’re also going to make sure that you BLOG.
So why blog?
Blogging changes content on your site, by adding to it. Whenever you make changes to your site, especially including keywords, Google says, “Oh hey! They’re back! Let’s boost them up!”
Google likes consistency. It likes new content. It likes a LOT of content which is why you’re typing long blogs, not short ones with no info. Are your clients going to read your blogs? Some might, but to be honest, not many will sit there and read them. The blogs are for google. You’re trying to please Google’s needs of having new content up there.
So how many times should you blog? I always say at least 1 blog a week will help you actually make a difference on your website. Obviously, the more the better. Now, I think it’s a good time to point out that NOT ALL WEBSITES ARE THE SAME.
If you’ve been with me a while, and you’ve been through our live classes that we had last year, you’ll have heard this -
Some websites are portfolio websites. Some websites are SEO websites.
You’re obviously going to want the SEO websites. Now, also note that if your website has a tiny SEO section, it’s not necessarily an SEO website. Pic Time has SEO on it’s galleries, but it is 100% a portfolio website. It’s where clients go to see your work, and that’s it. Shootproof, Zenfolio - these are portfolio websites. (here comes the bad news train) If you’re on these portfolio sites you will never get SEO. They just aren’t built for it.
Your SEO websites are (write this down) WordPress, Squarespace, and ShowIt. That. Is. It.
Those platforms are the ONLY ones to be on if you want to be on the first page of Google. Now, Wix, I know is a hugeeee debate. But look at it like this - The Knot, Wedding Wire - these are the two big guys of advertising for weddings. Everyone knows them, they’re always on spots #1 and 2 on google searches. But there’s also smaller wedding advertising platforms like Vexpo. Wix is like Vexpo - it’s there but lower in searches, it’s good, but it’s just not the BEST.
So, which one is best for you? WordPress (there’s a .com and .org just a heads up - .org is more technical and meant more for coders) is complicated. You almost have to get a template to use it, unless you can code. But the SEO is #1. It’s also the cheapest option as I only pay $3/mo for hosting through Bluehost. (heads up, I have 1 wordpress site, and 3 squarespace websites right now between brands so I’ve tried both)
Squarespace is great because it’s super easy, and it ranks. I have been terrible about blogging the past few months, and I’m still getting 60% of my traffic straight from Google. They have templates that are all free, they have good SEO. It’s also only $16/mo on a monthly plan for a personal plan, which is all you’ll likely need.
Showit has recently blown up, and it’s a great platform if you’re feeling fancy. It’s the most expensive option, but it does use wordpress as the backend AND have drag and drop building. So, it’s pretty awesome. I did try this one as well, and it wasn’t for me. I actually thought it was TOO custom and took super long to put together, as it was very very detailed. I also didn’t like the pricing, as it starts at $29/mo for a basic WP blog on the monthly plan. BUT this is just my opinion - if you like it, please use it. It’s a wonderful platform.
The last thing I want to touch on is using your SEO on your site’s backend. For example, in Squarespace they have a SEO part to fill out. Your site’s title, your web image for your thumbnail, your description. You can also fill it out for each page. Make sure you use those tools they give you as they’re easy and right there for you. And once you’re done with your blogs, share them! Tell your friends, family, social media to go visit. Visitors also = SEO.
So now you know the sites, you know the tricks to getting an SEO blog and sprinkling a little bit of SEO tricks throughout your website too. We covered a LOT, so I urge you to go back and just pause and write down as you go through the method I presented above. All of those items together + consistency = SEO. Again the list above is on my website at www.nicolebruce.co.
So that’s it! You’re going to go kick some booty now that you have these things and are hopefully saying “hey that’s not that hard!”
If you want to stay on top of our weekly episodes releasing, feel free to join our group Profitable Photographers: Marketing, SEO, Websites, + Intro to Business. We’ll be releasing our first (affordable) masterminds for email psychology and how to not get ghosted, everything you’ll ever need to know about pricing, and getting legal in business from permits to licensing etc - and guys, these are intensely put together. I put every detail I know in these, so they have a TON of info.
We’ll also be gearing up for our business workshop in Nashville soon (soooo excited!) which is planned for this Fall.
Andddd I just want to sincerely thank every one of you listening right now. It’s such a joy to put my knowledge into these episodes and have listeners.
If you have any questions or what you want to see on the next episode, join that group and chime in!
Talk to you guys next week!