Do I Need a Photography Blog For SEO?

Ah, the photography blog question. I’ve seen this pop up in a few online communities, so I wanted to address a few things about photography blogging, why photographers use it for SEO, and whether or not you really need one in order to boost your results in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

Photography Blogs and the SEO Benefits

By nature, our work is visual. The old adage that a photo is worth a thousand words is remarkably true, except when it comes to SEO. Search engines do find value in images (if you optimize your photos for SEO), but words are really what helps them determine context and relevance. Our portfolios and galleries offer a little bit of SEO juice, but nothing like a blog does, where keywords can be used in abundance and the content is updated regularly (or at least often enough, in some cases).

Blogging offers photographers a chance to update copy, apply keyword diversity from keyword research, and use image-based SEO to help in their organic efforts. It’s also a place to show off your talent with the latest photos and help potential clients get a feel for your style, your personality, the way you work, and how you might fit with what they’re looking for.

Another big benefit of having a photography blog is that it provides more link-building opportunities for your site. A part of good SEO is having other reputable websites link (with a DoFollow link) to individual pages and posts on your site. While it can be difficult to get other sites to link to static pages like your galleries or general home page, blog posts usually address one moment or one topic, making them individually applicable to a variety of different audiences. Thus, great content on a blog is much more shareable and linkable. So if you are going the blog route, create thoughtfully.

An Intro to UTM Tags in Photography Marketing

When it comes to photography marketing, a lot of photographers struggle with how to get started. I don’t blame them. If marketing isn’t your first language, there is a lot of information to absorb and it isn’t always easy to understand what to prioritize.  One of the ways to help make those priorities more clear is to look at your data.

Website Analytics for Photographers

My favorite analytics platform is Google Analytics. It’s free, and once you get started you’ll find it fairly straightforward to use. Most content management systems (CMSs) have their own analytics solutions, as well. For example, if you use WordPress (as I do), you might have Jetpack installed and you can see your site stats at a glance when you log-in to the Dashboard.

Built-in analytics are great for a glance every now and then, but for your measuring and decision making, it’s important to get comfortable with something more robust. Google Analytics also syncs with your website management tools, like Search Console and Google Adwords. You might not use all of those services, but in the event that you do later on, everything can be integrated.

Measuring Photography Marketing Efforts in Social Media

There are a lot of data points to consider in looking at your analytics, but this post is going to focus on UTM tags. UTM tags are easy to use and they work seamlessly with Google Analytics to help you understand where your traffic is coming from, how that traffic is getting there, and why those visitors are arriving at your site.

This is especially important when it comes to social media traffic. For example, if you just look at the facebook referral trafficSource/Medium column, you can see any number of referrals from the same site. In this example, you see that there are four different versions of Facebook referrals showing up in Google Analytics. While we can add those all up and come up with a number of visitors that are on our sites, it doesn’t tell us any more information.

This is where UTM tags shine. UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module” and it adds pieces of information to your URLs that help you identify the way your traffic is coming into your site. These tags can be high-level and show you where your traffic is coming from or they can be hyper-detailed, and allow you to track how much revenue comes from a specific blog post or tweet. I personally love using this kind of data to reconcile data from what one social network is telling me in their analytics with what is happening on my site. For example, Facebook Ads insights might tell me how many clicks they’re sending to my site, but UTM tracking and analytics might prove that an ad that drives the least amount of traffic also converts the highest amount of revenue. Or, that I get more email signups from traffic that comes via Twitter than Facebook. UTM tags can also tell me which photo on Instagram is driving the most traffic, or which blog post is responsible for the majority of my inquiries.

In short, there is a wealth of information derived from tracking your traffic. A little bit of foundational work in the beginning will your photography marketing efforts much simpler as time goes on.