I write a lot about photography marketing, ansd there is no better form of marketing than organic search engine results. You have a main phrase that you’re trying to rank for, the single most important one. I call that a whale phrase. It’s a top tier search phrase in your niche that has huge search volume and can drive considerable traffic to your site. Something like Anytown Wedding Photographer. The Google keyword tool in coordination with Majestic’s backlink checker is a great way to figure out your main phrase. Use the keyword tool to find phrase ideas by order of search popularity. Find out if you should optimize for city A, product B, or just to generate new ideas.
My search confirms that “Anytown Wedding Photographer” is the most searched phrase in my niche. Next, use that phrase in Google and see who ranks in the top 10. Are these sites you can compete with? Copy the URL of the #5 or the #10 ranked sites into the backlink checker and see how many links point to it. Compare this with how many links your site has. Can you establish that many links in the next 6 or 12 months in order to outrank that competitor for that phrase? If not, you may need to go after a smaller whale word.
Use Big SEO Phrases on the Homepage
A homepage, or perhaps a very powerful top level page, are the only ones that can catch a whale. Therefore it only makes sense to use whale words on your very best pages. I often see photographers who use a phrase like “Anytown Wedding Photographer” on all of their sub pages or all their blog posts. It doesn’t make sense to optimize posts for whale words because posts are extremely difficult to rank in the top 10 for such a competitive phrase. Just look at the URLs in the top 10 and notice the pattern of homepage after homepage. Posts targeted for whale phrases don’t rank and therefore pass up a chance to rank for shrimp words.
Use Small SEO Phrases on Posts and Subpages
I recommend optimizing blog posts for shrimp words. The Google keyword tool tipped me off that people search for wedding reception photographer and wedding photographer pricing. These are shrimp phrases that will drive considerable traffic if I can rank for a lot of different ones. I might use the tool to come up with a list of a few terms I’d like to focus on (like pricing, reception, etc), but otherwise I can just use good judgment when writing posts.
A post about “Zach and Amber Wedding – 05/15/10” doesn’t capture any search volume. I need to think about what this post is about and describe it a little better, sprinkling in terms like wedding, photos, pricing, and reception so that users who don’t know me can find it.
Your web analytics keywords report is a great source for shrimp words. For example, if February sent you a lot of traffic in Valentine’s Day searches, then start making posts about every holiday. If you notice “best photographer” in your keyword report, think of similar adjectives users might type such as “top, most, cheapest, etc.”
Your task for this week might be simply to start a list of words that people might search to find your products and services. Perhaps it’s a list of headline ideas for posts. Then just work through the list from top to bottom as you write new material. A related task is to look back at some archive posts and update those slightly to change the titles and first paragraphs to use words from your list. Check your keywords report in a couple weeks to see if traffic increased for any of those words.
The more you post, the more shrimp phrases you will use without even knowing it. If you’ve given a tiny bit of thought to what keywords are in the headline or use my affiliate link for Scribe WordPress plugin to analyze your keyword usage, you’ll have an excellent shot at ranking for something relevant.
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Zach Prez is a dad and social cyclist who loves to talk marketing over a cup of Lipton tea. Get his free ebook 5 Traffic Sparks for the Online Photographer to get more clients with photography websites. You’re going to make your money back with your first booking! Follow Photography Spark on Facebook.