There are three things certain in life: death, taxes, and, “Choose a Seat Not a Side” signs at weddings. However, another certainty barely missing the cut is that Google algorithms will always be evolving. This means the search engine is constantly tweaking things to make sure the most relevant websites with authority earn the top rankings. And rightfully so. Although there are literally hundreds of adjustments Google will make to its algorithm every year to determine Search Engine Results Placement (SERP), the one factor that has always helped SEO has been links. Let me rephrase that, quality links from quality websites. So let’s talk about the different ways a wedding photographer can get those sweet, buttery links pointed to their website to boost SEO and move up search rankings!
Blogging (Internal Links)
If you want to boost your SEO you better stop slacking off when it comes to blogging! Cancel the Netflix subscription, delete the Facebook app on your phone and do whatever it takes to get focused because if you want to get serious about SEO the first thing you need to do is get serious about blogging! Every time a wedding photographer shoots an engagement session, stylized shoot or wedding they are given an opportunity to make a new blog post. Take advantage of those opportunities and create that kick ass content!
Wedding photographers are usually visual people so often times they think good content in a blog post is one packed full of images, and don’t get me wrong any artist should want to showcase their art. However, photos are not the kick ass content that Google looks for. Therefore, when writing try to be descriptive as possible, utilize keywords related to the photo-shoot, keep the post around 400-600 words (minimum) and make damn sure that the blog post has links! A simple rule of thumb is each post should have 3 links: one to the homepage, one to another post/page in the photographer’s website, and lastly a source link. An example of this link building strategy would be as follows:
Photographer Shoots Wedding At Yosemite
Link 1: Homepage (Duh)
Link 2: Previous wedding/engagement session
Link 3: A website related to Yosemite (places to stay, the national park.. etc)
Other Wedding Vendors
One of the advantages of being a wedding photographer is that your position is not only valuable to a bride and groom, but also the wedding venue, florist, wedding planner, DJ and basically every other vendor at the event. The reason? Because you’re awesome. The second reason is that everyone wants kick ass professional photos for their websites. Use this advantage dude (or female dude). Getting a follow link from a website related to your industry builds trust and Google loves that more than Trump likes praising himself. Here is a simple 4-step method to acquiring links to your website from other wedding vendors:
During “breaks” at a wedding get the contact info from other vendors working the event
After the wedding, reach out to vendors and ask if they would like to use any photos from the past event
Inform vendors that any photos used on a website will require a link back to your website for photo credit
Open a fresh beer in celebration for your brand new link (Rinse & Repeat)
One of the easiest ways to get some quick links is through wedding websites that offer a free vendor search. These are free links, from relevant industry-related sources, which is exactly what any wedding photographer starting a business should be looking for. These links might be “no follow” but they do help, and since they are free should totally be taken advantage of! A couple of quick notable mentions are websites such as Wedding Wire and The Knot. Other wedding websites will offer ads with paid links to vendors (June Bug Weddings, Green Wedding Shoes etc) which can help with bookings but also provide that link value. But spending money sucks so the focus should be on building your own content with internal links, getting links from other wedding vendors and also getting those free links!
Submit Photos To Wedding Blogs
Most wedding photographers are already familiar with the process of submitting weddings to wedding blogs so I intentionally left this method of acquiring links last. The reason is that submitting to wedding blogs can be time-consuming and there is no guarantee that the time invested will result in a link back to your website. However, I do think it is a good practice to submit your best photos to wedding blogs as part of your normal monthly workflow. Not to mention, having your work published can help boost other marketing efforts such as your social presence (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), and give you street cred in the photo community.
Additional Ways To Get Links
Social Media Profiles
Guest Authoring For Product Reviews, Cameras, Presets etc
Wedding Vendor Lists At Venues
For more information on SEO for wedding photographers, or to invest in a one-on-one marketing/mentoring session to boost your wedding photography business, feel free to reach out to me! Blast me an email, DM me on Instagram or give me a holler on Twitter!
About the author. Ryan Horban is an award-winning wedding photographer based in Palm Springs, California.
5 SEO Tips how to write a wedding photography blog
For some wedding photographers, blogging can be a giant pain in the ass. And I totally understand that because blogging isn’t really edge of the seat excitement. However, blogging frequently and effectively is necessary if you want to enhance SEO. Not to mention, writing can also be a factor in helping a bride pick a wedding photographer. This is because the difference between “Photographer A” and “Photographer Z” can sometimes be as simple as “Photographer Z” having a blog that had more personality. And honestly, a photographer should be thinking that every time they create a blog post because the reality is a potential bride could be reading that post in the future. That means every blog post is an audition for a future wedding. Like it or not, your blog is literally your handshake. It is an introduction between you and the potential client. That means definitely don’t be boring when blogging or go into writing a blog post with a DGAF attitude. You are a kick ass creative who got into wedding photography to pursue art and passion so start acting like it! You totally got this. But…..if you are struggling with blogging or writing content that is optimized for SEO here are some tips that will help you out!
