I’ve been enjoying our blogging series the past few weeks and hope you have been, too! Today, I want to talk to you about a VERY important topic: SEO. Now… DON’T go running for the hills. I promise I’m not gonna make you go down a rabbit trail of SEO jargon. Oh no. Today I want to share with you some very easy tips based on the biggest SEO mistakes I see bloggers and biz owners alike making and how you can fix them right now.
Do you remember what your mom used to say when you followed your bestie’s pleading and did something to break the rules… or your arm?
I can just picture it now. My mom in a fluster saying, “If she jumped off a bridge, would you?”
“No, mom.” I’d sheepishly reply.
“Then QUIT doing everything she does.”
I got that talkin’ to quite a few times in my childhood. I was a wild one!
So what does my bad behavior as an 8-year-old have to do with SEO?
While many SEO mistakes are simply made because we don’t know any better, others are made because we see our industry pal doing it, so it must be something we should do, right?
Let’s not get our website know how from just looking to our right and our left and seeing what the majority are doing. Because I’m pretty certain the majority of people on the internet are doing the same thing as you!
As mysterious as it can seem, SEO is HUGE in the life of your online business. Especially if you are a service based provider (especially, especially if you are a location-based service provider – I’ll get into that in a minute!).
“Wait, what?! I can’t deal with onnnnnnnnne more thing!!! I’m doing the Insta thing. And the Facebook thing. And Pinning stuff. Now you want me to try and hack Google to figure out the deep dark corners of SEO?” – You.
Totally get it. But no.
Nothing I’m about to tell you will involve dark corners. Or tricky tactics. Or stuff that is going to take a lot of time. They are quick little SEO shots of wisdom to get you on that front page!
Because taking shots while talking about SEO should be a thing 😉
Okay now that we’ve got shots involved, let talk about the biggest SEO mistakes you are making and how you can fix them right now!
*Disclaimer – I use Google. I also use it often when referring to “search engines” in general! There are many search engines. I know this. But “Google” is more fun to say than “search engine” so just bear with me!
You aren’t writing to tell Google who you are and what you do.
This is by far one of the biggest (and easiest to fix) mistakes I often see happen. We creatives love to talk about our favorite things and why we are just so over the moon to serve our people, but we forget that Google doesn’t have any idea how your Starbucks order relates to photography. Ha!
When writing copy for your website and blog, you have to think about keywords. Keywords that people would actually search for.
For example: Your friends, family, and even a few locals might know that you are a wedding photographer. So naturally, that will help with word of mouth. But how do you think brides who don’t know you at all would find you? Google. And they won’t search for a “bespoke travel and blush loving photographer.” The search will look a bit more like: Jacksonville, Florida Wedding Photographer.
The point? In your copy, you need to get a bit “awkward.” It surely feels weird to write out, “I am a Jacksonville, Florida Wedding Photographer…” but that is exactly what you need to do.
*Don’t go overboard in your pages or posts by repeating the same keyword over and over. That is what Google calls “keyword stuffing” and they don’t like it.
If you want to start ranking for your services and offerings, you have to start telling Google what it needs to know about you!
You are titling your blog posts wrong.
Okay okay, so I just told you to start writing with keywords in mind, right?
Please do NOT make this BIG mistake that everyone and their sister makes: They repeat the same keywords over and over in their blog post titles.
Photographers, I love you, but you are the biggest offenders here! An example of a title gone bad is:
Randy and Rita’s Wedding Day | Jacksonville, Florida Wedding Photographer
Here’s the deal: You absolutely DO want to use your major keywords (Jax, FL Wedding Photographer) within the body of your site’s copy. But you absolutely should NOT use it over and over in your page or post titles.
Because when someone goes to search for a Jacksonville, Florida Wedding Photographer, Google does its magic BTS to go find relevant sites to that search term. And a big way they do that is through searching through page and post titles.
When every single one of your pages and post titles contains the exact same keyword, a problem appears: Google can only choose one of those pages or posts to rank you with.
Aka all of those blog posts you spend hours creating are competing against each other for search engine ranking. And instead of all your content working for you to help boost your ranking in search engines, now you may only get that SEO exposure for just one post.
Aka bad news bears.
So what should you do instead?
Switch up your titles. Get creative. Think about other search terms beyond where you live and your niche.
Example: A Modern Navy, Gold, and Burgundy Cummer Museum Wedding
That title is filled with keywords – modern, colors, Cummer Museum – that all associate with weddings. Now the key is to get your targeted search keyword(s) in the first paragraph of your blog post text.
