Five Big SEO Do’s

We recently published an article called ‘Five Big Seo Don’ts‘ so here is the five things you should do to help your photography website.

Whether your web site is big or small there are five basic things that are must do’s when it comes to optimising your website for the search engines.

Number 1:

The first key thing is to take the time to do a careful search of all of your keywords and key phrases and make sure that they really do relate to what you are selling. Use a good program like Google Adwords Keyword Tools or hire us to do professional keyword research as not knowing your keywords is like driving blind in the dark. There is also no point in targeting keywords that no one is searching for.

Number 2:

Make sure you write a short descriptive title tag of what each page of your site is all about before you submit it to the search engines. This information can also help the users that are searching for you locate you easily. Avoid the temptation of creating title tags that are longer than 30 characters, since they might have a dilution effect in your rankings of certain search engines.

Number 3:

Make sure that the main text on your web page has the same as the keywords contained in your title tag. This is so that the search engines have something to hook into when they search your site. Try and repeat these keywords two to three times in the main body of the text without sounding repetitive. You should try to keep your keyword density to around 5% of the article total.

Number 4:

Add a sitemap to your site as that assists both the search engines and users in assessing your pages. It also helps Google properly index your site. This sitemap can be submitted to Google using the Webmaster Tools interface. The sitemap helps search engines find all the pages on your site.

Number 5:

Another tip is to build links to your site, from a variety of different sources. Increasing the number of links that point to your site will boost you in the results pages. You should only link from pages that have similar themes to your site, and stay away from bad “neighborhoods” or from so-called link farms or FFA sites. Make sure you have links from Forums, articles, social networks, other blogs, bookmarking sites etc.

For help and assistance with any of this, to make your photography site go up through the rankings, please contact us. If you know of anymore Big SEO Do’s, please comment below.

Five Big Seo Don’ts

When search engine optimising your web pages there are five basic things you should avoid doing or all of your hard work trying to achieve rankings will go to waste.

Number 1:

First of all avoid using cloaking mechanisms. This is automated software that doesn’t work unless it knows the IP address of a search engine spider. Cloaking is a form of SEO deception that serves a unique, optimized page to the search engines, while presenting a completely different page to people visiting your website. Most major search engines will penalise or ban you altogether if you use this tempting black hat SEO technique that often backfires.

Number 2:

Avoid using professionals that guarantee you a number one position or first page rankings. There is no such thing as this guarantee. To be safe always ask what techniques your would-be SEO firm uses to achieve a good positioning for your site.

Number 3:

Don’t use software that automatically submits your sites on a weekly or monthly basis, since it might penalise you in the long run. You can be considered a spammer so you if you submit URLS too often so you don’t really need to submit more than once.

Number 4:

Don’t entrust your site to people that will submit it to “thousands of engines.” There isn’t that many search engines in the first place. You will be submitted to link farms.

Number 5:

Keep Flash technology out of your site. As far as your rankings in the search engines go, the best way to develop a site is in using standard technology, such as HTML. Text written in the HTML format is proven technology that all search engines have long recognized and approved, since the beginning of the Internet. Using the right technology will always help your site attain a good position in the search engine ranking pages.

We hope these help. For more advise on how to correctly SEO your website, please contact us.

The Moo Moo Website Directory
Human Edited Website Directory with strong one way links with options for free or paid reviews

How to get more Twitter followers (Real one’s that is)

Twitter is one of the great social media sites, and is a brilliant way to let people know what your doing, where you doing it, and to interact with friends, colleagues, customers and potential customers. However, many people join, follow Stephen Fry, Justin Bieber and a few other celebs, posts a few tweets and then wonder why no one is following them.