1. Know Your Audience / Brand
When most wedding photographers are blogging one thing they can sometimes forget about is their brand. A photographer’s brand should always be entrenched in everything from the style of the website to even the content being drafted in a blog post. For example, if a wedding photographer has a brand that is “Adventurous + Outdoorsy” then the content should definitely call upon those same elements. That means writing about the landscape, native plants, or history of a location where a wedding might be taking place. Inserting anecdotes about personal travels to essentially bring the reader into that theme. Another example could be for a photographer whose brand is “Classic + Romantic”. That person could create content focused on wedding details such as where the dress was purchased, who designed the shoes, what the inspiration was for the wedding decor, etc.
One of the most important things to remember when blogging is to utilize keywords. These keywords help Google understand what a blog post is about and can actually help rank the page higher in search. Let’s say a wedding photographer in Palm Springs shoots a kick ass wedding at Ace Hotel featuring a boho-style bride. That means the following keywords should be used consistently and appropriately throughout the blog post:
Ace Hotel Wedding
These keywords should NOT be blasted like spam, but utilized in headers, metadata and throughout the content in a fashion that flows naturally while also helping search engines know what the blog post is about!
3. Utilize Bridal Questionnaires
The bridal questionnaires are fantastic! I totally love them because they not only give me some basic info about the couple (how they met, how they got engaged etc.), but they can also be used to help provide a more detailed blog post. That means a detailed bridal questionnaire that is worded in a way to help get a bride to open up can totally help you get to that 400-600 words finish line that is recommended blog posts. The wedding photographer can cut and paste these questionnaire answers and plug them into the post to help provide some background info on the couple. This is something that can make the reader give a shit about the people in the photos. Essentially, a wedding photographer can get free content composed by the bride if the questionnaire is worded effectively. That means the only thing you have to worry about is if she is a decent writer!
4. Make Notes At Weddings
In the wedding photography business, everything is about moments. A good photographer utilizing kick ass timing and blasting that shutter the split second a moment happens is the difference between a good photo and a great photo. These moments can be traditional such as when a groom first sees his soon-to-be wife in a wedding dress, or they can be fun like when a drunk groomsman splits his rented dress pants on the dance floor. What is certain is that these amazing and authentic moments happen frequently throughout a wedding day so capture them with the camera and written word. Write down notes in your phone periodically of interesting details that could help your future blog post be more descriptive. What flavor was the wedding cake? Did the bride have a funny/corky laugh? How about the best man or maid of honor speeches? Jotting down some small notes throughout the day will totally help you better remember the day and make blogging about it easier!
5. Write From Your Perspective
One of the things most wedding photographers do when blogging is talk about the bride and the groom. Want to know a little secret? Talking about the couple is not mandatory. In fact, 99.9% of people do not want to read another f**king blog post about “how in love” couple “XYZ” were in there wedding photos. That shit can be boring. So one technique a wedding photographer can use while blogging is writing from their own perspective. That can include things that happened before the event such as preparing for the wedding, thoughts about shooting at the venue, expectations for how the day might go etc. Also, talking about details from shooting the actual wedding such as harsh lighting at the wedding ceremony, lenses used throughout the day, or any challenges from shooting the wedding. Writing the story from the perspective of the wedding photographer can be just as entertaining or informative (if not more) than blogging about the bride and groom.
Bonus Tip: SEO Plugins (Yoast)
There are many different (and free) plugins for WordPress content management system websites available that are great for SEO, but right now one of the best ones is Yoast SEO. This free WordPress plugin is a total must-have for any wedding photographer blogging because it makes keyword optimization easy, checks content for readability, observes linking activity and more. So install the plugin to your WordPress website and follow the guidelines to help get that blog content optimized. Oh and another great thing about Yoast SEO is that the plugin is updated every couple weeks to keep up with Google algorithm changes!
Listen, nobody starts out being good at anything. When you first picked up your camera you sucked, but you got better right? Of course, you did. Writing and blogging are no different. And the good news is the more you write the more fluent you will become, and the easier it will be to pull those crazy thoughts in your head and drop them onto your blog. Your written voice will get sharper which is a tool to help you better connect with brides. So keep blogging and if/when you get frustrated just take a beer or wine break. You got this! Cheers!