Which leads me to the third mistake…
Captured by Laura Foote
You are leaving high ranking potential on the table in your blog posts
I often hear creatives say, “I don’t know what to write about when it comes to my work to at least hit the 300 word minimum for SEO!”
Here’s why: You have to start writing a little differently than you would talk.
It isn’t enough to say, “We loved working with Randy and Rita and are excited today to show you their gorgeous wedding photos from the big day.” And then go on to talk about more personal details from their event that are unique to only them.
Sure you got “wedding photos” in there as a keyword someone would actually search for, but the rest isn’t helping you. And really, “wedding photos” isn’t helping you either since 45948495497 people on the planet talk about wedding photos online. (Meaning the competition for ranking is too high!) It might make for a sweet story, but the goal here is to tell your story and get Google to notice you.
You can accomplish that by playing nice with Google in your first paragraph and then get a little more normal in the rest of your blog post copy.
So the first paragraph would look something like: We loved photographing Randy and Rita’s romantic wedding day! It was a day of true love and STUNNING design! Together, Randy and Rita incorporated modern details in a navy, gold, and burgundy palette for their outdoor Cummer Museum wedding in Jacksonville, Florida. We were so honored to be their photographer and can’t wait for you to see all the pretty!
You can see all the keywords in italics in the example above. Remember what I said about getting just a little bit awkward when it comes to writing for Google?
You probably wouldn’t say “their outdoor Cummer Museum wedding in Jacksonville, Florida” in normal conversation. But this kind of keyword writing is what will actually help you to rank for your offerings.
Once you get the awkward stuff out of the way, you can go into a personal story for connection about how Rita used the same veil her great-grandmother wore and why that was so meaningful!
This same concept also works for your website pages. Start writing with both conversion and SEO keywords in mind to really amplify your online exposure and booking rates!
You aren’t optimizing your site and post images
An easy way to help yourself get a boost in the SEO world is to optimize your images for search engine ranking.
And this is often overlooked!
Your site and blog post images contain the power to help you get noticed on Google and it only takes a couple extra seconds to do.
Here’s what most people do: Susie photographer resizes images from a recent wedding for web use (good job!). Her photos are automatically saved with something that looks like, Susie Photography 34837. She then writes up her blog post copy and behind the image uploading process. Once she uploads her images into WordPress, she just inserts them all as is and celebrates another blog post done!
Well, I am proud of Susie for making a blog post, but I hate to see her miss easy opportunities for SEO.
What should Susie have done?
She should have edited her image titles and alt texts. For each image she uploaded, she should have titled it with her blog post keyword. Let’s say her keyword was “Cummer Museum Wedding.”
Each of her post titles should have looked like this: cummer-museum-wedding-1 (-2,-3,-4 and so on).
And in that little box that says, “Alt Text,” she should have filled it with keywords to help her rank for the post and her offerings. Her Alt Text for an image could have looked like: Navy, Gold, and Burgundy Cummer Museum Wedding, Jacksonville Florida Wedding Photographer, Jacksonville Wedding.
The key to Alt Texts is that you switch up the keywords for every image. If you copy paste the same alt text on every image, you’ll start confusing Google again and your images will compete against each other in search rankings.
You are choosing more than one category for your blog post
You know how your blog is organized into categories?
It is a great tool to separate your posts into various topics that might be of interest to your readers, but don’t make the mistake of using multiple categories for one post.
It goes back to that “your blog posts are competing against each other idea.”
When you choose more than one category for your blog post to live in, you are essentially creating a copy of that blog post in multiple locations within your site. And that confuses search engines.
Just keep it simple and choose the one category your post makes the most sense to live in!
You aren’t editing your pages and posts meta descriptions.
I know, I know. I used a scary SEO term: Meta Descriptions. Don’t freak on me.
You know when you are searching on Google and you see the titles of the pages ranked and underneath those titles is a little sentence that clues you in a bit more about what you are about to read?
That sentence is the Meta Description. And it has powerful potential to help you rank for your post keyword.
If you are using WordPress for your blog, you can easily edit your post meta descriptions with the free Yoast plugin.
Yoast will also help remind you to not make any of the other mistakes we have talked about in a super easy to understand fashion. Win!
Are you making any of these SEO mistakes? If so, it is alright girlfriend. They are all very easy to fix moving forward. It just takes a little bit of strategic thinking to please both search engines and your tribe!
Have SEO questions? Leave ‘em in the comments below!