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Archive 2012 · My report on your SEO
TomHarmon
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · My report on your SEO


Thanks to everyone who joined in the SEO critique. I can keep doing it throughout the week if you’d like.

But I wanted to stop and give you guys my thoughts. After going through many websites, there are some really clear facts that were hitting me in the face. I’ll try to break this down into two sections, so you know what’s important to work on.

On-site optimization
This is always first. You cant start ranking for something unless you tell Google what to you want to rank for. Plain and simple. When I checked your website against the keyword you wanted to rank for, 90% of you did not have that keyword in your title, headings, meta description, bold and italic text or all of the above. If you want to rank for “City Name Wedding Photographer”, that’s the exact phrase you want all over your site. Some of you might say, “Well, I did have that phrase. My title says ‘City Name Wedding and Portrait Photographer’, so the keyword “City Name Wedding Photographer” is right there”. Yes, but this is not how Google sees it. Nobody searches “City Name Wedding, Portrait, and Newborn photographer” but that’s what you are telling Google you want to rank for. Break it up. Try “City Name Wedding Photographer | City Name Portrait Photographer” or something similar.

So when you pick your main keyword, put it first in your title, as your h1 tag, in your meta description, a few image alt tags and a few times in your block of SEO text. Make sure Google makes no mistake about what you want to rank for.

And onto the block of SEO text. Yup, it sucks. Yup, it looks terrible and ruins some design elements. But it’s vital to showing Google what your website is about. The general consensus is that at least 300 words is needed. So it’s up to you how you want to work it into the design. Just don’t hide the text (white text on a white background, etc.) as it’s against Google’s policy. I have my text in light grey at 8px font, but when you rollover with your mouse, it goes to black 10px font so you can read it if you want. It’s clear that its there, but it’s not obnoxious. And what do you want in your block of text. Well, anything you’d like. Just write what you’re about and what you do, and bold or italicize any keywords or venue names. Pretty simple.

My final point for on-site work: Static home pages work best. Blogs as front pages tend to rotate text around and your rankings can be all over the place.
So just optimize your home page for your keyword, then don’t touch it.

Backlinks
This is where the leg work comes in and people are more than happy to pay for SEO services. 1 back link equals your url on someone else’s website. So all you got to do is get people to list your url on their site. Easy right? Yeah not so much. It’s hard to get your site listed on popular websites that have a lot of juice and you can go crazy just listing with a million no name directories.

But if you have slim to none back links, anything helps. Search for any business, photography, or wedding related directories that you can add your website to. Some are free, some are for link exchange, and some are for pay. The free ones are fine, but I just wouldn’t pay for anything. Local directories are great too.
Also, comment on some of your favorite photo blogs. It’s not a whole lot of link juice, but like I said, anything helps. Just make sure you can add your website url to your comment.
You can reach out to your family and friends and ask them to add your site to their site.
You can join some photography forums that allow your website in your signature. I’m not going to give you any on here, but there are forums abound everywhere. So every time you comment on a thread, your signature shows up and equals a link.
And when you get lazy, or want to do things the smart way, go to opensiteexplorer.org and type in your competitors website to see where they are getting their backlinks. It works wonders finding new avenues.
Exchange links with other local vendors.
Try to get your pictures featured on some big wedding blogs.
Review some products and do a blog post.
When you get a healthy bunch of small backlinks, then you can try other things like article submission and link bating, but those are also pretty time consuming. The main objective is to get your website url on as many other websites as possible, preferably ones that relate to photography and/or weddings. It's a numbers game

All in all, SEO is a process. If you do it right it takes time, but it will give you staying power when you reach the top. I noticed one trend when I was looking at all your websites. The people that had the exact keyword they want to rank for all over their website AND had a good amount of backlinks, are the ones that were ranking better. Thanks for listening and I hope I’ve helped a few wrap their heads around better SEO.

-Tom



Mar 13, 2012 at 08:10 PM
SGallant
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · My report on your SEO


Tom,

Thanks for the information here. And more so, thanks for taking the time to review my site as well as others here on FM. Very Kind of you, and I am sure that kind of Karma will pay off in spades! Have a kick ass day.


Cheers,

Sean



Mar 13, 2012 at 09:00 PM
ShaneMD
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · My report on your SEO


Hey Tom, I appreciate the time you took to do that. I also appreciate how you wrote it up here so I can understand it. Now it's time to try working on it..

Thanks again,



Mar 13, 2012 at 09:11 PM
johnrg
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · My report on your SEO


Good stuff, Tom, you've provided a bunch of helpful hints. Thanks!


