The #1 most desired web marketing goal for photographers is…

¶Search Engine Optimization

Close your eyes (but continue reading), and picture the referrer who sends the most business your way. How valuable is that relationship? How much money have you earned from that association?

When asked this question, you would normally have a person in mind as your top referrer, but we’re talking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and in this case, your top referrer probably is or will be Google.

Just like a friend or partner who sends a lot of business your way, you have to put time and attention into your relationship with Google. After all, Google makes millions of referrals a day and you’d like as many of those as possible.

The story of my friend Jill inspired me to write my first e-book on SEO. She had a new photography business in a new town where she didn’t know anyone. Over a few cups of tea, we covered the basics of how search engines work, like how to find and place keywords, and how to get other sites to link to hers.

The outcome was fast and furious. Jill soon owned major search phrases for multiple niches and locations. Those searchers turned into clients, and those clients referred friends. Within months business was booming. Jill is now my area’s top family photographer and continues to receive over 50% of her bookings through Google with zero advertising budget.

The surprising thing (to her) was that the majority of traffic came from very specific phrases she would have never thought to optimize. Here’s how it happened.

Specific pages for each phrase

If Google completed a personal ad, it might look something like this:

Seeking webpages that are a good match for phrases typed into the search engine. I like popular pages full of HTML text and with rock-solid references.

For a webpage to be an eligible bachelor, it must pass the first criteria of search: the content must relate closely to the phrase searched for by the user. That’s why a search for “Maui wedding photographer” brings back pages about Maui wedding photographers, not Hawaii wedding photographers or Maui weddings and newborns. As searchers, we all want to find information precisely related to what we’re looking for. No more and no less. As a web page owner, your job is to create a page for each phrase you want to rank in Google search results, starting with the homepage.

A homepage is the most likely page to rank in a search, so it should use the best phrase, like one that uses a location, niche, and photography keyword. This means your homepage should optimize for something like “Maui wedding photographer”. Less important phrases will be ranked with subpages or blog posts. For example, a blog post about “Maui destination wedding photos from the Sheraton Hotel” creates a page specific to users who search “Maui destination wedding photos” or “Maui Sheraton weddings,” both desirable secondary phrases that can grow business.

Imagine the result of 10 or 100 pages like the above! You could potentially rank hundreds of phrases that cast a wide net to attract new business. This approach works more effectively than a bunch of pages about the same general topic. Before creating a bunch of pages, first find the phrases you want to rank.

I hope you enjoyed the quick tips. Look for me again in a future email called “How to avoid the social media black hole”

Zach Prez

Photography Marketing Consultant

Picture: Zach Prez Learn more about web design in the Photography Web Marketing Guide. Get 35+ pages of recommendations on SEO, social media, and email marketing. 

Zach Prez is a dad and social cyclist who loves to talk marketing over a cup of Lipton tea. Connect with him at

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Kain is a co-founder, creative and marketing director at Fotomerchant. You've probably seen his template designs, blog posts and video content. His photography website is home to a collection of lomography, instagram and experimental photography.