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Derek Cladek
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I Work With Local Business Owners To Market Their Businesses Online
I Work With Local Business Owners To Market Their Businesses Online

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I wanted to give some insight into what 'spamming' google really is. I've got years of experience with it :) 

As an SEO I've seen businesses come and go.. and I've tested spamming tactics and seen websites of mine rank extremely well. But in the end they never last.. at least they won't stay on the first page of Google for the main keywords.

As as photographer, you probably don't need to worry too much about 'spamming' Google, but there are a few guidelines you can follow that will help your website rank better.

(Just a note) People who legitimately spam Google are posting hundreds of pieces of content on Google with links back to their websites. (I'm talking about getting junk articles posted on other websites that have nothing to do with the website they are linking to)

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Getting links to your website is completely fine if you are doing it naturally and from other relevant websites.

Spammy links would be something with the link text as wedding photographer city or City wedding photographer and you do that over and over and over .. and then you go out to other websites and get those same exact text links to your website <-- that's a big no, no.

Natural links would be anything such as Your Business Name or www.yourphotographywebsiteaddress.com and even a few times you can use the link text as a photographer specializing in weddings or local wedding photographer in city

Don't freak out when you get links from other websites that naturally link to you. If they put city wedding photographer that's not necessarily a bad thing.. its when the majority of your links say the same thing.. *Think.. *is it natural if you have 50 links that say the same thing?

People who really want to rank for a specific term like St Louis Family Photographer will go out and get all of their links to their website saying that exact phrase. That is spammy links.

So by all means put links on your post with just your website address or business name <-- these are called Branded Links and that is what Google likes to see. It just becomes bad or spammy if all of your links are specific keywords and/or from unrelated websites.

*A lot of people could rank better on Google just by doing what is called *On Page SEO <-- this means they need to work on optimizing their personal website. I've seen a TON of photography websites that don't even have their location in their title tag or their specific location listed on their website. Even by having their address in the footer could help, as well as having the city they are targeting listed throughout their website. *Hint Hint +Kayla Williams :)

**Also whenever you post pictures to your website, you can save the image as your keyword you want to rank for. For instance if you want to rank for St Louis Family Photographer save your images with that text so it would be stlouisfamilyphotographer.jpg and mix it up so your images have many variations of your keywords. (ie - stlouisfamilyphotography.jpg, familyphotographerinstlouis.jpg, etc.)

Recently Google has put a focus on your on-page info. On-Page is everything on your own website, the website you want to rank. Have your keywords naturally throughout your website and say the same thing in many different ways. Google knows if your a wedding photographer just by the content you post, so using many variations of that keyword will help you in the long run. Same with other keywords, family photographer, family photography, family pictures, etc.

Hope this helps!

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Case Study!

If you want to rank on Google for specific terms like '*St Louis Family Photographer*' you need to let Google know that!

So how do we tell Google what our website is about? 
--> Title Tags
--> The website URL (this is the stuff that comes after your _domain.com/this-stuff-is-another-page-on-your-site_)
--> The content within the actual page that you want to rank. This page needs at minimum 500 words and needs the keywords you want to rank for scattered around.. and it must sound natural.. So don't just use your keywords if its not natural!! <-- Highly Important!
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+Emily Lucarz volunteered for this case study :)

She wants to rank for 'St Louis Family Photographer' and since she lives outside of the city, she won't be able to rank within the Maps listing, so she will have to rank above those listings. Google - St Louis Family Photographer.

I show 3 websites that are above the 'Maps' listings.

Anne Meintrup is number 3 as of this post. (I have uploaded a screenshot of the page that is ranking) She has a title tag with her keyword, location and her business name, as well as her website address is targeting the same keywords. The content on the page is also targeting this same keyword (family photographer/photography). 
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Emily wants to also rank for this term, but she doesn't have any pages that specifically target Family Photography .. I get confused just looking for the page that should be targeting that term.. As well, she doesn't have content within her main family page that target this keywords.

Title tags, 'heading tags', and the content of the page will help Google determine what the page is about. As well, your Images should be titled st-louis-family-photography.jpg, or st-louis-family-photographer-session.jpg

A good thing to do is look at other websites that are ranking well. What are they doing that is different than you? Are they writing a lot of information, are they posting a bunch of pictures? You need to see what they are doing. This is just the very smallest tip of the SEO ice berg. 

Hope it helps!
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2014-02-26
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I'm not a photographer.. but I know SEO. I live this stuff and have since 2006. I have a passion for helping people.. I recently helped a friend who is a photographer to crush her competition on Google. Not only does she rank well, but she stands out. So.. its important for you to "Stand" out..

Google - Maple Valley Wedding Photographer.. there is only 1 listing that stands out and has multiple listings! Who do you think will get the phone calls?

Here are a few pointers:

Problem: Stay Away From Flash websites! Most photographers will go with a cool looking flash site, yet they don't know how much harder they are to rank on Google. Flash, although nice looking, will make your life harder.

Solution: Stick with Wordpress based themes. They are super easy to edit! There are tons of widgets you can use with a wordpress site that will help you in the long run!

*SEO is important, but don't neglect building your Facebook Fan page! Most of your business will probably come from referrals, rather than ranking high on Google. People trust the opinions of their friends & family.. so engaging with people on Facebook is huge for any photographer.

Google is a "long term" strategy and depending  on your location can take many months for you to show up on the first page of the maps listings!

--> Be sure to write a good amount of content per post. Use your keywords within your title AND the content of your post.. but make sure it sounds natural. 

Good Title: John Doe Photography - Serving Seattle WA

Good Title: Wedding Photographer Located In Seattle WA

Bad Title: John Doe Wedding Photographer - Family Photographer - Portrait Photographer

Bad Title: Photographer, Wedding Photographer, Family Photography, Seattle WA

--> SEO is also about what you do off your website.

Do you help a local business, maybe you are the photographer for a local school. These businesses also have websites, so asking for a link from some of your business contacts will help you. 
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I'll leave you with that. Let me know what questions you have!

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Crazy cold here in Alaska today! -9 this morning (thats NEGATIVE NINE) I miss warm weather!
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Love this beach
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I took this picture with my iphone while driving home the other day. Its already #Fall  in #Alaska  and its only September! Can't believe the trees are already turning yellow! Guessing it will be an early winter here!
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#SEO  Tip For #Photographers  - Google Authorship helps you stand out on regular searches, not just local Maps. Every page you create can show your profile image, your name as well as how many people have you in their circles! 

Being social is important for all business types! Google has changed the game with authorship and how you can directly impact how you show up!
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#SEO  tips for #Photographers  - Your business page isn't completely setup unless if there is an area for your clients to leave you a review.

If your page looks like this image, then its not fully setup. You must 'Verify' your address with Google by requesting a postcard with a Pin Number to be sent to you.

Once verified your Google Business Page will look different than this image. - Biggest change, you will have an area for people to leave you a review! Which is huge for getting new business. #Businesstips  
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Its amazing how many #photographers  or even just local business owners DON'T have #authorship added onto their websites. Having Google Authorship not only helps you stand out from the crowd, but it also increases how many people will visit your website. This image is an easier way of added the authorship 'code' that you need.

After adding your authorship code, you will then need to go to your Google Plus profile >>About >>Under 'Links' add your website as 'Contributor to' and that is it!

Use this Google tool to see if it works http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets <- Test your website address here, it should show your profile picture and name next to your website.

Easy #SEO  tip
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