A Wedding Photographer’s Search for a Wedding Photographer – Part Four

Today is the 4th instalment of Libby Clark’s bride to be diary series. In the first 3 parts of this series we’ve discussed budgets and how hard it is to find a photographer using Google (there is just so much to choose from and so many sites to wade through). Throughout this series though Libby is learning from her own search exactly what her own photography business needs and all of this she is sharing with you.

so, enjoy part 4 of A Wedding Photographers Search for a Wedding Photographer. Over to you Libby…


Welcome back for another week. I hope you’re getting something from these posts because I’m learning so so much!

Last week looked at what I want and how I was looking for it. I focused a fair bit on homepages and how that is your place to shine. 50 milliseconds, remember?!

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This week I thought I’d leave the world of Google behind and try some other methods. I feel like I’ve struck gold.

Part Four– Where Else Can I Look?

To be honest, Google was overwhelming me quite a bit. I was so fed up of just clicking result after result and using slightly different search terms for a different list to click through. Obviously I’m quite a visual person so I wanted to see work before I visited the website. It’s all about speed! I wanted lots of pictures in front of me I could choose from and go from there, otherwise I was at risk of losing my patience and losing interest.

At first I thought about Facebook. I’ve seen people use this many a time, mostly through posts in wedding groups:

“Can anyone recommend a good wedding photographer who’s cheap?”

Eurgh, I HATE those posts! You just get comment after comment of pretty much every photographer each person knows. Like I said last week, photography is subjective so you can’t expect to find exactly what you’re looking for with a post like this. Unless you’re lucky.

I thought about going through the various photographer’s pages I’ve “liked” over the years but with over 1,200 pages in my liked section it seems just as daunting as Google. Don’t discount Facebook completely though. More on that in a minute.

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The most visual social tool I thought of was Pinterest. How many times as photographers have you visited Pinterest for inspiration? There is so much beauty out there that makes my jaw drop and Pinterest has the majority of it sitting there waiting to be pinned.

So off I went. Hello Pinterest, search “wedding photography Gloucestershire”.

OMG OMG OMG OMG… Yes really. Look at all the gorgeous photos!!

Whilst I still had a lot of results I was feeling much more confident. As long as the photographer’s name was mentioned and I liked what I saw, it was pinned. I decided that if I saw more than a few of one photographers work and pinned it, I would check them out a bit further. I only pinned 33 photos before I realised I was going to struggle to narrow them down so I had to stop myself.

An important part of this process for me if to give myself some thinking time. Time where I’m not looking for wedding photographers so that I can come back with a fresh mind. Indeed that’s what I did and whilst I still loved some of the work it was removed from the list because it wasn’t quite right for me.

The next night I began making my way through the list and looking at websites. I think I narrowed it down to 5 at the time. The next part of my search involved looking into these 5 a little more. I moved away from Pinterest for this and on to Facebook. I found myself looking for some interesting things I hadn’t expected. How often do they post? When did they last post? How many wedding photographs are on their page?

If I go to my Facebook page and ask the same questions the answers are as follows; Rarely, October last year, quite a few but they vary hugely in quality.

Ouch, so not only do I need to redo my website. I also need to seriously overhaul my Facebook page and get posting! I remember a friend setting up a Facebook schedule every day with different kinds of posts. Links, images and text. It worked brilliantly for her and the enagement on her page sky rocketed. As soon as she stopped so did the engagement.

Use social media, it works!

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I think I’ve found my main search tool. I wondered if I’m the only person who will find their photographer via Pinterest or if this is quite a popular tool? I’ll expand on this more next week but this week’s lesson was this:

Most friends I asked did not use Google as their main search tool. For some reason this surprised me!

When I put the question out to friends I started to get quite a mixture of answers and I wanted to ask more questions, so I’ve decided to do a little market research and do a questionnaire. I’ll let you know the outcome soon.

Next week – The enquiry stage

 


About the Author: Libby Clark

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Libby is based in Swindon, UK and has been shooting weddings for five years. Find out more about Libby over at www.libbyclarkphotography.co.uk

Be sure to join the discussion over in the buzzing RSP community and subscribe to Ready Steady Pro right here to receive the next part of this series direct to your mailbox or to be notified when new parts are available for reading!

