Writing content with SEO in mind
OK, so we have some keywords, we know people are searching for them, but how do we actually get in front of those people?
Right now, and I would imagine for the foreseeable future Google is all about content.
Whatever you’re creating, you need to keep the end user in mind and be sure your content is serving them in some way, providing tangible value.
I’ll mention other ideas in other articles, but good content is the basis of your search rankings.
Good content can be whatever you want it to be, but from an SEO perspective, we look at a few different things.
nb. Titles and Meta descriptions are super easy to edit if you’re using WordPress, by installing the Yoast SEO Plugin.
This is an Excerpt from my upcoming SEO guide.
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The title of your page is often the first thing someone will see in the search results.
So, titles – you want to write something that is:
- Tempting for a user to click (when they see it in the search results)
- Informative as to what they’re going to see when they click it.
- Targeted to the right search terms
- Short enough not to be truncated in the search results (less than 65 characters usually!)
For the majority of sites, I’d recommend the title for the home page of the brand ‘EPIC PHOTO CO.’ might look like –
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER LONDON – EPIC PHOTO CO.
In this example, they’re targeting the keyword WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER LONDON, because they’ve already done their keyword research and it shows that keyword has the highest traffic balanced with the lowest competition (although London keywords, as anyone who has targeted them will know, are the highest competition keywords you will find.)
For the majority of photographers, fewer people will be searching for your brand name, than they will for your targeted keyword – so I add the brand name at the end of the title.
People searching by your brand name will still be directed to you.
Some SEO experts will say having your brand name is just a waste of space in the (character limited) title.
I personally believe in letting people know your name as soon as possible – to try and stick in their mind.
I also prefer to target pages to specific keywords, where possible, and don’t feel the urge to stuff lots of different keywords into the titles, so there is usually room for the brand name, but if your keyword is super long – the brand name can happily be cut out to stay under the 65 character count.
To edit the title, if you’re using WordPress & Yoast, you want to fill in the SEO Title box. You’ll find this below your post/page in the WordPress editor –
Good titles are about finding a balance between relevant keywords and engaging the user’s attention – a keyword heavy title that shows up in thousands of searches is useless if nobody wants to click on it.
Creative Titles And *Shudder* Clickbait
Another thing to consider is that each click from a search result acts as a vote.
Google is certainly tracking which sites are getting the most clicks from the results and the more ‘popular’ sites are almost certainly getting promoted more.
It’s something to keep in mind – you want your titles to be relevant, but also tempting to click.
New sites and stories in Apple News are particularly good at this – by posing questions in their titles they cause the reader to be intrigued. But it’s easy to wander into the realms of clickbait – ‘You’ll never guess what this Bride did to her Groom!’ – probably not what you’re going for.
How Can You Apply This To A Wedding Photography Blog?
It’s not so easy for individual blog posts, you’re pretty much limited to talking about the venue, the season, the colours etc. ie:
A beautiful spring wedding at Some Place House – Some Place Wedding
Is slightly more compelling than:
SOME PLACE WEDDING – EPIC PHOTO CO.
With articles and other pages you can get a bit more creative and look at posing questions in the titles relatively – things like –
- ‘19 ways to make your wedding less boring for guests!’
- ‘Will the rain ruin your wedding day?’
- ‘Want some Ideas for a great winter wedding?’
- ‘How to deal with your mother-in-law’s wedding photo demands’
In short – the more eyes hitting those posts and being engaged, the better your search positions.
As with everything – the more thought you put in, the more results you get out.
What About Individual ‘Top-Level’ Pages?
Most wedding photographer websites follow a certain structure.
There is the home page, then a few ‘top level’ pages like ‘About’, ‘Prices’, ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Contact’.
Below that, you’ll have blog posts telling the story of a specific wedding/shoot etc.
I usually see people attempting to optimize these ‘top level’ pages, so their pricing page might actually be called ‘Cheshire Wedding Photographer Prices’, the about page will probably be ‘About Manchester Wedding Photographer’ and of course, the contact page will be ‘Contact North West Wedding Photographer’.
I’m picking on the North West here, as I have a fair few friends up there and they can take it ;)
In days gone by, maybe that worked, but I always recommend against that now.
Firstly, it looks rubbish.
Secondly, think about who is landing there – if someone looking for a north-west wedding photographer were to land on your contact page, what reason would they have to contact you?
You’ve not earned their trust – you’ve not met their enquiry head on and you’ve given them zero reasons to fill in that contact form.
You’ve essentially tricked them into walking through your back door.
Do you know what they’re more likely to do?
