If you’ve ever tried your hand at blogging, you know it’s a difficult task. What do you write about? What should it sound like? How do you make it helpful and meaningful and, maybe most important, how do you get people to READ it?
Chances are, if you’ve Googled “photographers” and “blogging” you’ve run across the Photography Spark website, created by blogging mastermind Zach Prez. Zach uses his internet marketing experience and SEO expertise to write thoughtful posts aimed at helping photographers run their businesses successfully. He’s also been featured in widely-respected works such as Professional Photographer Magazine and This Week in Photography.
We were excited to chat with Zach and pick his brain. First, we asked him why blogging and SEO are important. Zach explained that blogging creates content to be searched for on the web, and that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the number one way new people will find you. “You can have all the content in the world, but it’s no good if no one can find it,” he told us.
Zach was happy to share his top ten tricks of the trade when it comes to blogging:
1. Every time you make a new blog post, it’s a new page that can be found in a search. So, think about it like this: if you put up a new blog post once a week, that’s 52 search items you’ve given your website in that year alone.
2. Don’t name your posts with people’s names. A common trend is to title blog posts with the clients’ names in them, like “Susie + John – A Special Wedding.” However, Zach points out that what you name the post is how people will find it, so if you want to be found in a search for “backyard weddings in Los Angeles,” then those words should be included in the title of the blog post. “Google is looking for pages with that specific name in it,” he explained.
3. Vary your blog post names and your title. “Every title should be very unique,” Zach told us. If all of your posts are about the same things, then people can only find you for that one specific category of things. If you’re blogging weekly, then you want to be found for every single different thing you blog about.
4. Optimize your images. After Google looks at the title of your blog post, it looks at your photos. “So,” Zach explained, “your photos need to describe what your session is about.” How do you do this? “An image is optimized first by its alternate tag, then by the caption, and then by its filename.” Zach says the caption can be any text that appears near the image, and then the filename needs to describe the image itself. He notes that it’s not worth going back and optimizing all your images, just those in your top posts and the photos in all of your posts from now on.
5. Write a super post. “If you are trying to rank [on Google] for something, you want to rank for your best thing,” Zach says. If there is a lot of valuable information in your post, a reader is more likely to be interested (or a client is more likely to hire you) because the post is comprehensive.
6. Keep your best post at the top or front of your blog. Zach suggests using a “sticky post” to anchor it a feature post because it prioritizes it for Google. That way, you’re more likely to rank in searches and more likely to convert the sale.
7. Make your blog your homepage. – A Flash site can hurt your search rankings; you’ll see more results if your blog is your first page, rather than a static homepage.
8. Posting regularly helps SEO. “Google wants a fresh site that is constantly being added to,” Zach explains. Post something at least once a month, and once a week is even better.
9. Participating in other sites makes you more popular. Search engines priorities their rankings based on which site is most popular, and popularity is determined by how many different sites you are on. “Do interviews, participate in speaking engagements, form partnerships, and chat in online forums,” Zach suggests, so that all of those others will mention you and link back to your site.
10. The person with the most links ranks first for everything they create. “Focus on getting links! Usually it takes about 50 or more linkbacks to rank #1 in a web search,” Zach says. It’s difficult and time consuming (it can take a whole year or longer), but he says you could do everything else on this list perfectly, but nobody will be there to see it unless you take the time to get mentioned on other websites.
Zach Prez has written more than a dozen ebooks for photographers, including his widely popular SEO Cookbook. He also has a bunch of freebies, hundreds of articles, tutorials, tips, and advice for growing your business.
We’d love to know: What one thing on this list will you implement in your blogging ASAP? Comment below!