 

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A Wedding Photographer’s Search for a Wedding Photographer – Part Three

We’re back this week the 3rd installment of Guest Blogger Libby Clark’s diary series, opening the pages on her own search for a wedding photographer. We’ve spoken about the budget, we’ve touched on how difficult it can be to find exactly what you’re looking for in a saturated market and even how with tools such as Google we’re still presented with far too much choice! Today however Libby dives further into her search and details exactly what she is looking for and what she is doing to find it. So, please do enjoy part 3 of A Wedding Photographer’s Search for a Wedding Photographer, by Libby Clark…


Hi all,

Last week’s post certainly provoked some discussion and food for thought in the Ready Steady Pro Facebook group. I talked about the search terms I found myself using, mostly broad searches that weren’t getting me anywhere. So I had to do some more in depth searches.

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Part Three – What Do I Want and How Do I Find It?

This week was all about using keywords and different search methods. I decided the best thing to do would be to write down what style we were looking for. As a photographer this is where I knew I was going to struggle. We all have our own specific style and we wouldn’t use it if we didn’t like it. So what I’m looking for is someone who photographs the way that I do and better, but I have that budget of £1,800 to keep in mind. I might be able to sneak that up to £2,000… maybe.

Our theme/style for the day itself is very rural, involves cider, lots of natural colours, flat caps and flowers. In my head I see lots of light, soft images of the blushing bride (that’s me!) looking whimsically into her new husbands eyes with the sunlight behind them. Soft and warm colours… *sigh*. Sorry I went into a daydream of prettiness there!

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So how do you sum that up into keywords? I guess I can add vintage to the list so I search “Wedding Photographer Vintage Style Gloucestershire”.

Now that’s a bit better. The first thing I see is a website that lists local photographers and I notice a few more keywords in their first paragraph; reportage, documentary style, posed photographs. This also reminds me of fine art, classic, unique, street and a few more keywords I can add to the list. I just need to narrow down which.

When I shoot I like to do so in a documentary style but the couple photos are the perfect opportunity to be a bit more creative with lights and angles. Without going into another daydream we want someone to capture the true essence of the day so we’re definitely looking for documentary style with a fine art twist. That might be hard. Do people even do that? I do so I hope others do!

Ok, good. I have some more keywords:

“Wedding photographer vintage style gloucestershire documentary fine art”

Bit of a mouthful I must admit but hurrah! I have far fewer results and I go ahead and click on one. So far, so good. For the most part I like what I see on the home page slideshow even though I’m a little frustrated it’s not loading very quickly. I’m not very keen on the second photo I see though. The guy has a slightly awkward look on his face and doesn’t look comfortable. Stuart hates having his photo taken and will only let me do it so I’m really aware I need to find someone he can be comfortable with and relax.

I did some assistant and second shooting work last year in return for some mentoring and one of the things I was told was to only showcase the best of the best. Nothing mediocre.

I can see why now, maybe it’s my overly critical eye but I’ve noticed this one error and I’m about to discount the photographer because of it! I think about the fact I’ve done exactly the same thing and tell myself not to judge so quickly and carry on looking.

This is the next lesson:

People can make decisions in 50 milliseconds. You have 50 milliseconds to make people go WOW and encourage them to keep looking.

I think if I’d seen the second photo first I wouldn’t have gone much further but thankfully the first photo caught my eye so I’m going to look past the second photo. The next few won’t load properly. I’m getting a bit annoyed at this point but when they do eventually load I do rather like them. The photos fit our style with rural, gorgeous backlit couples. Unfortunately one photo is so crowded with confetti I can’t see the couple. But I’ll keep looking, I’ll just remember to give the guests small handfuls of petals rather than a full box! I then notice that this photographer has been featured on one of my favourite wedding blogs and was a regional finalist for a Wedding Industry Award. I’m not fussed they didn’t win it but I feel a bit more confident about them now.

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You might have noticed at this point I’ve only looked at the home page. I’ve not even looked at the portfolio so the next lesson I’ve learnt is this.