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and if you didn’t already know that before reading this article holy butt you might be in some serious f***ing trouble with your wedding business! The good news is you are here because you want to learn about SEO and how it can help your wedding photography, wedding planning or any other wedding-related business. So let me be your guide to the wondrous and magical world of Search Engine Optimization and show you how SEO will help your wedding business! Okay maybe SEO is not magical but it will totally help your wedding business get more clients, make more money and increase your sexiness by 27%. So strap on your saddle and let’s giddy up!
Wedding Photography & SEO: My Journey
Before my career as a wedding photographer began, I worked for an Inc. 500 business in Chicago. Honestly, I f***ing hated that job. What I mean is I felt the conversations during office meetings were always related to money, such as how are we going to increase monthly sales? How are we going to increase quarterly sales? How are we going to break the sales numbers from last year? The job lacked any real form of creative expression and was an absolute soul killer. The work was hardly fulfilling but when I was promoted from a sales position to a marketing position and eventually a position as Vice President of Marketing, that was when I first realized the value of SEO. I was able to see firsthand how small changes to a blog, the production of quality content and systematic link building could directly impact our companies’ visibility, brand, and overall sales figures. What I realized very quickly was that SEO could and did make our company millions of dollars. Thankfully, I gathered this knowledge before I suddenly quit my job on a Friday morning. Because like I said, the job was providing no personal fulfillment and causing me to drink almost daily. And let me clarify that there is nothing wrong with daily drinking as long as it is in the celebratory “life is awesome” form not in the “my job sucks ass and if I hear my alarm clock go off one more time I might shoot someone” form. The good news is now I have a job that is not all about money, and at the same time allows me to create art in a positive environment. I seriously love being a wedding photographer and the journey it has taken me on, but my success as a wedding photography business is significantly attributed to my use of SEO. Now I have a job that keeps a smile on my face, pushes my creativity and allows me to drink daily in celebration because life is awesome!
SEO for Wedding Blogs
So you designed a logo with some f***ing animal surrounded by hand-sketched arrows, purchased “moody” Lightroom presets that erase all trace of the color green, dropped romantic quotes on all your Instagram photos, but for some reason you just aren’t booking enough wedding clients? The above mentioned “photography recipe for success” seems to be working for other wedding photographers you follow but not you. In fact, the only “wedding” inquiries hitting your inbox are from your mom who wants to know if you are free for coffee later this week. “YES, MOM I AM FREE BECAUSE I AM NOT BOOKING ANY DAMN WEDDING CLIENTS!” That sucks. I feel for you buddy. The good news is as long as you have a wedding blog that you actively produce content on you have an opportunity to turn things around! So let’s get started on some of the basics!
Content Is King
Content is everything in the web world and quality content will help you rank higher in search. So what is quality content? Quality content is content relevant to the topic, engaging to the reader and at least 500-750 words long. The content should also be unique. What I mean is DO NOT copy and paste content from one website and use it on your wedding blog! Most importantly, don’t be boring. Seriously. I can’t tell you how much I personally hate reading a wedding blog post that is the same generic, “Oh my gosh the couple was so fun” bullshit. I saw the wedding photos. They did not look they were having fun in those photos. They looked boring AF. That is probably why you had them hold hands on a mountain top, then look away from each other before you ran like 100 yards away to take the photo. What I am saying is to make sure the content accurately reflects the mood of the photographs. And instead of writing about, “How fun the couple were”, talk about specifics. Stories that help the reader connect to the subjects. For example, like the time the groom went running with the bulls, or how the bride spilled red wine on her dress but laughed the whole thing off. That is way better content because it is personal and something that helps pull the reader into your story. Honestly, the number one thing wedding photographers and other wedding industry people say to me is that they hate blogging because they don’t know what to talk about. Okay, I get that. But also remember that writing is a skill and all skills require practice. You will get better and your written voice will get sharper so practice, practice, practice and write about things that help the reader better feel the story.
Here are my Top 5 tips that will help wedding photographers create content for their wedding blog post:
Dedicate a paragraph to your personal opinions on the wedding venue (pros/cons of a wedding at Ace Hotel)
Dedicate a paragraph to how the bride and groom met (I ask this in my initial email before booking)
Let your personality shine (Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself or express your opinions)
Talk about some of the funny/romantic/your favorite moments from the wedding day
Use keywords (Wedding Venue/Wedding Location/Etc)
(For more information on creating quality content that is optimized for wedding SEO please read my article, “SEO Blogging Tips For Wedding Photographers”)
Links are suuuuuuuper important when it comes to blogging so they should always be on your mind when writing an article. Think of a link as a referral. When you link to another website you are basically saying, “these guys are cool and you should check them out”. So be careful who you link your wedding website with! Actually STOP! Right f***ing now STOP! Before you read any further open up a new tab, Google ‘Broken Link Checker” and put your website in a broken link checking the website. Broken links are BAD for SEO and so the first thing you want to do is fix any broken links that might be on your website.