Other people spend hours following others, and wonder why no one is following them back. There are a few things you can do to increase your number of followers, that work and that help improve your social network reach. So here’s a few tips that should help:

  • Follower sanity is better than follower vanity. What does this mean? Well, it’s easy to go to fiverr.com, and pay $5 for someone to give you 5000 followers in a matter of hours. However, all these followers will be accounts that are made just for following people, not real people who will read and interact with your Tweets. There is also a risk that Twitter will close these accounts over time, and your follower count will drop. This is good if you just want to overtake your friends in follower numbers, but no good for business.
  • Use it, or lose it. Twitter is all about interacting with people. If you don’t interact, its a bit like standing in the corner of a room at a function, not talking to anyone, and hoping someone will come over and speak to you. You need to get out there, start Tweeting relevant tweets, interact with people, and don’t be afraid to join the conversation.
  • Start Local and Branch out. Depending on who you want to target on Twitter, start by targeting one area. Many Photographers work mainly in one town / area. So go to Twitter and use their search facility and enter your town or area. On the results page, you can choose to view the Tweets containing that name, or the people who have listed this as their location as well, or its in their bio.

That’s the basic tips to start with. Use Twitter, interact, post relevant Tweets and find people in your local area. These are the ground rules which you should always follow. Now we know this, we can move on a bit and follow some do’s and don’ts.

  • Do Follow people in the hope they will follow you back. This may sound obvious, but someone may never know you existed until you start following them. Many people follow back their followers (we @BadgesPatches do). Others will want you to interact with them before they follow you back.
  • Don’t follow inactive users. When you view someone’s profile on Twitter, you can see when they last Tweeted. If they haven’t tweeted in the last few months, is it worth following them?
  • Don’t be afraid to unfollow people who don’t follow you. If you’ve followed someone, and interacted with them, but they haven’t followed you back, don’t be afraid to unfollow them. It may be worth just asking them to follow you, as they may have overlooked it. Unless their Tweets really appeal to you, is it worth following them?
  • Do ask people to ReTweet for you. There is nothing wrong with Tweeting ‘We have an amazing offer 20% of everything, Please RT’. The more people that RT for you, the more exposure you get.
  • Don’t use Twitter just for business. OK, we may get shot down for this, but people deal with people, so use your personality, and talk. If your account is just 100% business, you may put of some followers.
  • Do put your twitter username in your email signature, your business cards, your Facebook profile, your website, your advertising, basically anywhere anyone can see it!
  • Do use the Twitter search. I know we mentioned this above, but the search is a great way to find new people to interact with. Try searching your profession, your area, even yourself!
  • Don’t expect overnight miracles. Some people may jump a few hundred followers overnight if their Tweet goes Viral, but this is rare. Expect it to take some time, but don’t worry, you’ll get there in the end 🙂

That’s just a basic overview for now, we will be doing more, to help you get more Twitter followers. This will include using Hashtags, and going over the numerous websites that can help you manage your followers and Tweets.

If your really keen to get more relevant Twitter followers, we can do it for you. It does cost, so please do contact us if your interested.

My Twitter Account Has Been Hacked

Don't let spammers ruin your Twitter experience
Follow these steps to regain control of your account.

When your Twitter account gets hacked, many things could happen. One of the most common things to happen is that all your followers (who you’re also following) will receive a DM (Direct Message). The message normally takes a standard format, and is along the lines of:

  • Hello some person is making very bad rumors about you…
  • Hello this user is making really bad things about you…
  • Hello some person is posting nasty things about you…
  • Hi someone is saying horrible things about you…
  • Hey somebody is posting terrible rumors about you…
  • Hi someone is posting really bad things about you..
  • Hello somebody is posting horrible things about you…
  • rofl…OMG I’m laughing so hard at this picture of u someone uploaded

Followed by a shortened link for you to click. Most people would think ‘Oh My Goodness’ and click the link without hesitation, to see what these terrible rumours are, or what the picture is of. The link goes to a page that looks like Twitter, and asks you to log in. Once you enter your log in details, you’ve then given the hackers access to your account.

Following on from this, the hackers will start to post tweets to your account. Normally these are spam Tweets, along the lines of ‘Lose 20lbs with this amazing weight loss plan’ or something similar. These are all spam, and more than likely something that your followers don’t need.

