Apr
24
2013

5 SEO Link Building Strategies For Photographers

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If you’re reading this post then you already understand the importance of SEO (and by extension, link building) for your photography business. More than likely, you already have a website and/or blog that you hope to get onto page 1 as quickly as possible. But, before we get into how to start building links to help you outrank your competition, it’s important to approach the issue of link building correctly. Many link building tactics may have a quick effect on your search rankings, but will not provide lasting results. I got together with my friend from Get The Clicks, and we’ve brainstormed together the methods described below. These are for people looking for long term, stable results rather than just a quick gimmick to fool Google for a few weeks or even months. In other words, roll up your sleeves. This is going to take some work and patience.

Guest Blogging

The idea behind guest blogging is pretty simple: you find a fellow photographer or photography website with a blog and offer to create some content for them, which will include an author bio with a backlink to your website. Besides the obvious Atlanta local SEO value of the link itself, the benefits of guest posting also include putting your brand in front of hundreds if not thousands of potential prospects that you couldn’t reach any other way. Sounds great, right? The bad news is that while the theory is easy enough, this strategy requires some work in order to identify the best guest blogging opportunities as well as some ideas on how to go about performing effective blog outreach campaigns. Though the ins and outs of properly executing this strategy are far too in-depth for this post, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Look for the opportunities on well-designed/popular websites
  • Look at what their other posts are about to get an idea about their readers
  • Use tools to analyze the social metrics of the site
  • Craft a well-written approach letter
  • Over-deliver on the promised content
  • Follow-up with the blog owner and any reader comments
  • Repeat several times per month (preferably on different sites)

Creative Commons (CC) Licensing

Releasing your images under creative commons license that requires attribution is another excellent strategy for link building. Flickr and Fotopedia are probably the biggest and most well-known image sharing sites that explicitly allow members to choose which images can be used for commercial and private use as well as the CC licensing options. However, attribution links will usually point to the site that hosts the images, so you may want to host the images on your own site.

Pinterest

Some people may be wondering why I included Pinterest on this list since the links on the “re-pins” are all “no-follow.” It’s simple; Pinterest is hot and hot means lots of traffic. Whenever you have lots of traffic to a social media website, you have the potential to leverage that traffic in a variety of ways, including earning links. While it’s true that any “re-pins” you get will have the “no-follow” tag, it’s very unlikely that your images will ONLY be shared via a re-pin. According to one case study, exposure on Pinterest is a springboard to acquiring backlinks from a wide range of other sites such as Google images, blogs and similar sites because it helps your content get found by both the automated aggregators (Google images) as well as content hungry webmasters (bloggers) that don’t mind giving you a link attribution in exchange for embedding an image. Here’s a quick summary of one guide to using Pinterest for backlinking:

  1. Create a list of target keywords/topics
  2. Prioritize that list according to priority in terms of search volume, current rank, etc.
  3. Search Pinterest for relevant content
  4. Cherry pick the best people/websites to contact for outreach
  5. Interact with those chosen in step 4 via Pinterest and/or other social media platforms (e.g. re-pin their content and/or share it on a blog post)
  6. Determine which ones are the most receptive (i.e. reciprocation of social shares) and approach them for a guest blogging/similar collaboration

Directories

Directory links have become almost taboo in the Post-Penguin SEO landscape. However, getting links from any directory isn’t the problem. The real issue is when you attempt to get a bunch of links from low quality directories that are filled with SPAM and/or completely unrelated to your business. High quality directories can still give you a leg up on the competition. In addition to these more well-known link sources, photographers also have a few niche directories that can get you some valuable links. I compiled this list by finding one photography directory on the SEOmoz SEO Web Directory List (The Photographer Directory) and then using the Open Site Explorer Comparison Tool to analyze potential directories found through Google.

  1. Photography Directory Project
  2. Pro’s Photos
  3. DP Photo Journal
  4. Photography Homepages
  5. Photographers.com
  6. Photolinks
  7. Photoclicks
  8. Cool Photoblogs
  9. Photography Sites
  10. Photo Shelter

Wedding Photographers:

  1. Fearless Photographers
  2. The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP)
  3. NY Mag: Wedding Photographer Directory
  4. Best Wedding Sites
  5. Wedding Photo USA

 

Local Public Relations

Don’t be afraid to go old school. Offering a free workshop or series of classes on photography related subjects can have a big impact on your website rankings, especially for local search terms. Nothing tells Google that your site is relevant for San Francisco wedding photographer like a link from the SF Chronicle with the headline of “Local Wedding Photographer Teaches Brides How to Be More Photogenic on Their Big Day.” Once you have the class or classes organized, a simple press release mailed out (email and post of course) to all of the media outlets, your local chamber of commerce and any other organization that helps to spread the word about upcoming events will get the ball rolling. Most of these places will also have websites so when they publish the information in print along with your website URL for more information, they will also be putting it on their websites as a backlink. As the event draws closer, be sure to invite the press to attend as well and you may even be able to squeeze out another couple of backlinks when they do the write up on the actual class. Google loves these types of links because they can’t be faked. That makes them very high quality and much more valuable than other links which are easier to get.

Picking Your Strategy

Deciding how to spend your time getting backlinks to your site is going to depend on what you feel comfortable doing. Also note, that miami SEO is not the same as Los Angeles SEO. For some people, trying to come up with content for a guest post or sitting down to write the post itself sounds too much like high school detention. For others, the time required to teach a class coupled with their fear of public speaking may make that option impossible. It all depends on what you think your strengths and weaknesses are. However, I would challenge you to pick the one you are most uncomfortable with and make it work. Once you can prove to yourself that it works and it wasn’t so bad, the rest will come easy. Scared of speaking in front of people? Go teach that class. Do you think it’s hard to put 500 words together? Write a tutorial on how to set the exposure for that perfect shot at twilight. Try each strategy at least once; you never know what you might learn about yourself or how it could change your business.

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