Turn around, head back to the warm embrace of Google and find someone else’s front door to go in.
A front door that will greet them and offer them the customer service experience they desire.
Ok before all this front door/back door stuff goes into the realms of a carry on film…
An Alternative Approach
In the above examples, of keyword stuffing your ‘top-level’ pages, a far better solution would be to have 3 different landing pages for Cheshire Wedding Photographer, Manchester Wedding Photographer & North West Wedding Photographer.
Landing pages that are beautifully designed, with kick-ass content that actually helps the person, is relevant to the area and showcases your work in an appropriate way.
Building trust and, In turn, encouraging them to take an action, like contacting you.
To summarise. Keep your structure clean, logical and avoid being spammy. The bottom line, you’re not always trying to get people to land on your ‘top-level’ pages, they are there to nurture and build trust for the people that enter your site via your home page, a landing page or a blog post.
Also, if they go back to Google quickly – they’re sending a message to Google with that action that the page didn’t serve their purpose – and Google pays attention to that, but we’ll get into that later.
So, after all that, for these ‘top-level’ pages, I suggest keeping it simple and using titles like:
CONTACT – EPIC PHOTO CO.
PRICES – EPIC PHOTO CO.
ABOUT – EPIC PHOTO CO.
What About Titles For Blog Posts?
The home page title is done, your top-level pages are looking good, next up is the blog posts.
If you’re like me there will be a lot. I don’t blog every wedding I shoot, but I try to do a reasonable percentage. This means your blog will potentially be full of amazing content from all the places you have been and the weddings you’ve captured.
Having a consistent structure with your post titles is a must for your blog posts – as is good keyword research.
Finding exactly what people are searching for relative to the venue is a huge key to success
The difference between –
‘Wedding Photography at Some House’
‘Some House Wedding Photography’
‘Some House, Kent Wedding Photography’
‘Some House Wedding Photographer’
may not appear huge – but once you start to dig into the keyword research, you may find that one of those has ten times the traffic of the others.
That’s the stuff that will make a difference to your traffic and in time, your enquiries.
In the above case, you’d want to use whichever is the highest traffic, balanced with the lowest keyword difficulty.
It’s usually better to aim for lower difficulty keyword variations, with medium traffic – as opposed to a high competition keyword, with only slightly higher traffic. But it varies and if all else fails and nothing stands out – just aim for the highest traffic volume.
So let’s assume Some House Wedding Photography has the highest traffic and reasonable competition. Your title might look something like this –
SOME HOUSE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY – EPIC PHOTO CO.
So your titles are looking good. Next up we have the other thing that shows up in the search results – the meta description. Titles and Description work together to convince the searcher to click on your page. The title is going to catch their attention – the description is going to convince them to click through.
Good descriptions are killer for increasing your Click Through Rate (CTR) – the percentage of people that actually click your results when presented to them. A high CTR usually results in higher rankings and higher ranked pages tend to have higher CTRs. So basically – get people to visit (and keep them when they do) and you’re winning.
Meta descriptions should be no more than 150-160 characters and get truncated beyond that.
It’s great to get your keywords and their variations, into your descriptions where possible – because if someone is actually searching for that phrase Google will embolden that text if it appears in your description – potentially drawing the viewer’s eye.
But again, moderation and relevance are the keys to success, I’ve seen so many blog posts using descriptions like this:
Some Place Wedding Photographer at Some Place House in Kent. Sally & Mark Some Place Wedding. Nice Wedding at Some Place House. Some Place Wedding Photography.
Put yourself in the searcher’s shoes.
If you came across that, what would you expect to be on the other side of that link? Would you expect some spammy badly written post? Would it encourage you to click? Would you feel like that was a site to trust?
Sally & Mark’s Some Place House Wedding was a wonderful day filled with eucalyptus, spring colours, DIY details and so much laughter. A truly special day.
How does that one make you feel?
Both have very similar character counts, but one is considerably more elegant and would resonate more, and build more trust – with the bride who is looking for weddings that have taken place at that venue. The second one should also give a much better idea of what the searcher will find on the other side of the link, both in terms of content and hopefully, writing style.
Unless you write your blog posts like the top one, in which case – go ahead!
For your home page, landing pages and top-level pages – the description is your chance to give the searcher a taste of what to expect on your pages, try to get your keywords in if they are relevant and flow nicely – but don’t force it.
Instead, try to show them who you are and what you are about in 160 characters. Not an easy task, but it worked for Twitter.
To edit the description using WordPress and Yoast, you’re looking for this box, below your editing panel –