We know of lots of people, who have had this happen to them, and then closed their Twitter account, never to return to one of the best Social Marketing sites again. There is no need for this to happen. Just follow the steps below:

  1. If your account has been hacked, log in via the proper twitter page at https://twitter.com/ Check the padlock is there, and it shows Twitter Inc US as the certificate holder.
  2. Change your password. Don’t make it similar or near your last password. Make sure it is a different length and contains a mixture of letters and numbers.
  3. If you have allowed 3rd party apps access to your Twitter account, revoke this by visiting the ‘applications’ tab in account settings.

These steps should hopefully stop the hackers from accessing your account with almost immediate effect.

Then we need to think about how to protect ourselves again in the future. Here at BadgesPatches we manage about 15 different Twitter accounts, totally about 120k followers across them all. We receive these DM’s every day, and every day we ignore them.

  • If you receive a DM, and are a little bit unsure if its real or spam, send a DM back to the sender asking them. Most people don’t mind this.
  • Never enter your Twitter password on a site, unless you are 100% sure it is the real Twitter site. If you click the link in a DM whilst logged into Twitter, and it goes to a page asking for your Twitter login credentials, you can be fairly sure its a hackers page you’ve gone to.
  • If you do receive a DM, and know its spam, refer the sender to this page, so they can stop them being sent any more.

Twitter has a really helpful Help Center, that contains many tips on how to protect your account once its been compromised. It can be found at http://support.twitter.com/articles/31796

Meta Tags Explained

Meta Tags are little pieces of information, that you can enter into most websites, to explain to the search engines what your site or page is all about. They shouldn’t be the same across your whole site, with the Meta Tags being tailored to each and every page of your website.

When a search engine views your website, it doesn’t see all the fancy pictures or layout, instead it sees lots of code. Go to any webpage, right click with your mouse, and then select ‘View Source’. The result you get, is what the search engines see.

Meta Tags are a great way to control what the search engines think of your site. There are 3 main types of Meta Tags for the main body of your site (images are slightly different, and we will cover these in another post):

Title: This is what your page is about. Like a book title. It appears at the top of your browser, and may be the words within the tab. When you click to view source, it is contained within 2 <title> tags, like this:
<title>Badges Patches | SEO and Websites For Photographers</title>

Description: A quick and brief summary of what this page is about. Normally no more than 160 or so characters. When viewed in source, it will look like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”Providing SEO services to photographers and websites for photographers..” />

Keywords: The keywords for you page, and what you would like to rank well for. Google openly admits that it dosen’t use the Keywords Meta anymore (and hasn’t done so for many years), so this part is up to you. The content on your page should be enough to let the search engines know what your main keywords are. When viewed in source, it will look like this:
<meta name=”keywords” content=”SEO for photographers, Photographers SEO, Websites for photographers, Websites for photographers” />

Of the 3 items listed above, the only one that will be visible to anyone who views your website normally would be the title tag. The others they would need to view the source to see what is there.

Although Meta Tags are incredibly important, it is important to remember not to stuff them full of just a couple of keywords. Entering to much of the same words can have a detrimental effect on your listings within the search engines.

If this all sounds terribly complicated, and you have no idea about where to enter this information in your website, there are many ways you can get help. Many Photographers now have websites that run on WordPress, and there are plugins such as ‘All In One SEO’ and ‘Platinum SEO’ that will insert and extra box at the bottom of your add post or add page page, and let you enter the title, description and keywords without having to worry about the coding involved.

Please feel free to enter any comments below.

Google PageRank Explained

Google ranks all websites, and webpages that it has indexed. It does this on a scale of N/A to 10. If your website has no rank at all, its classed as N/A, then there is 0, 1, 2 all the way up to 10. 10 is the highest page rank, and this goes to the most influential webpages. To give you an idea, at the time of writing this, Facebook has a pagerank of 9, whilst this website has 1.

