Grab my free SEO guide for SmugMug sites after reading this interview!
SmugMug is the superhero of online photo sharing. And behind the mask is President and co-founder Chris MacAskill, whose small family business founded upon a love of photography has grown to 9 million monthly visitors and nearly a billion photos. But SmugMug is not stopping there. From the top down, these guys are constantly looking to improve their platform to be better for photographers. Chris found me a few months ago and we’ve been talking SEO ever since. I finally thought to capture some of that discussion here so that you can get his thoughts on search engine optimization.
What excites you about search engine optimization?
It’s exciting when photographers end up on page 1 of Google search results for terms like “Pittsburgh wedding photography” and get discovered by brides as a result.
Will SEO features become the competitive edge for a website company like yourself?
It already is. Photographers in the know ask about it before they sign up for SmugMug.
How important is SEO to your platform?
For many of our customers, it’s critical. Their business depends on being found via search engines. We changed our entire URL structure to meet their needs.
What are you hearing from photographers about SEO?
Awareness among them is exploding about SEO, and they want to know how it’s done on SmugMug and what external references they can find to become expert.
Do you have any advice for photographers just learning about SEO?
We field many questions about it daily and the first place we send them is our Search Engine Help Page on the topic. The help page gives an overview and then recommends your ebook as well as your blog post about some of our SEO features.
SEO is new for a lot of folks. When did search become big?
It was big in the 90s but somehow companies like Yahoo and Excite began to think it had become a commodity. I remember Larry Page trying to sell his search engine (Google) to Exite for $1 million, but Excite passed because, “Nobody cares about search anymore.”
When Google showed how good it could get, it became big again.
Are photographers more concerned with ranking their images or their businesses? Or do those go hand-in-hand?
Most of the photographers I interact with who become interested in SEO want their businesses to be found. Wedding photographers are good examples. But some are really focused on seeing their photos or videos go viral. We hosted Vincent LaForet’s amazing 5D MKII video for example, that went viral and got a jillion views.
Do you have any thoughts about how social media and mobile usage might change the SEO landscape for photographers?
SEO is even more important if you want to be found on the devices people are increasingly using for search: iPhones, Droids, etc., because there isn’t much screen real estate on them for browsing, or paging through search results.
What does the future hold for SmugMug?
We’re surprised at how SmugMug is being used for increasingly mission-critical things: Barack Obama’s senatorial campaign, weddings from top pros, hosting photos for major events. You’ll see a string of new features from us like packages and continual innovation in SEO to serve pros.
What do you think about my ebook?
We recommend it to all new SmugMug subscribers who want to know more about SEO than they can learn from our help page.
How We Help You Rank
You'll understand SEO.
- The Photographer's SEO Book is the industry standard reference guide for optimizing photography websites.
- The Virtual SEO Workshop is the same one we give to expensive in person seminars.
- Blog Zen SEO and 7 other ebooks and videos.
And get exposure, links, and contacts.
- We promote you from our sites, which means exposure and links.
- Because we promote you, we only work with established, talented photographers and photography-related businesses - those who deserve to rank. We decline membership for those who don't fit. That means you're in a community of equals.