The photography business is one that tends to be almost hyper-local, with most photographers covering a limited geographical area that might be only 10 or 20 miles from where their business is located. This means that one of the most important aspects of SEO for photographers is local SEO, which uses certain keywords and search engine tools to appeal specifically to customers who are within range of the business and can take advantage of its services.
What is Local SEO, Exactly?
Local SEO is a bit different form a general search engine optimization effort. Unlike general optimization, which focuses on a site’s overall Google ranking and a set of general, but competitive, keywords, local SEO takes a narrower approach. With local SEO, photographers will compete for keywords and customers that are specific to their geographic service area. This reduces their competition, but it also increases how specific they must be when implementing SEO techniques. Let’s look at a few tips and guidelines.
1. Claim the Google “My Business” Page
Always a friend to local commerce, Google has developed a “My Business” page that can be claimed and used by local businesses of any kind, photographers included. The “My Business” page will show to customers who Google the business or its keywords locally; included information ranges from the business’ name and address to its phone number and its Google Reviews star rating.
By claiming this page, business owners are able to refine, update, and correct information. They can even add business hours, a correct Google Maps location, set a profile photo, and select a cover image that best reflects their photography style and services.
2. Ensure NAP Consistency
In local search engine optimization, a NAP isn’t a relaxing period of slumber. Instead, it stands for “name, address, phone number,” and it’s the key to performing well when customers are looking for a local business. While it’s a great start to ensure that NAP information is correct within the Google “My Business” page, that’s simply not enough to gain a high local ranking.
Move beyond Google’s internal tools and venture to sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Foursquare, all of which allow business owners to “claim” the page dedicated to their photography services. Once these pages have been claimed, make sure that information is accurate and any additional details that the site supports, like business hours, Wi-Fi availability, address, and more.
3. Cultivate Great Customer Reviews
A top ranking in Google local search results is a great way to communicate a business’ authority and quality to customers, but it’s not the most effective way. In fact, the best way to communicate quality is to have satisfied customers do it on behalf of the business. Where can they do that? The options abound: Google Reviews, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Angie’s List, and many, many more.
It’s unethical to provide false or paid-for customer reviews, but that doesn’t mean businesses can’t cultivate favorable assessments online. The key to this is simple: Provide great service and support, and customers will do the rest.
4. Focus on Local Landing Pages and Keywords
Finally, don’t dismiss the importance of local, long-tail keywords and robust landing pages that leverage these keywords for a solid ranking in a local search. Ongoing maintenance of landing pages, and careful monitoring of keyword performance, will determine the photography company’s long-term fate in local searches. This is actually quite similar to the approach taken when achieving a high overall Google ranking.
Four Tips for Local Search Success
The photography industry depends on success at the local level, and that means taking an approach to SEO that recognizes the importance of Google’s local business tools, unique keywords for local photography services, and external sites that provide business information and reviews. By focusing on these key elements, photography studios can become the most relevant result in their narrow target area.