Whilst Google may update its pagerank on a regular frequency, it is only updated to the end user about once every 3 months. Google does this to stop people learning how its ranking system works, and then ‘reverse engineering’ the process, so they can get their website a rank higher than they deserve.

Some people get really hung up on pagerank, and think if they can get a PR4 site, their life will be complete, they will marry a beautiful person, make loads of money and be at the top of every possible search term for their sites. Sadly, this isn’t true. Pagerank is just Googles way of ranking your site, and has very little, if any, affect on your position within the search results.

PageRank Factors:

No one knows quite how Google calculates pagerank. There are many myths and theories around, and some people believe the old method of ‘number of backlinks’. Unfortunately, this is no longer true, and there are many more factors included, rather than it just being about backlinks.

If you sign up for a webmasters account, or have Google analytics, you are giving Google loads of information about your sites, and what your visitors are doing. This includes;

How many visitors your getting
How long they spend on your site
How many pages they view

Google also looks at who is talking about your site, how many links you have and where they come from, social networks, age of domain, and lots more and tries to work out how influential your site is. This all goes into a complicated maths formula (we presume, as no one really knows) and this then out puts what your page rank should be.

Site or page?

When people say, ‘my website has a PR of 4’, what they really mean is ‘My home page has a PR of 4’. The PR is assigned to a webpage, and not a website. Go onto any website, and (normally) the home page has the highest page rank. They may then be pages within the site with a slightly lower page rank, and some pages of that site that have no page rank at all. This is perfectly common, but it is incredible rare for an entire website to have exactly the same pagerank, when you get above 1.

if your buying a domain with a high pagerank, be careful. You need to be sure that that (unless your buying the site content as well), you fill it with well researched, unique and influential content, or the page rank will be lost at the next update.

 

 

3 Off Site SEO Tips

If you have spent a vast amount of time optimising your website, with everything correct on the page, its then time to move on and think about what should happen ‘off site’. This can be confusing, as there is so much you could do, but here we will cover 3 simple methods to help you.

It has been said that 30% of SEO is on your website and 70% off your website. I’m to sure how true this is, but we can be certain that off site SEO plays a major part in your rankings in the search engines.

Off site SEO can also be called ‘Link Building’ as this is what we are trying to do. The best kinds of links to have are one way links. This is where another website links to yours, but you don’t link back to it from your own site.
In the past it was recomended to have ‘reciprocal’ links. This is where you link to someone, and they link back. Or links wheels (site 1 links to site 2, site 2 links to site 3 and site 3 links to site 1). Times have now changed and the value of these systems are lower than what they previously were.

So how can we start building backlinks? It’s not an easy task but it’s definitely worth doing, and doing well. Here are some off-page SEO tips:

Tip No.1 Article Marketing

Alot of people get scared when this is mentioned, and wonder where do they start. Well its really quite easy.
Start of by writing 500 to 750 words about your chosen subject. Stuck for ideas of how it should be worded? Read this blog post, it could be used as an article, but decided to make a blog post instead.

Next, go to one of the main article submission websites (ezine for example), and sign up for an account. Submit your article, and sit back and wait. Except, don’t sit back and wait, write another, and another, and another and keep going. Don’t stop with just one article.

If your lucky these articles will be picked up by people and syndicated around the web. This may take some time to happen.

When submitting an article, remember to make full use of the resource box. This can contain a link back to your website, as many article sites don’t allow you to place links in the text of the article.

Tip No.2 Forum Participation

There are many forums about, and cover virtually every subject matter. Join a few that are relevant to your industry, and start joining the conversation.

Many forum let you have a signature. This is what appears in the posts you write, at the bottom. In this you can place a link back to your website. If you know how to code this in (different forums have different codes), you can have the anchor text (the part that is clicked) as one of your main keywords. It may also bring you in more customers as people start to learn what it is you do.

