As a photographer, you how difficult it can be to get found online. Google is a competitive place and how well you rank makes a huge difference in how many potential clients the search engine sends your way.
But what if you aren’t being found at all. Maybe you are stuck all the way back on page 9 or even worse, you’re missing from search results altogether…
Here are 5 things to check for if you’re trying to understand why your photography website isn’t ranking.
1. Is the same content published on multiple pages?
Typically when you’re adding content to your site, you’re creating it from scratch, but in some cases you may be repurposing content or sharing content you’ve shared in the past.
While this can be a good strategy to save yourself time, you want to avoid copying and pasting content that you’ve already used on another page of your website.
Google will see those pages as competing for the same keywords and will likely only rank one. In some cases of extreme duplicate content, you may even be penalized.
In general, photographers don’t have to worry too much about this, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
2. Does each page have a unique title and meta description?
Optimize, optimize, optimize! Squarespace has a few tricks up their sleeve when it comes to the meta title and description. They make it so easy to customize!
Come up with a unique title for each and every page of your website. You can find the meta title by clicking the “gear” icon next to the page listed in your Squarespace dashboard.
Then customize your page title, and your meta description as shown in the screenshot below.
Keep your meta title to about 65 characters and your meta description to about 160-170 characters. Summarize the page content and what people might be searching for if you’d like them to end up there.
3. Do you know your search rankings?
The best way to improve your search rankings is to know where you stand to begin with. First go to google and search “site:yourwebsite.com.”
This brings up every page on your website that Google currently knows about, typically with the most popular or highest ranked pages at the top. Worried you aren’t ranking at all, this is a good way to know for sure. If you don’t show up here, there’s a big problem.
Next, open an incognito window (or turn on private browsing so you won’t be tracked) and try searching for some specific keywords related to your photography business and location. Do you show up on page 1? How about on one of the first 3 pages?
Take note of which keywords you rank for and what your position is. If you’re having trouble finding yourself or coming up with keywords to use, try…
type of photography you do + city + state
photography style + city + state
These are great places to start. If you aren’t showing up, be more specific. Look at your website and see which words you use to describe yourself and your business. If you don’t have any content on your homepage, that’s one issue you need to fix right away.
Now that you know your rankings, check back in a few days to see if they’ve changed. Compare your notes. After you’ve done this a few times you’ll know how accurate your rankings are.
Remember that search results are personalized and slight changes in ranking are expected. Even drastic changes can occur depending on what location you are searching from so don’t be discouraged if your rankings move around a lot. This is to be expected.
Once you have a pretty good idea of where you sit, keep an eye on any changes that happen overtime. Google is slow. Improvements to your website won’t affect your ranking instantly. Once you make changes to your site you can expect to see changes in 3-6 weeks.
4. Have you checked your page speed?
One of Google’s biggest ranking factors is page speed, especially now that more and more people are on their mobile phones on data instead of wifi.
Google wants to deliver the best possible experience to their users and that means ranking sites that load quickly higher than those that don’t.
If you’re using Squarespace, you likely already have a super speedy website. If you’re concerned, there are a few things you can do to speed up your site including cutting down page size and reducing the size of your images. There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of text on one page, just make sure you aren’t using 50+ photos and videos which can bog things down.
As for image size, resize your images before you upload. The max length of the long side of your image should be around 1500px. If it’s a full size background image you can go up to 2000px. No more uploading your 5000px images right out of Lightroom. At 1500px you won’t notice any major loss of quality or clarity. Save your larger image files for printing only.
5. Is your website mobile friendly?
If you’re using Squarespace this is an easy answer. All Squarespace sites are responsive and mobile friendly and that is exactly what Google wants to see. If you haven’t done so lately, load your website on your phone to get the full effect of what it’s like when a client lands on your site this way.
Is it easy to use the navigation? Can you quickly find your location and contact information?
These things are important to test any time you make design changes to your site.
Help! I’m still not ranking. What’s next?
If you’re still having trouble getting your photography business website to rank for specific keywords after following this guide, make sure to sign up for our free SEO checklist.