Mar 13, 2012 at 10:23 PM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · My report on your SEO


I am glad you mentioned all of this... with that said, I need to go to my homepage and make sure I have implemented everything I already know how to do because I bet I haven't really done everything I can to maximize my SEO and I already know all of this stuff


Mar 13, 2012 at 10:31 PM
patrickphoto
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · My report on your SEO


Make sure the backlink text says what you want. Google sees the difference of Click HERE (with only here linked) and click to see more INCREDIBLE LANDSCAPE IMAGES (incredible landscape images is linked). This is one of the largest keyword indexing elements on googles system.



Mar 13, 2012 at 10:37 PM
tobicus
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · My report on your SEO


Good stuff Tom. We've been learning SEO in our spare time, and it's slow going, but we've moved from page 45 or so to page 5 on Google for our primary kw, so we're going to keep at it and see if it starts leading to inquiries.


Mar 13, 2012 at 10:50 PM
WilsonImages
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · My report on your SEO


tag to remember, thanks


Mar 13, 2012 at 11:16 PM
joosay
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · My report on your SEO


as long as the seo blurb isn't the same color as the bg, it's alright? Would it be bad if I used the blurb as a footer (shows up at the bottom of every page)?

Also, does it matter if I don't have the mouseover text enlarge like yours?



Mar 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM
TomHarmon
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · My report on your SEO


joosay wrote:
as long as the seo blurb isn't the same color as the bg, it's alright? Would it be bad if I used the blurb as a footer (shows up at the bottom of every page)?

Also, does it matter if I don't have the mouseover text enlarge like yours?

The design is up to you. Googles algorithm is pretty advanced, so as long as you're not trying to game the system, you should be alright. You don't have to have the text expand.



Mar 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



pinktutu
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · My report on your SEO


So out of curiosity, how would google know you have white text on white background and what are the repercussions? I am not really SEO savvy, so those are real questions.

Also, thank you for your help! Really appreciate that you took and are taking the time to help us.



Mar 14, 2012 at 01:00 AM
HubbardJA
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · My report on your SEO


^ Websites are all built on code. The code defines (tells the browser) the background color and the text color. If google sees both colors are defined as the same... it's a good bet that text isn't meant to be seen.


Mar 14, 2012 at 01:14 AM
TheGE
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · My report on your SEO


patrickphoto wrote:
Make sure the backlink text says what you want. Google sees the difference of Click HERE (with only here linked) and click to see more INCREDIBLE LANDSCAPE IMAGES (incredible landscape images is linked). This is one of the largest keyword indexing elements on googles system.


You mean the "anchor" text? The actual text phrase that constitutes the clickable part of the link? Such as if I had
New York City Wedding Photographer is a keyword indexing element more so than simply click here so you say? Good to know. Ahem.



Mar 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM
TomHarmon
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · My report on your SEO


TheGE wrote:
You mean the "anchor" text? The actual text phrase that constitutes the clickable part of the link? Such as if I had
New York City Wedding Photographer is a keyword indexing element more so than simply click here so you say? Good to know. Ahem.

Yes, always use anchor text when you can.



Mar 14, 2012 at 01:17 AM
stevez32
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · My report on your SEO


TheGE wrote:
You mean the "anchor" text? The actual text phrase that constitutes the clickable part of the link? Such as if I had
New York City Wedding Photographer is a keyword indexing element more so than simply click here so you say? Good to know. Ahem.



I see what you did there, very sneaky of you



Mar 14, 2012 at 01:33 AM
michael_antoi
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · My report on your SEO


Hey Tom, I've recently added that blurb of text onto my front page.

www.knmphoto.com.au

Is this what you are saying about front page text? It's ugly as all hell but if it will help my SEO then I guess I will have to put up with it.



Mar 14, 2012 at 04:16 AM
patrickphoto
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · My report on your SEO


Yup. And get a decent understanding of broken links. Have your site checked for them as well. Google despises broken links




Mar 14, 2012 at 05:22 AM
eNoBlog
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · My report on your SEO


Thanks, Tom. Went from white text to light gray, and stuffed it at the bottom of the page, letting my visual elements come first. I'm actually thinking about putting it on the side, as I think it would work visually. Now onto my 300 words. Shouldn't be hard. I can be verbose and wordy when needed.


Mar 14, 2012 at 05:30 AM
patrickphoto
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · My report on your SEO


I would reconsider the 300 words to max instead of minimum. Not sure where that number came from, but you can hurt your PageRank with that many or more.


Mar 14, 2012 at 05:37 AM
a2rob
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · My report on your SEO


Great information, thanks!!


Mar 14, 2012 at 11:20 AM
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