Tip No.3 Blogging

Blogs are great! If your main website is built on a blogging software like WordPress, or you main site is HTML, and you get a free blogger blog, it dosen’t matter. The important thing is to keep posting new, relevant and unique content, as often as you can. We recommend that if you have a blog, you submit to it at least once a week.

If your feeling brave, you can have more than one blog. There are many companies online now that offer these free blogs (including ourselves).

Make sure the content you post is relevant to your industry, and contains links, not just to your site, but to others as well. Otherwise the search engines know that you have made that blog just to build links to your site. Where as, if you link to somewhere else as well in each post (for example wikipedia, yahoo answers, BBC, Amazon etc), it looks better to the search engines. Plus you can always find a word or phrase you have written to use to link to one of the big sites.

The secret to be successful in carrying out these off-site SEO methods is to be consistent.

  • Submit quality articles to article directories at least once a week.
  • Regularly produce unique content for your blog.
  • Participate regularly on Forums.

And, if you discover that you don’t enjoy doing off site SEO, there’s always a plan B – hire us to do it for you!

5 Top Tips For Link Building

Alot of the questions we get asked are normally regarded to links, and how someone can increase the number of these links. There are many myths regarding SEO For Photographers, so here we will try and answer some of the most common questions and dispel a few of the myths for websites for photographers.

1. Links to your site need to be relevant. This is where alot of people fall down. They feel that if they run a photography site, their links should only come from other photography websites. This is wrong. Your links could come from any website, the most important thing is the page that they are coming from. Does this look to the search engines like it has some form of relevance to your site? Yes, well then good. The other important thing to consider is the anchor text (the words you click to follow the link). This also needs to be relevant to the page your linking to.

2. MYTH – Building to many links to quick is bad! This is one of the biggest myths surrounding link building, and seems to have started from one piece of information, and grown out of all proportion. The truth is, a person sat at a computer for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, manually building links back to their sites would not raise a red flag with any of the search engines. If you do this automatically using software, there may be issues if you don’t know what your doing.
To explain a bit more, if this myth was true, you could wreck all your competitions websites search engine rankings. If your key word was ‘Wedding Photographer London’ and you were stuck on page 2, unable to get onto page one. You could (in theory, according to this myth) build many links to the sites on page 1, wreck their search engine results, and fly up the rankings yourself. Fortunately, Google is sensible, and knows that devious people may do this, which is why building links quickly to your site isn’t a bad thing. Also, the search engines understand that a small website may suddenly get a celebrity endorsement on Twitter, or launch a new popular product, or be in the news etc. So don’t be afraid of building links.

3. Spread where the links are coming from. Spread your link building across a variety of sites, and type of sites. There is no point in having just 1000 links, and all of those 1000 coming from one site. Spread them about a bit, and include links from Forums, Directories, Blogs, Social Network Sites and more. This shows the search engines that you site is popular across many areas, not just one.

4. Not all links are worth the same. The search engines do not just simply add up the number of links you have, and favour those with the highest number, instead each link has a value. Firstly, it comes down to the pagerank of the site they are coming from, then where on the page the link is. As strange as it sounds, placement of a link on a page has an effect on its worth. If the link is contained within the main text body of the page, that is worth more than one placed in a sidebar or the footer of a site. Being in the main text shows the search engines that someone has taken the time to write about that site, and include a link in the text to it. Finally, it comes down to how many outgoing links the page currently has. The more outgoing links from a page, the less each of those links is valued. Generally, you should try to place links onto pages that have less than 100 outgoing links.

5. Don’t expect instant results. When you place a link, it could take anything between 6 and 8 weeks before the search engines find it. You then need to hope that they index it. It would only be after the page the link is on is indexed, that you will start getting some of the value from that link. There are processes that Badge Patches put in place to aid the search engines in finding these links quicker, and hope that they get indexed faster.

Contact us for details of our full range of our SEO For Photographers packages.

How to Add Images to a Blog

Images on a Blog can make it look really good, and for most photographers, its a must. Here we will breifly explain how to add images to your Blog pages.