Your home page is THE page. I’ve always used mine as a bit of an introduction to the rest of my website which is clearly the wrong thing to be doing. This is what your clients are going to base the majority of their decision on.

I’ve now spent a few minutes here and I’m still liking what I see enough. I suddenly remember the “bounce rate” I’ve seen on Google Analytics telling me how much time people are spending on each page before they leave. I’m lucky if I get a full 10 seconds on my home page! I’ve given this photographer at least 5 minutes of my time so far. I finally scroll down past the slideshow and see a short paragraph. I wasn’t going to read it but as it’s above the links for the other pages I’m going to. Ooh, they describe their style as “fine art mixed with documentary”! I’m a little excited now so I click through to the gallery.

After a few minutes of looking I decide this photographer, as good as they are, doesn’t quite fit my style. I think I want more of a fine art approach than I initially realised. But the point is I took my time, I didn’t go to the home page and move away 50 milliseconds later. The website was really easy to follow and I wasn’t wondering where I had to go to find things.

Next week… Where Else Can I Look?


About the Author: Libby Clark

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Libby is based in Swindon, UK and has been shooting weddings for five years. Find out more about Libby over at www.libbyclarkphotography.co.uk

Be sure to join the discussion over in the buzzing RSP community and subscribe to Ready Steady Pro right here to receive part two of this series direct to your mailbox or to be notified when part two is available for reading!

A Wedding Photographer’s Search for a Wedding Photographer – Part Two

This week we continue our series with Ready Steady Pro Community Member and guest blogger Libby Clark. Libby has kindly agreed to open her diary and provide us with an insight in to her own search for a wedding photographer. Being a wedding photographer herself this series will offer us, the readers, an idea of the thinking process that our clients go through when looking for that one, all-important vendor: their wedding photographer.

Part One of the series was very well received, where Libby discusses budgets and lessons that can be weaned from her search to benefit her own business, so without further delay here’s the second installment:


Hi all,

Thanks for coming back to read part two! Apparently I’m not as bad with words as I thought so here is part two:

Props

Last week I discussed “The Budget”. It opened my eyes as to how wrong my own pricing structure probably is! As much as we like to think all couples have an endless amount of money to spend on their wedding I’ve realised they often don’t – because I’m one of them. So as I mentioned last week my own wedding photographer budget has been set at £1,800. With that established it was time to start looking for a photographer, properly.

The next part of my journey has so far proved equally interesting (and challenging!)

Part Two – Where Do I Start?

Last week I mentioned that I’ve been guilty of using keywords that I just expect my website to be found when used. I don’t know why because having recently searched “wedding photographer Swindon” I’m ashamed to say Waitrose had a result before I did! In fact I gave looking for my own website after looking through 22 pages of the search results.  So this week I learnt why SEO and keywords are so important. My search for a photographer started as it did probably do for almost all couples:

  1. Open Google…
  2. Search “Wedding Photographer”

Why did I do that? I genuinely didn’t know what else to type and where to start my search! Using Google is how I’d hope my couples would find me, so why wouldn’t I find a photographer this way?

There were pages upon pages of photographers listed in the search results that all featured because of just two key words: ‘Wedding Photographer’. As it so happens the first few results are photographers I know. They get regular bookings and do this full time (Most likely because they’re at the top of Google!) But I don’t feel relieved I have a lovely list to choose from, I feel somewhat overwhelmed. There are so many?! Where do I start?!

Ok, let’s try again. Let’s narrow things down:

  1. Open Google…
  2. Search “Wedding Photographer South West”

 

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The results aren’t much better really, I still have a massive list to go through but there are more in my area of the country now. Kind of.

I live in Wiltshire but we’re getting married in Gloucestershire. To those of us who live here we are South Westerners. To the rest of the UK however we somehow fall into ‘the bit between the South West and The Midlands’ and suddenly I’m thinking about the fact that if I find and love a photographer in the deepest depths of Cornwall we’re going to have to pay for their travel and accommodation. (Quite rightly though; I don’t expect them to travel all that way for nothing.)

