Nowadays, when we want to learn new things about a photographer, we use a search engine as we are used to finding what we are looking for. According to statistics, an estimate of 1 billion names is currently searched with Google every single day. Around 75% of job recruiters will be asked by their employers to Google the potential employees while hiring.
What needs to be instantly remembered is that there is a huge possibility that someone already Googled your name, even if you did not, and made a judgment based on what was located. Half of those that look on the internet for information about a potential business partner will end up not doing business with that individual because of what was found. The percentage goes even higher when referring to photographers.
Every single photographer out there is responsible for making a good impression and this means that online reputation management is necessary. Unfortunately, this is a concept that is highly complex and that should never be taken lightly.
We will now go through the basics and give you some advanced tactics that can be used in order to increase your online reputation, together with Google Rankings if you are a photographer.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
To put it as simple as possible, we can define online reputation management as being the process of getting control of what appears when a person will Google your name. For a photographer it is really important to promote the best works and positive content in general so that it appears as top in search engine results as possible. At the same time, online reputation management is used to push the unwanted content (competition, irrelevant pages or negative pages) down so that when a person looks for you, the results are always populated with relevant, positive content written about you and your photography skills/services.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that online reputation management is not important. It was proven that most of the clients will want to work only with people that they trust. You have to establish trust and this basically means that from the moment your potential client sees your site or social media profiles, you have to stand out as a true professional that someone can work with.
Building A Personal Website
You surely already know that you need to build a site that properly showcases your work and the reasons why people may want to hire you. While the goal seems to be to get more business, you need to make a shift in the way in which you look at things. The goal should be to let a search engine know that the personal website is the best source about you that can be found on the internet. This basically means that it has to include as much information as possible.
Nowadays we can easily use WordPress and learn how to use it in order to create an incredibly attractive portfolio site website. However, at the same time, you need to make sure that you also include as much information about you as a photographer.
Whenever you create your own website or you hire someone to do it for you, follow these simple facts to be sure that it will be search engine friendly and it will be picked up as high as possible in rankings for your name:
Create Pages That Are Relevant
The information that you have needs to be updated as often as possible or necessary and has to be relevant. The pages that have to be included are the following:
- Links – Add links to other pages where information about you is offered. For a photographer, this includes social media profiles and even networking directories. The search engine will see that this is your headquarters and the site will be a lot more credible. While many think about the incoming links as the best ranking factors, signaling that this is the site that you want others to find is also an important ranking factor in online reputation management for a photographer.
- About Section – On your personal website it is vital that you add information that you want people to see. This includes the courses that you had, the previous work that you did and that you are proud of and even personal interests. Since you are a photographer, make sure that you add some sort of portfolio section so that you can highlight your most successful projects. As a special tip, make sure that you always use third person. Instead of saying “I am a photographer that…” use a statement like “John X is a photographer that.”
- Social Media Streams – You should add a stream of the updates you do on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This is important as it shows social activity in one location and makes the website stand out as always being constantly updated, relevant.
Create A Blog
Blogging always serves 2 functions:
- It will help the site show up higher in search engines. It keeps the site relevant and constantly updated.
- The posts that are written highlight that you are an authority figure. They showcase that you are a knowledgeable photographer that knows a lot about the work that has to be done.
The more you blog, the higher the possibility you will get more traffic from search engines. However, blogging is not easy. It takes dedication. You should always practice and dedicate around 1 hour a week to writing posts for your blog. Some will tell you that you do not need more than 1 post per month but that is not actually enough. You should offer at least 1 per week so that you can keep building yourself as a knowledgeable photographer.
The internet is filled with information about how to properly place keywords in various parts of the website. Read as many articles as you can find about this subject and remember the fact that your name is a keyword and the brand that you promote is also a keyword. For instance, if your name is John X and your brand is X-Photography, both “John X” and “X-Photography” should be included in your content. Try to add these keywords in the following parts of your site:
- Navigation Bar – Instead of saying “About”, how about naming the navigation tab “About John X”?
- Heading – The brands have to be included in headings when a new section is started. For instance, on your portfolio pages, try to add a heading with something like “John X Photography Experience”. Make sure that you never include more than 1 heading 1s on your page. More is seen as spam content.
- Anchor Texts – Links are a really important part of the Google Search Engine ranking algorithm. There were books that were written about this subject so it is obvious that we cannot share all the knowledge necessary here. However, we can tell you that you have to include the branded keywords as often as possible when links are included. This is true for both your site and the links that point towards your site. For instance, on social channels, you can make references to your site as “John X Photography Blog” or point towards Twitter with something like “John X Twitter”. It may seem weird at first glance but it will help out a lot.
Social Media Profiles
There is not much that can be seen as more important for a photographer than the social media profiles that are owned. They have so many interesting advantages that can help you to promote yourself as a brand.
In general, the really important social media sites are Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn. However, for you as a photographer, you should also include Pinterest and Instagram. All your profiles need to be as SEO friendly as possible in order for them to rank as high as possible in Google and other major search engines.
Consider the following:
- Keep The Profiles Clean – Before the social network is promoted, make sure that they act as a good calling card for your business. There are basically two options that can be used: keeping content public or private. You should never have it private. The best thing to do is make the content public and always be sure that you post something that is relevant for your work as a photographer. Every single profile that you own has to be professional and the updates that you do need to come often. Never believe that you can update Facebook only when you post on your blog or when you have a job. This is a mistake.
- Use Your Real Name – When you create a Twitter profile, you can practically use any name that you want but many photographers try to use something that is funny or a random handle. That is not a good idea. If your name is John X, try to name the profile John X or something similar. Alternatively, use the photography brand name that you promote.
- Linking To Content – You have to create a network of sites that you own. Some specialists will tell you that this is not a good idea because of a Google Search Engine Ranking algorithm. What many do not know is that the rules for websites do not actually apply for social media channels. Your social profiles have to be interlinked in order to be able to bring in higher search engine rankings.
- Always Respond – An advanced online reputation management strategy sees the brand owner respond to questions and negative feedback offered. This is not just for marketing industries or big brands. It is also important for photographers.
Stepping Outside The Search Engines
So many photographers spend a lot of time focused on search engines and they neglect the way in which they communicate. We have to always step out of the regular methods that are used by every single photographer out there. For instance, let us say that there is a project that you love. You are tempted to promote it but that does not mean that your audience will love it.
Keep in mind that search engines are great as you get people to your sites. However, this does not mean that once the people reach your site or your social profiles, you get a job. It is very important that you learn how to properly communicate with those that are following you. If you see that the audience likes a specific project and you like another one, offer exactly what they like.
Professional Online Reputation Management
We need to acknowledge the truth: you are a photographer. You are not a marketer or an SEO specialist. This is something that needs to remain in the back of your mind. If you want to properly promote your name and your brand as a really good marketer, there is a huge possibility you will not be able to do this. Also, there is a huge possibility that you do not have enough time to learn everything.
We have to all realize that the advanced tactics that were highlighted above are just a small part of what online reputation management is for a specialist of any kind. When you are a photographer, your main focus is put on the jobs that you have and the work that you do. This is completely normal and nobody can blame you for that.
In the event that you do not have the time to take care of your reputation and you do not have time to learn everything that you have to do, there is a good possibility you will have jobs. This means that you have money. Use a part of it to hire a professional online reputation manager. This will create a huge difference in the results that are brought forth. It is something that we have to always consider. You can take care of your reputation alone but the professional will always do better work on the long run.
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