 

Firstly, click Posts > Add New, or Pages Add New.

Add Images to a Photographers Website
Adding a Blog Image

In the screen that opens, just above the main text box, it says Upload/Insert followed by a small symbol. Like this:

Where to click to add images
Click anywhere it says Upload/insert

Click either the symbol, or the words. If you hover the mouse over it, a box will open saying ‘Add Media’.

When you click that, a new layer window will open, giving you the options to either Drag and Drop the picture in, or click to select a file to upload.

Drag and Drop Images, or select files to upload

If you know how to open file manager, navigate to your images, make it half a screen, and simple select and drag your chosen image over the box, then release.

Otherwise, select choose images, file manager will open, and you can double click on your chosen image.

Your images will then upload, and a new screen with a number of options will open.

THIS IS THE ALTERNATIVE TEXT
THIS IS THE CAPTION

You can see on the image above where the caption shows up. Hover your mouse over the image, and you will see where the title appears. The alt text is hidden, but important to search engines, so put some keywords here.

WordPress tries to auto select the sizing of the images, and their placement. You can change this if you want to.

When your finished, select ‘Insert into post’ and the image will appear where the cursor was when you clicked to upload images. You can then carry on writing, or add more images.

To edit an image, go back to edit the post or page that the image is on. Click the image, and 2 symbols appear in the top left of the image. The red circle with a line through it deletes the image, and the other symbol edits the image.

Note 1. There is a 1mb limit for the size of any files uploaded.

Note 2. Some themes use ‘Featured Images’ to display on the front page. If you want an image to be a featured image, click the ‘featured image’ link before clicking ‘Insert into post’.

 

Photography Website SEO, The Basics.

Your a photographer, you know about the shutter speed, DOF, and you may even know the difference between an EF and EF-S lens. But when it comes to your website, is it all a foreign language, and a myriad of different terms that mean absolutely nothing to you? Well read on, and we’ll explain the basic SEO principles for your website.

Firstly, what is SEO and what does it mean and do?

SEO stands for Search engine optimisation. It is about maximising your site, so the search engines (Google, Bing etc) know where your site should be for various search terms in the listings. SEO for photographers is pretty much the same as any other sites SEO. If you wanted to be on the first page for the search term ‘Wedding Photographer London’ you would maximise your site for that term.

So, how do we do it, and what do we need to know?

Lets stick with our ‘Wedding Photographer London’ keyword, that we want to do well in the search engines for. Ideally, for any page we want 3 keywords, so we’ll add ‘London Wedding Photographer’ and ‘Wedding Photography London’ in as well. This gives us our 3 keywords to start working with. From here, we can build our page, and put these keywords into the various areas.

Depending on what browser your using, at the top of the page, maybe in the tab, it says what the page is about. For this page it says ‘Basic SEO For Photographers’. This is called the page title, and should include your main keyword.

Next, in the address bar is the URL. This should also include another of your keywords. The URL is the bit that looks like this: http://badgespatches.com/photography-website-seo-the-basics

Then we have the Meta Description. This is a hidden piece of code that explains what the page is about. Depending on what browser your using, you may be able to right click on a page, and have an option to ‘View Source’. This will bring up a page with alot of code, that will include an area that says ‘<meta description’ . This is read by the search engines and is sometimes used in search results as the description of your site. This should also contain a keyword.

And finally for this section, we have the page content. This is the writing that is on your page. Ideally you want this to be about 500 to 750 words, and have a keyword density of between 0.5 and 5%. Don’t over do your keywords, as the major search engines don’t like this.

That is a very basic view of what you need to do to your own site. We will write more posts going into greater depth about this all. If you have brought one of our websites for photographers, you can enter all the above points into your posts and pages by activating one of the SEO plugins.

Some people suggest that SEO on your webpage is only about 20% of what you should be doing, and the other 80% is off site. Have a look at our SEO packages for some ideas of to build backlinks into your site, and you can also order a page review there, to see if your webpage is optimised enough for the search engines.,