SEO Photography website reviews are an activity I do often during coaching and training calls. I’ll be reviewing some sites publicly next week at the San Francisco SmugMug user group as well as a part of an SEO panel that includes Google.
It only takes a couple minutes to assess some of the top factors that search engines look at in order to rank a website well. Here’s 10 basic items easy to assess for any website.
1. Page Titles
Do the page titles focus on one key phrase per page, starting with a broad phrase for the homepage and niche phrases for the subpages and blog posts? Since only one page from your site will rank for any given phrase, I make sure you’re not using the same phrase in multiple titles (like – New York wedding photographer in every blog post).
2. Page Meta Descriptions
Page descriptions appear in search results and make the user want to click your link among the tons of search results. Does the meta description use the business name, have a call to action (like “View great photos now”) and give info about the niche and locations served?
How difficult will it be to rank given the competition for the major key phrase? I use a backlink checker or Traffic Travis to see how many links the website has and compare that to the number of links by the top couple of ranked sites. If you’re site has 10 links and the #3 site has 100 links, either you have a lot of link building to do or you need to focus on a smaller and less competitive key phrase.
4. Alternate text
Are the images using alternate text to help Google understand what they are about? I check to see if the alternate texts are a single sentence that describes the image, but also use quality keywords and adjectives where possible. On subpages and blog posts, focus on niche keywords rather than broad ones that would only help your rank.
5. Conversion Tactics
If a user finds a page in a search engine, you have one chance form that page to get him to contact/hire you. You can’t rely on the user to click through to your homepage, gallery, or other page. That means every page that could potentially rank in search needs to sell the user on your services and get them to convert (contact you). I suggest including contact information, a short bio, testimonial, and related information (“You may also like…”) in your most popular search pages.
6. Homepage Text
The homepage or splash page needs 300+ words so that Google knows it is legitimate. Think about it, if you are a searcher would you prfer to visit a page with only images, or a page with images and text that explain what you’re looking for? In addition to keyword-rich text it is important to link to your most important search pages (i.e. your top 5 blog posts) to pass as much SEO credit as possible to them from your homepage.
Does the site take advantage of the #2 most important place for keywords? URLs of the pages, blog posts, and even image filenames need quality keywords while excluding “stop” words that Google ignores like “and” or “the”.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but takes a look at some factors you can assess on your website, blog, and images to identify room for SEO growth.
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