That’s where I’ve probably got one up on those couples planning who don’t have a clue about the industry as my expectations are probably a little more in line with the accepted norm. This was my next lesson as a photographer:

It’s really appreciated if you make it clear what areas you cover at no extra charge and, if you do charge for travel where that starts. If you are based in Cornwall I doubt you’d be happy to travel up to Cumbria at no extra cost!

By now I’ve been mindlessly clicking on random photographer’s websites for a couple of hours but no one is really doing it for me. I’m going to need a rethink. I know I’ve fallen into the trap that I expect all couples do: search terms that cover far too much for their brains to consume. Time to sit down and think about what we want and use keywords.

Next week… What Do I Want and How Do I Find It?


About the Author: Libby Clark

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Libby is based in Swindon, UK and has been shooting weddings for five years. Find out more about Libby over at www.libbyclarkphotography.co.uk

Be sure to join the discussion over in the buzzing RSP community and subscribe to Ready Steady Pro right here to receive part two of this series direct to your mailbox or to be notified when part two is available for reading!

A Wedding Photographer’s Search for a Wedding Photographer – Part One

Over in the Facebook Community for Ready Steady Pro community member Libby Clark mentioned just how hard it is, as a wedding photographer, to find a wedding photographer! Fellow member and contributor to this blog, James Hepworth struck upon a great idea – Let’s invite Libby to share something of a diary with the rest of us: ‘A Wedding Photographer’s Search for a Wedding Photographer’. So, here today I’m peased to share with you Part One of Libby’s diary-type series on her search for a wedding photographer and wedding planning.

All wedding photographers, especially those who aren’t yet married themselves, should really have a read of this. It’s a great insight in to the mind of a bride (who just so happens to be a wedding photographer too!)

Over to you Libby…


Thanks Michael for the introduction. As you now know I’m Libby and I’m very much a part time Wedding Photographer. I work full time in a job I love so I know I don’t put as much effort into my business as I should. Especially when it comes to marketing and my website. But that’s another story for another time!

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You might have guessed from the title; I’m getting married! I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a blog about planning my own wedding for a few weeks, so when James suggested it, and Michael asked me to write one about my own search for a wedding photographer I jumped at the opportunity.

The aim of this diary style blog is for the professional photographers out there to get the other halves’ side of what’s important in marketing. Over the years I’ve been guilty of designing websites with keywords and creating designs that I assume will be ok. I know what I want people to search for in Google to find me so why wouldn’t they? I like my design so why wouldn’t anyone else?

So let me take you on my journey… of search terms and things that have struck me whilst I’m looking for my own perfect Wedding Photographer. It’s not quite going as I expected.

Part One – The Budget

As I work in the wedding industry, I think I always knew I would find planning my own wedding hard. I’ve been to so many weddings and seen so many beautiful things my head is somewhat bursting (and so are my Pinterest boards). Friends have always said “I bet you can’t wait to plan your wedding, especially the photography”. Actually the photography is the bit I’m dreading the most! There was no way I was going to rush into a decision but I also knew I couldn’t leave it too long.

After several weeks of looking, we have found the perfect venue so we’re booking it! We have a date, a church and thankfully Stuart (my fiancé) and I both have the same idea when it comes to themes and styles. I’m one of those super organized people who likes to have everything written down. And lists, oh how I love a good list!

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So now that the venue is chosen, I need to find a photographer. You’d think that being one myself, setting the budget for this part would be easy.

Oh my days it isn’t! Not even a little bit!

Our budget for the whole day is just over £20,000 which is about average for a wedding these days. Of course I appreciate that a good photographer will charge what they’re worth and if I could have my way I’d probably budget about £3,000 towards it. Sadly both Stuart and our bank account don’t agree with this. So, after a couple of arguments, a genuine suggestion that we just give all the guests disposable cameras (yes, really), and eventually the acceptance that there was no way I was going to back down we agreed on a budget of £1,800.

This is where my first point of realisation came in… I charge £700 for a full day of wedding photography including a disc of edited images, an online password protected gallery, a photo book and an engagement shoot. I know I’m undercharging and a lot of my pricing decisions came down to confidence. However, I was discounting photographers who charge under £1,000 for a full day as probably being inexperienced and not confident in their work.

