What SEO Services Do Photographers Need?

two women using a computer with a camera in front of them
Sabrina Dougall

Photography is an immensely competitive creative field, so there's a lot you need to do to stand out online.

Local SEO gets your studio listed in directories and map tools. Great content attracts users on your site. Technical SEO can help you win first place on Google search results.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the set of web techniques that pulls interested viewers to your photography website. It's the opposite of paid marketing, which is a push tactic that means you pay for adverts.

Want to get the best deal on SEO services for your photography business? Answer a few quick questions and we'll match you with the ideal supplier. We'll ask our trusted SEO partners to give you a call.

Benefits of SEO for Photographers

As with any small business, SEO aims to show off your website to more search engine users. But there are some specific benefits for photographers who are competing in an image conscious (bad pun, sorry) scene:

      1. A positive first impression

        The best part about SEO is you're making improvements that benefit your entire website as a whole. There's a dual benefit to SEO tactics: to please our robot overlords (Google, Bing, Baidu) and to give the humans what they came for.

        Imagine if every prospective client came to your website, felt impressed by your beautiful photography, then easily navigated to the contact page. Nice.

         

      2. Credibility among your peers

        Remember, it's not just your customers (or your mom) looking at your website. You've got to make a good impression on your colleagues. SEO is an investment in your long-term reputation.

         

      3. Stand out from the competition

        It's a crowded marketplace, so your website has to work hard to convince consumers to stay – 50% of visitors will look at just one page before leaving a website.

         

      4. Pull in more business

        SEO is a set of traffic cones gently guiding interested parties towards your website. People are six times more likely to convert to customers as a result of organic search than they are through paid advertising.

         

      5. Cross-sell product packages

        Once visitors land on your website, good SEO ensures pages are linked logically together. Sally-Beth may reach your website looking for a wedding photographer, and leave after buying online photography classes or in-person tutorials.

Why Do Photographers Need SEO?

If you're not carrying out SEO on your photography website, your competitors are. And they're going to take web visitors away from you.

Think about it. Imagine you need to hire a photographer. Unless you had a word-of-mouth recommendation, your first move would probably be to google “photographer for hire” or “Snyder County photographer” (or, insert your own regional location instead). You might even try “pet photographer”, “portrait photographer”, or “new baby photographer” in the hopes of finding an appealing portfolio.

To reach all those web users, a photographer needs: keyword research and on-page SEO. More on these later.

Let's say Google the results were too overwhelming. And scouring social media feels like looking for a needle in a haystack. Your next port of call may well be a general online directory such as Yelp or Foursquare, or a specialist directory like Photography Select. It's also common for potential customers to search map apps, too. These include Bing Places (alright, it's not that common), Google Maps, or Apple Maps.

Google search page result with red arrow pointing towards "people also ask" questions
Yelp results appear at the top of a Google search for "snyder county photographer".

Therefore, photographers also need local SEO. Let's look at that in more detail below.

Why is Local SEO Important for Photographers?

Local SEO is a distinct type of organic marketing that works in a different way from regular SEO. It's nothing to do with your business website, but instead it means getting your business details listed on directories and online map tools.

Photographers need local SEO to attract business from the surrounding area. After all, there's no point getting phone calls from Nebraska if you're based in Maine. After all, photographers are often solopreneurs with a car, and payment for the gig might not cover plane tickets.

map tool directory with three local photographers
Map tools, including those within social media, get your business noticed by locals.

Local SEO is absolutely vital for photographers. Why? Because you need to be there in person to make the magic happen. If your business is mainly digital services, such as e-learning, post-production or photo retouching, then it doesn't matter if your customers are down the road or Down Under. But for taking pictures, you want to keep travel time and costs to a minimum.

You should target your marketing to build your reputation in a specific area. This increases the likelihood of word-of-mouth recommendations. When I used to offer professional services as a dog walker, I used to get recognised in the dog park from my social media presence! If you're seen at local events, like town hall ceremonies, store openings, and local festivals, it's much easier to connect your digital marketing with your physical presence.

You can hand out business cards and leave posters across the neighborhood, but people are going to google you. And they expect to see a high-quality online presence when they do.

Get local photography customers with professional SEO services

Image Optimization and PageSpeed: Technical SEO for Photographers

There is no pain quite like waiting for a website to load. Page loading speed is so important – Google even ranks fast-loading websites higher for mobile searches as of 2018. If your website takes five seconds to load, the web visitor is 90% more likely to leave.

Of course your photography business website will be image-heavy and that's likely to increase load times. So what can you do? You'll need to strike a balance – and showcase your show-stopping artwork in browser-friendly file sizes.

You should aim to upload images in the smallest file size you can get away with. But you don't want it to look blurry or pixelated, so always check the preview before going live.

sharp image versus blurry image
Smaller images mean a quicker load time, but it's still got to look sharp.

There are dozens of on-page SEO tasks that can improve your website's load speed and performance. It gets quite complicated when we start talking about Google's core web vitals: Cumulative Layout Shift, Largest Contentful Paint, and First Input Delay.

I know it may sound like Greek, but unless you get these metrics where they need to be, your website won't attract the business enquiries your talent deserves.