Okay cool….Hopefully, you did not have any broken links! Now let’s get back to the link party!
Linking is something you want to be careful with because you want to be linking to relevant sources that will help the reader. Here is an example of a link strategy that has become popular among many wedding bloggers and wedding photographers, but really is something that needs to stop.
What you see in the above photo is a list of wedding vendors who worked the event with the wedding photographer. The wedding photographer then links to each and every one of the wedding vendors. DUMB! The reason? Because a) these wedding vendors are most likely not linking back to the wedding photographer (meaning the wedding photographer is giving out link juice for free) and b) some of the websites are pretty crappy. Now listen, I am all about giving people credit and you should totally let your readers know who the wedding florist, wedding DJ and whoever else worked the event was. But linking to them is a whole different bag of potatoes. If the wedding vendor is not linking to you, don’t waste your time linking to them. How I see it is if they aren’t that keen on the value of links there is a good probability they might not even be in business in 5 years. So that just means a higher potential for a broken link in the future. And as I mentioned before, you want to use your links wisely so they have the most strength. So think less is more. Unless of course, you know how to set the link to “no follow”.
Here are my Top 5 tips that will help wedding photographers with a link strategy
Don’t go crazy with links. Use the one link per paragraph rule
Link to your homepage, another article on your wedding blog, and a source link (wedding venue/city/etc)
Remove broken links or at least use a plugin that redirects broken links to your homepage
Contact other wedding vendors who worked the wedding and message them when your blog post is live that if they want any photos for their wedding websites all you ask in return is a link to your homepage.
(For more information on link building strategy for wedding SEO please read my article, “Link Building For Wedding Photographers”)
Fact: Having the best taco bar in the world doesn’t mean shit if it is located in Antarctica. Having the best wedding photos in the world also doesn’t mean shit if nobody is looking at them. My point is traffic is everything, and at this very moment traffic is probably the most powerful signal Google uses in search engine results placement (SERP). And rightfully so! Google does not want to be the one generating all your website traffic. They want you sending traffic to your website, not the other way around. The good news is that getting website traffic is one of the easiest things to do if you are a wedding photographer or wedding professional!
Here are my Top 5 tips that will help wedding photographers increase website traffic
Blog the wedding BEFORE sending the completed wedding photos to the client. Text/email them the link
Share the wedding blog post on social media (Instagram stories/Facebook/Twitter etc)
Tag all the other wedding vendors who worked the wedding with you on social media
Email wedding vendors that the wedding blog post is live and if they want any wedding photos for their website all you ask in return is a link to your website
I can’t think of a 5th point off the top of my head so I am going to grab a IPA instead. You should do the same.
(For more information on increasing website traffic for wedding SEO please read my article, “How To Get Traffic For My Wedding Blog”)
SEO For Wedding Photographers
SEO is a constantly evolving science so it is important to always keep up with the shifting ranking signals and the things that Google places value on. And to be completely honest the SEO tips I mentioned above are like 1% of the things wedding photographers should be doing to increase their search engine results placement. I will continue to update my wedding photography blog with SEO tips to make life on your side of this article easier, but the best thing to do if you want to fix your SEO troubles is schedule a private consultation with me. That way I can take a deeper and more detailed look at your wedding blog to see what can be improved. Until then, cheers to you for making it though this article regarding SEO for wedding photographers! I wish you and your wedding business success and top rankings!
Feel free to direct message me on Instagram or tweet me your SEO questions!
White Swan Creative is a full-service web design and SEO company dedicated to helping wedding creatives take their businesses to the next level. We are thankful for all the small businesses from wedding officiants to wedding photographers who have trusted us to help them with their online marketing goals. However, there are a handful of wedding professionals we must take a moment to thank individually for allowing us to utilize some of their beautiful work for our website. These wedding creatives are:
When I first started my wedding photography business back in 2012 all I wanted to do was shoot. At that time I felt if I could simply improve my technique, purchase the latest “hot” Lightroom presets being touted on Instagram/Facebook, and invest in more expensive camera gear that I would have no trouble booking weddings. Because those 3 things are supposed to make a wedding photographer better and a better photographer gets booked more right? Wrong. In fact, that thinking was DAAAAYYYYYYYYMN wrong! Sure improving our technique and story-telling is something we should all strive for as artists, but being an exceptional photographer DOES NOT mean you will get hired. In fact, I know many, many amazingly talented photographers who either a) struggle booking the number of weddings they want to book per year or b) get paid far less than their skills would typically demand. And that really sucks. However, the reality is if you want to run a successful wedding photography business 50% of your efforts should be focused on the “Photography” portion and the other 50% on the “Business” portion. I am here to talk a little about the “Business” side of those efforts and more specifically Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how utilizing SEO can help your wedding photography business. Not to mention, the value of having a SEO mentor who works specifically with wedding photographers. So prepare yourself to take off on a magical ride and journey into the wondrous world of SEO! Now let’s saddle up our unicorns and fly into what SEO is and why it matters for your photography business!