Now maybe that’s not a fair analysis, but I really don’t want to be one of those people who regrets not spending enough on their photographer. Equally I recognise a good photographer when I see one, and a bad one, so of course I won’t be going on pricing alone. It does make you think though, if everyone in my target market has a budget of £1,800 for a photographer, are they even going to look at the cheaper ones? If I’m anything to go by, possibly not.

It’s only been a few days and I’ve already realised my pricing is quite possibly wrong for my target market! I think I’ll be sitting down and starting my pricing structure over.

Next week – Where Do I Start?


About the Author: Libby Clark

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Libby is based in Swindon, UK and has been shooting weddings for five years. Find out more about Libby over at www.libbyclarkphotography.co.uk

Be sure to join the discussion over in the buzzing RSP community and subscribe to Ready Steady Pro right here to receive part two of this series direct to your mailbox or to be notified when part two is available for reading!

Photographers – Who is Your Audience?

Something I’ve seen a lot recently is photographers blogging seemingly for the attention of other photographers. Whilst this would be fine on a photography news site or a photographic training site, I’d say that really it’s not ideal on a wedding or portrait website where non-photographer paying clients are looking.

An industry where debates are always had

Photography is no doubt an industry full of debates: Jpeg vs RAW, Full Frame vs ASPC, Canon vs Nikon and on and on the list goes. Because of this we all tend to choose sides and have opinions and that’s great. If everyone thought the same thing it’d be a very dull world indeed.

However, I just question whether the websites we’ve painstakingly taken the time to put together for the benefit and purpose of obtaining clients are the best places to voice our opinion on all things photographic?

It sometimes feels a little bit like publically airing your dirty laundry to me.

There are plenty of photographers out there now who have successfully transitioned into making a living from almost exclusively (sometimes completely exclusively) from teaching photography. So, it sometimes does happen that a photography teacher will have a balance opposite to most of us whereby they make most of their income from teaching, but still occasionally shoot for a client, so you may see a site hosting content for everyone. But what works for those photographers in those situations may not be right for you.

Take it elsewhere

Personally, I set up a completely separate site to allow me to talk about photography: www.michaelrammell.com. It’s there that I can talk about gear, write reviews, share personal work and my own thoughts on photography in general. To an extent that is also what Ready Steady Pro is for – this is an outlet for everything to do with the business of photography and things of that nature. These websites allows me to write posts just like this one: that are designed to make you consider for a moment whether your blog, where your potential paying clients may be looking, is the right place to add your own proverbial fuel to a particular photography-fire.

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You can of course write about what you like. This is, after all The Internet and your blog is of course your domain. I can’t tell you what you should and should not be writing about. I’m purely trying to get you thinking about whether your blog is the right place for some of these discussions.

Not everyone will agree, but my advice is this: stick to private groups and communities or start a separate website for that sort of chat. In short: your clients don’t need to see all of that. Put your best foot forward – that being your wonderful photographs, testimonials from previous clients and blog posts advising, helping and guiding your next clients. Show off what you can do for a client and do everything to get them to book you, not what you think about a particular camera or another photographer’s work. More often than not your opinion on cameras, tech specs or another photographers work is not why your clients are going to book you.

As was pointed out by Steve Saporito, David DuChemin and so many others – show what you sell.

What do you think?

What are you thoughts? Should we be keeping this side of the world of photography away from our clients, or, should our clients be made aware of what is happening in the photography industry? Post your comments below.

Add extra Analytics to your Links with Bitly Link Shortener

Knowledge is power. Knowing how many people hit your website and which pages they are viewing is one thing, but actually seeing which links are being clicked and having a set of statistics for each link – that’s pretty useful!

Today I want to talk about the power of Bitly – a link shortening service that offers you so much more than just a shorter URL.

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Bitly Link Shortening

First and foremost Bitly is a link shortening service, which in itself is very useful for use with Twitter. A URL such as http://readysteadypro.co.uk/2014/02/17/seo-tips-photographers-blogging/ is 71 characters long – it’s huge! So, when you’ve got a limit of 140 characters this URL is just too long (It takes up over half your character limit!). It would only leave you 69 characters to compose your tweet. So, take your URL and paste it into Bitly and you end up a far more Twitter-Friendly URL: http://bit.ly/MrG7PW. This is 20 characters long.

