If you’ve spent any time researching the best ways to do business online, then you’ve undoubtedly come across countless sites touting the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Is SEO Important For Photographers?
The thing you need to know about photographer SEO is that it is important to the growth of your business, but not in the way that you think. Often when people think of SEO they think of using certain terms (called keywords) on their website and in their blog that they think people are likely to search for.
That can help, sure, but there are much more impactful areas you should focus on first to ensure you’re setting your business up to grow as quickly as possible.
Do me a favor and pull out your phone right now. Head to your business website and click through a few pages.
Does it flow as smoothly and efficiently as the desktop version of your site? Does it look as good? Is it as easy to understand?
If you answered “no” to any of those questions, then your website isn’t mobile friendly. That’s where your focus needs to be right now. Because the quickest way you can impact your SEO the most is by making sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Why Photographers Need A Mobile-Friendly Website
Having a mobile-friendly photography website is critically important. This is why:
For one thing, a site that doesn’t flow smoothly on mobile really messes with its overall Google ranking because mobile-friendliness is a major factor in how they qualify rankings. So your SEO will be worse if you have a website that is not mobile friendly than if you have a website that is mobile friendly.
But what’s even more problematic: if your website is largely unresponsive on mobile, that can not only lower your ranking, but also prevent it from showing up at all.
If your site isn’t optimized for cellphones and tablets, any time someone does a local Google search on one of those devices, your business won’t show up because search engines have deemed it too slow to respond.
The same search on a desktop will bring your site up sooner, but the majority of people looking for services are using a mobile device — a quick look at your analytics will tell you as much — which puts you last in line in terms of clients finding you.
If you don’t believe me, you can check it out from the source. Last year, Google reported that nearly 60% of searches are from mobile devices. That means, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing out on 60% of potential clients.
But here’s the good news: It’s totally within your reach to change that!
How To Make Your Photography Website Mobile-Friendly
Start by entering your website into Google’s mobile-friendly test. All you have to do is enter your site’s URL. In a few seconds, it’ll tell you whether or not your website is mobile friendly.
If your results indicate that it’s not as good as it could be, here’s what you can do to improve it:
Compress Your Images
Images that are too large are often the main reason a website is slow to respond. You can run your website through a Google speed test to be certain, but chances are, the size of your images is what’s slowing you down.
Reduce the image quality to 80%. I promise no one will notice the difference, but your file size will be a lot more manageable.
Then experiment with limiting your file size to 800 kB and see how much it improves your site’s speed. If you’re never showing full-screen images, this limit can be even lower, so play around with it.
Resize Your Images To The Correct Width
Finally, Google doesn’t like it when you have images on your site that are larger than the space they’re displayed on, so make sure your image sizes stay within the standard width of your blog or gallery. For example, if your gallery never gets wider than 1,200 pixels, then you shouldn’t upload any images larger than that.
When You Think Of Photographer SEO, Start Thinking About Being Mobile Friendly
Making sure your site is optimized for mobile is just one of the factors that is most important when you think of your SEO on your photography website.
Building relationships with your clients, getting to know potential vendors in your community, and doing real, boots-on-the-ground work will take you a lot further than whatever the trending SEO Google tricks are.
That brings me to my last point: Google is constantly changing. Whatever the SEO best practices are now can be totally different tomorrow. Scrambling to keep up with these changes by constantly tweaking words and methods in an effort to align with this ever-evolving beast is a waste of time.
Instead, focus on making your site as navigable as possible on all devices and putting out high-quality content. If you’re authentic and deliver valuable content, Google will find you.
So consider this your permission to stop worrying about whatever the latest and greatest SEO trend is.
It’s time to stop putting off building out your website. If you get something up that looks great and is mobile friendly, your website woes will be over. And given that you can build a new site in under 10 minutes, there’s no reason not to begin today.