What The Fuck Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it basically refers to building your website in a fashion that makes it more favorable to search engines such as Google. The reason why businesses spend so much time on SEO is that a website that is optimized effectively will have better results in search engine results placement (SERP). What SEO means for you is when you create a website that is SEO-friendly and optimized correctly it can help your business rank higher on Google so when a bride is looking for a wedding photographer where you offer services she will find you before Photos By Deb.
Why SEO Matters For Your Photography Business
Let’s keep this real simple. A well-optimized website will mean more visibility for your photography business. More visibility means more inquiries, and more inquiries mean more bookings. More bookings mean more money for champagne and pizza. This can all be explained in the Harvard sponsored “Money, Champagne, Pizza” mathematical equation:
Being found first matters. It matters a lot actually because soon-to-be brides will book the first photographer they meet or have contact with over 70% of the time. Once a bride finds you, they check out your photos, and if they like what they see they reach out. That is when your sales game takes over and you close that shit!
The issue with most wedding professionals is that they are artists and often times they focus so much on the artistry of their craft that they neglect some of the Business 101 stuff. I get that and certainly want all creatives to put artistry at the forefront of their business, but I also want to make sure artists can pay their rent and eat first. I mean how are you going to be featured on a wedding blog, get a shit ton of “likes” in a Facebook group such as LooksLikeFilm, or get one of those fancy RangeFinder Top 30 awards if you can’t even pay your cell phone bill? SEO can help with that!
SEO Mentoring Sessions: What To Expect
Expect to learn something that will not only be instantly valuable to your wedding photography business but also a skill-set that will help you in any business venture you pursue in the future. In the photography community, everyone wants to sell you something whether it be Lightroom presets or workshops, but those things do nothing in terms of visibility for your business. Presets and workshops will certainly help you grow as an artist, but learning the basics of SEO will help you actually get more wedding inquires (Money, Champagne, Pizza).
SEO Mentor Investment
Those looking to beef up their wedding photography websites to make them more SEO friendly can choose from the following SEO package options:
90 Minute Consultation
Review Of Website
Internal/External Link Structure
Title & Meta Tag Optimization
5 Hours of Kick Ass SEO Consultation
Review Of Website
Title & Meta Tag Optimization
Internal/External Link Structure
Traffic Driving Strategies
Utilization Of Social Networks
Client Booking Strategies
TwoMonthly Follow Ups (One Hour Website Reviews)
SEO Topics We Will Cover
Everyone has a different level of expertise when it comes to SEO so the first step would be evaluating your current website, going over the basics, and developing an SEO plan that can work within your personal workflow. Depending on the package selected, we will cover a broad range of topics so that you can take these techniques and drive them like swords into your competition. I want you to visualize the movie 300, but with even greasier and buffer men. You are that man (or woman)!
SEO Mentor: Why Should I Listen To You?
I always say you probably should not take financial advice from a homeless person so you certainly should not take SEO advice from someone who is not currently implementing and effectively utilizing proper SEO techniques. Because let’s be honest, there are some pretty big-named wedding photographers out there right now who talk about SEO techniques but can’t even get their own websites on page 1. You want results, not hype.
Here is a little background info on me, my businesses and SEO expertise
Was Vice President of Marketing for an Inc. 500 business that focused solely on SEO & online marketing
Started an e-commerce business that currently has numerous Page 1 ranking for multiple terms including “Tracking System“
Currently, work closely with top SEO mentors and SEO companies to keep up with the ever-changing Google algorithms
*SEO advice is like workout advice, I can tell you what foods to eat and exercises to do but if you want to see kick ass results you are gonna have to move your buns. Learning the basics is critical to helping your website become more SEO friendly, but it requires continuous effort. There is no quick fix or magic unicorn that can fly you to the top of the search rankings overnight.
About the author. Ryan Horban is an award-winning wedding photographer based in Palm Springs, California.