Link Archive

Okay Okay, so Twitter does actually perform some shortening on your URL – but with Bitly it will save all of your shortened URL’s for you to re-use. This means that rather than pasting odd and random URL;s over and over you can delve back into Bitly, grab the shortened URL you made before and paste that to your blog, tiwtter, facebook, Google+ etc. Re-using the same link also gives you some wonderful advantages:

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More than just a shorter link

Having access to re-use the same shortened URL means you can track the clicks and the source of those clicks. So, when you write a new blog post and share it all over the internet on all of your social media presences, rather than scratching your head, wandering where all the traffic comes from, all you need to do it take a look at the clear and coherent analytics on Bitly:

Clicks on a link

See below: You can see here how many clicks each link got and on which days. Beneath that it will even tell you how the link is performing on various, connected Social Media accounts.

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Link Summary

In this screen grab you can see how my links have been performing. As a bonus it also shows where the links were clicked in terms of Geography.

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A Powerful Tool

So, in conjunction with Google Webmaster tools and the in-built analytics for your website (such as Squarespace) you can easily get a feel for exactly how each link you share, is performing.

Try it today. Bitly

SEO Tips for Blogging Photographers: Part 1

SEO can seem like a mystery to some. You may find that some of your more generic posts are climbing up the results ladder, whilst others are sitting in an abyss, getting only a few seldom visitors.

Well, there is a science to SEO. It’s not guess work at all. So today I want to share with you Part 1 of my top SEO tips for photographers that blog! (and let’s face it, we all blog!).

If truth be told these SEO tips are applicable to all, but we’re going to use photographers as our example, as that’s what Ready Steady Pro is all about!

1: Post Titles – What are people searching for?

Where possible, it’s important that the title of your post has some of the keywords in it. This very post for example has the words ‘SEO’, ‘tips’, ‘photographers‘ and ‘Blogging‘ in it. Already Google know that this post is giving SEO tips to photographers. More than that though, you should look for a title that people are searching for. Again, this post is likely to be found by photographers searching for tips on how to boost their SEO when blogging. It may sound obvious, but if I had called this post something like ‘Get blog posts found on the internet’ it’s not as likely to have the same success rate. Sure that title may still be relevant to you and I, but we’re writing posts not just for consumption by the reader (by humans!) but we’re also writing for Google too. Remember that.

2: Keywords in Post URL

Keywords are of, erm…Key…importance. Not just in your post title, but also in your URL too! By actually including the keywords in your URL it helps Google to find your post. I’m not talking about just listing your keywords or as many keywords as you can. For a bad example: “readysteadypro.co.uk/blog/Post104-photography-business-weddings-tips-seo-photographers-berkshire-marriage”…I’m talking about an actual readable post URL, much like your actual post title. A URL such as this would be far better: “readysteadypro.co.uk/blog/SEO-Tips-Photographers-Blogging”. Remember, we’re writing for Google as well as the human readers. This URL is digestible, understandable and clear.

Keywords are important. Be precise and use them wisely

3: Title Tags and Heading Tags

Have you ever seen the <h1> & <h2> tags in html?Or in WordPress blogging you may have seen the ‘Heading 1‘ & ‘Heading 2‘ options in the font format section in the toolbar:

Make use of Heading Tags when blogging to gain SEO Benefits

Well, these heading options are more than just a convenient way to consistently format your headings and sections. Google Search Robots scan through your post and pay particular attention to these <h> tags (the heading option in the drop down sorts out the html-behind for you). Imagine if you were looking at someone else’s screen and they scrolled quickly down the post are your eyes more likely to catch one of the larger titles or are you more likely to pick out a random piece of text from one of the many paragraphs? Okay, some may say random text from a paragraph, but the point I’m making here is that Google loves these headings. The headings represent another opportunity to highlight your keywords. Don’t go formatting your entire post as a heading, but instead use the headings throughout your post to throw in a few keywords here and there.

