10 SEO Tips for Photographers: #2
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
If you missed the first tip in this series, you can find it here
TIP #2: Track your results
One of the most frustrating things about working with SEO is the fact that it can often take some time to see the results. Without that immediate gratification, it can be difficult to make yourself move forward. By using tools to track your traffic and rankings, you can see the fruits of your labor that are helping you move toward getting calls from clients.
Baseline: Where are you now?
Before you get started making changes, it’s important to find out where you rank for your primary keywords. You want to see that you are making progress! While it might make sense to just put your keywords into google and see where you rank, that won’t give you an accurate picture, and can often take a while to click through pages. Google also tailors results to your search history, so it’s likely that your own site or others that you have visited will rank artificially higher. You can do an incognito search (Chrome shortcut is PC: Ctrl-Shift-N, Mac: Shift-Command-N ) to do a neutral search, but using a tool specifically to find your rank is another good option.
By using a tool like Small SEO Tools Keyword Rank Checker, you can quickly see your rank for several keywords at once. Go to your list of keywords that you created in Tip #1 and make a section for your primary keywords that you want to track. Copy and paste those into the search box.
Tip: These search tools do not consider your location like Google, so be sure to include your city/locality or you will only see results for nationwide searches for that term.
You can see your keyword position if it's in the top 100. You can also get a list of the top-ranking sites, which can come in handy when evaluating your competition. Be sure to check your mobile results also. If they are different, that can be a sign that something may be wrong with your mobile site.
If you don't show up in the results, don't fret! That just means that there are lots of opportunities to improve. Before moving forward, be sure that your site is actually indexed by Google. You can do this by searching site:yourdomain.com
The results are all of the pages on your website that are indexed by google.
Google Analytics/Google Search Console
At this point, you should set up some Google Tools that can start tracking activity on your site and how people are finding you on Google. You can also find information about the terms that users are actually using to find your site. These are free tools from Google.
Google Analytics gathers data about how users find and interact with your site. You can see how long they are on your site and on each page, and also the browsers, devices, and other data about the visitors. The menus and reports can be a little intimidating, especially at the beginning, but it's important to start tracking the data for use later.
Once you sign up, you will get a tracking code to embed into your website. Most website platforms make this an easy task. If the help menus or Google search doesn't help you, contact your website provider for help. If you are a Wordpress user, this is a good time to instal the Yoast plugin, which helps with all things SEO.
Google Search Console provides information about the search terms that are used when your site is displayed in the google search results (often called SERPs - search engine results pages). You can monitor the terms people use when searching, how often they click on your website, and the average position of your site in the search results.
Directions to add your website (called a website property) Scroll down to where it says "Add a new property." You will want to add your website as a "domain property." Now you are all set to start gathering data!
At this point, I recommend to make an SEO bookmark folder and start adding all of the sites that will help you in your SEO journey. If I create a helpful report or comparison in Search Console like "Past Month Comparison", I add it as a bookmark so I can quickly find it.
The detailed use of these tools might be confusing at the beginning stages, but it's important to start gathering data for your future self! Next Tip: TIP #3: Make your site valuable