Expert help is at hand: find a technical SEO to improve your website speed
“Compressing images to reduce file size but also maintaining quality is important, you generally want to aim for images that are below 500kb but of course some exceptions can be made.

Have the image title as something that's relevant for the image. Instead of, “AdobeStockImage204515bc” have, “Disneyland Entrance,” for example.

I believe in the future Google will release a small update targeting how accessible sites are. For that reason, you should make sure alt text is descriptive enough and not just one word.

Jonathan Dell'Agnolo
Jonathan Dell'Agnolo SEO Executive, Expert Market

Which SEO Services Are Important for Photographers?

You may be thinking, “Great, there's lots of this SEO I can get started on myself”. That attitude is helpful in the short term, but SEO is a long-term commitment of at least six months before you can expect to see meaningful ranking improvement.

If budget is a concern, you could consider hiring individual services. This can be helpful as you may have more disposable cash around wedding season but less in the quieter, winter months.

Here's the top SEO services photographers should hire:

  1. Local SEO: Get your business listed on map tools and online directories.
  2. Technical SEO: Improve page load speed, fix internal links, and create an image sitemap.
  3. Competitor analysis: Ensure your online presence goes above and beyond your business rivals.
  4. Link building: PR and content marketing encourages other websites to link to yours.
  5. Content writing: Create keyword-focused blog articles and landing pages that convince visitors to contact you.
“Steer away from companies offering blanket proposals – you need to know the agency understands your company's goals. You can't set a generic SEO package and expect that to meet a company's needs. You need to ensure the company can understand your business' audience, your specific industry landscape.”
Cameron Blair
Cameron Blair Head of SEO, Expert Market

If hiring five freelancers sounds like you'll be stretching yourself too thin, you can save time and effort by hiring one agency to take care of it all. We've researched the best all-round SEO services for photographers. Take a look in the next section.

Best SEO Companies for Photographers

We've taken a detailed look through marketing providers to work out which are the best SEO companies. We're confident in our recommendations because they're based on average customer scores across six trusted review platforms.

Here are our picks for the top SEO services for photographers:

Swipe right to see more
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Dritschler Media

SEO Image

SEOReseller

On The Map

5.0
4.8
4.7
4.5
Best For

Growing a small business

Best For

Reputation management

Best For

Monitoring metrics

Best For

Increasing sales

Price Range

$500-$1,000 per month

Price Range

On request

Price Range

$25-$399 per month

Price Range

Tracking platform $25-$99 per month

Other services on request

Honorable mention goes to Fuel Your Photos, an SEO educator for photographers that is rated five stars on Google reviews. Offering a self-led course for portrait and wedding photographers to learn SEO, it's an ideal option for folks with more time than money. It costs $499 for your first year, which is far cheaper than hiring Dritschler Media for one month. Its 25,000-strong Facebook peer training group is a big deal in the industry  and invaluable for beginners.

The above SEO providers are at the lower end of average industry pricing. In a creative industry like photography, it can be tough to keep turning a profit. With the solopreneur in mind, we're recommending cheaper organic search marketing here.

If you're interested in upping your budget and seeing how you can aggressively grow your reach, check out our feature on the best SEO companies for small business.

FAQs

What is SEO for photographers?
Photographers promoting their business online need to carry out certain regular tasks to gain visibility through search engines. If your website isn't set up properly, you won't get seen by Google users at all. There's a range of search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques that will boost the likelihood of users searching for local or wedding photography services visiting your website.

SEO for photographers involves checking your website loads quickly, regularly publishing useful content, and making sure the internal links work. Start by using SEO audit tools to get an overview of your site's health. Then you'll have a list of technical fixes you need to make. After this, you should carry out keyword research to guide a content strategy. From then on it's a case of monitoring your rankings and working to overcome any search engine penalties you may have.

How can I improve my website SEO for photography?
There's a lot of steps you can take to improve your website's rankings on search engines. The two main branches are: technical SEO and content strategy. In terms of backend work, you need to:

  • Discover if your webpages are crawled correctly by Google
  • Compress images to improve load speed
  • Redirect broken links
  • Set up the robots.txt file
  • Create a sitemap

After this, you need to publish high-quality content on your site. This should be informed by keyword research and competitor analysis. Your content needs to be well-structured under clear headings, as well as being useful and informative. Ensure that image files have alt text for accessibility, as well as a descriptive filename. Ensure that your website doesn't link to any spam or poor-quality websites and keep your security certificate up to date!

Can I do photography SEO by myself?
Yes, if you have the time and determination to educate yourself, you can achieve some success doing your own SEO. You should dedicate at least six hours a week to working on your website's SEO. This means you must set aside time to track metrics, do core web vitals health checks, fix broken links, update content, and carry out keyword research.

We'd recommend you follow Google's ranking updates and keep up with the latest SEO industry news. Major SEO updates occur every few months, so you need to stay in the know if you're going to handle your own website rankings.

You can also invest in a photography SEO education course, such as Fuel Your Photos ($499 for one year's access).

Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina Dougall Web Marketing Expert

Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master’s in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camen New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.