Perhaps if you’re blogging about the most recent wedding you photographed could have a paragraph about the venue with a heading tag to start. In that heading tag write the venue name so that searches for the venue could also return your post to the searcher. For example: “Wonderful Wedding at The Ritz Hotel”

4: Tag & Title all of your images (Alt Tags)

Google loves text! The more text you have the more Google can make sense of what it is you’re writing about. Photographs and images however can often present Google with a problem as it can’t crawl the pixels and deduce what the photograph is. However, you can help Google out by giving the pictures you insert into your posts proper titles and descriptions. Depending on the blogging platform you’re using, you should be able to look at the properties of the pictures once uploaded and give them a title and an alt tag and possibly a description or caption. If you can do this – be sure to do so! It really does help Google to make heads & tails of what the image is that you’ve just uploaded. You may also find that photograph will then be returned in Google’s Image search, which of course will link back to your site also.

5: Links, links, links!

Google Search robots are like Lemmings – they’ll just follow the paths you provide for them. So there are a few ways you can leverage links in a post to your advantage. First of all, be sure to include plenty of links to content on the same site as the post. That’s right –  link to other pages and posts on your own site! Google robots will scan through your post, see that it points to your ‘contact me’ page, or links to another post and go off and have a look at that too. Think of it as self-promotion. There is nothing wrong with that.

Secondly, linking to other, reputable and popular websites is also another way of gaining kudos with Google. Websites that provide links to other places on the web are connected sites. Google loves this. If you’re linking off to an article you wrote on a wedding magazine’s blog, or linking to a florist or dress maker Google will look upon this favorably. So be sure to use links throughout your posts

Top Tip for Linking:

Do’s:

  • Use links within text and on appropriate words. For example: ‘It was a wonderful wedding at Grafton Manor

Dont’s:

  • Do not use place links on generic text or on the words ‘Click here’. For example: ‘To contact me click here‘. (place the link on the words ‘Contact Me’ instead. It gives context to the link. Google likes context)
  • Do not link too many times to the same content: A few, well placed links in a blog post is sufficient. Google may think you’re a dodgy site if you just have articles filled with too many links. There is such a thing as too much.

Again this is all about keywords – if your links contain words that are key, such as ‘wedding‘ and ‘Grafton Manor‘ you’re doing yourself, Google and your reader a favour. First of all you’re not having to type extra, pointless words like ‘click here’. Secondly Google like to see the keywords in the link, as we’ve discussed. But thirdly, as mentioned, you’re writing for a human reader too: including the link within the text itself makes it a more natural read and cuts out those extra words. It’s just cleaner! And when it comes to linking too many times, those blue words that are underlined can also get annoying for the reader too. Remember who you’re writing for. Strike a balance between SEO-optimized and reader-optimized.

Bonus Tip 6: Post length is important!

As mentioned, Google looooves text. Google can get it’s little robots all over your post, picking out the heading tags, the links and the keywords and is able to form a profile of what it is you’ve written thus allowing Google to better return your post for matching search queries. Well, the more you can tell Google (or, the more you can write, rather) the better this whole process works. Articles of less than 500 words, even those that are pretty well setup for SEO, won’t perform quite as well as those with 1,000 words or more. So get writing. But as I’ve said throughout this article don’t forget you’re writing for the reader too, so don’t just write any old words down. It has to be all-killer and no-filler. You could try writing in a conversation style. You could add a summary to the end of the post for a little bulk, you could add quotes. There are lots of ways to increase the word count if you’re having a hard time, but don’t write for the sake of writing. 1,000 words of more would be nice though.

(Word press blogs have a little Word Count that updates as you go. I can’t say the same for every blogging platform out there, but another way to check your current word count is to copy all your text into a word document and use the word count function there too:

Another means to count the number of words in your post would be to paste the post itself into a word processing tool that has a word count function

Well, that’s it for part 1 of this post. Next week I’ll be sharing another selection of top-tips with you, including:

  • Google Maps for business
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • The importance of the ease of sharing and social media
  • Categorizing your posts on your blog
  • Back Links

Try applying these top SEO tricks to your next blog post and see how you get on – do let us know if you implement any of these suggestions!