Photographer, Designer, SEOer: Scott Wyden Kivowitz

Scott WydenI met Scott because he was one of the first to pickup my ebook a couple years ago and is a prevalent commenter and social media user. I was interested to see what he is doing in the SEO space.

His New Jersey graphic design company has evolved into an all in one professional shop with landscape and commercial/fashion portrait photography at its hub. His photography work can be seen in newspapers, magazines and ad agencies throughout the North East US.

The photographer SEO interview series gives insight to individual photographer experiences with implementing search engine optimization. I find it insightful and helpful to learn from their growth and mistakes.

Is your whole site built on a blog? How is that working for you?

Scott: My entire site and other sites I have created are built on WordPress not only because of its natural ability to attract search engines but also because of its ease of use to add and edit content. Once a design is completed for a WordPress website, the hard part is out of the way. The rest is simple clicks and WYSIWYG style composing if desired. There are a few websites I currently run that use the Posterous blogging platform. I did this because of how they are being used and that I am not concerned about backend functionality and SEO. A good example of this is my cell phone photo blog and also HDRPhotog.com.

Zach: My 3 sites are all completely WordPress as well. Quick, easy, affordable, and structured perfectly so that Google can read them. I think you will see more and more photographers make this jump to an all blog site as users find posts in search, read just one post, and make a purchasing decision without ever going to the photogs main site or Flash gallery (hidden to search).

WYSIWYG = what you see is what you get, where you can click an icon to bold something instead of coding it.

What are your favorite WordPress themes?

Scott: My favorite WordPress theme is WooThemes Canvas because of its flexibility and support from WooThemes. WooThemes keeps on top of customer complaints and suggestions. They are very quick to enhance a theme, fix a bug or help a customer out. Canvas also has built in SEO features like meta titles, descriptions and keywords. Scribe SEO is also supported for use with the built in SEO functions.

Before Canvas I was using the Thesis theme which is very similar. Thesis has its advantages over Canvas but my reason for switching goes beyond functionality.

I am also a big fan and affiliate of Theme Forest themes as well.

Zach: I run on Thesis for one site and Templatic for my blog seo site and am affiliates for both. I wrote a post about Recommended Photography Blog WordPress Themes.

What are your favorite WordPress plugins?

Scott: Before using a WordPress theme with built in SEO I was using All In One SEO. The plugin allows for SEO meta data to be automatically generated for each post or page.

Now with Canvas (and even Thesis) the SEO functions are built-in as is support for Scribe SEO. With Scribe SEO I have the ability to research better keywords for each post or page. Doing this without leaving my website saves a lot of time.

Zach: Yep. I love Scribe, who I am an affiliate for. I use it to measure the keyword usage of my posts. I don’t recommend auto generation of anything, but the All in One SEO Pack does give you control over your titles and descriptions which can be helpful in ranking, then getting your link clicked. I wrote a post on 8 SEO Plugins for WordPress Photoblogs.

I’ve seen your guest posts on Seshu’s photography interview site. Is that an SEO strategy?

Scott: I try to write guest posts on websites I enjoy and believe it. While writing a guest post, it is wise to include links back to your own website because “if you link it they will come”. People love to click. I can almost guarantee that the link I included above when I said “Thesis has its advantages over Canvas but my reason for switching goes beyond functionality.” will receive a bunch of hits form the guest post.

Has Flickr helped your SEO?

Scott: I had a bad experience with Flickr just over a year ago. After I had photos used without my permission I removed thousands of photos from my account. Since then I made sure that all of my Flickr uploads were no more than 1000px at its longest and always watermarked.

With that said, I don’t use Flickr as a marketing tool. I use it as a basic photo sharing site and a way to communicate and meet other photographers. Flickr is less than 5% of my incoming traffic because of this.

How are you doing SEO for your Flickr images?

Scott: On Flickr I include tags as I would in Lightroom. Tree, Green, Sky, etc.. For descriptions I include my copyright and links to my website and social media sites.

How has long-tail SEO helped you?

Scott: I do find myself ranking for random keywords that make no sense to what I’ve written about. A good example of this is “awesome backgrounds”. However if you search for “terminal locked comcast” I am number two because of when I wrote about my experience with Comcast.

Zach: That shows how photographers can take advantage of long phrases to get traffic. I like to see occasional posts that are not all about recent photo shoots. A post on How to Take a Great California Beach Photo might draw in some potential search traffic or get picked up by other sources that reference your article with a backlink.

What do you do to track your SEO?

I check Woopra & Google Analytics daily and Google Webmaster Tools monthly. Every once in a while I will do a random search as well just for fun.

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