SEO Guide for photographers
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Is SmugMug SEO any good?
My simple answer is yes I think so.
When I applied the following steps below to my Dog Grooming website which was with SmugMug. The website moved from page three of the google search results, onto page one in the search results for the local area.
My dog grooming website ended up at the very top of page one of google in front everyone else even WordPress websites .
I think SmugMug SEO is great.
What is SEO
SEO is search engine optimisation.
Basically you need to apply SEO to your website so that google will rank it. Then when people are searching online your website will turn up in the search results for what they are searching for.
The higher up the search results your website can appear the better and more likely people are to click onto your website. In the case of a photographer, when someone visits your website you will have more chance of someone booking a photo shoot, or buying prints etc the higher up the search results you are.
It is not hard to apply SEO to a SmugMug photography website. But often an area photographers overlook.
With a SmugMug website everything is in place for your website to do well online. You have just got to know where the boxes are and the do a few other steps in this guide.
Photographers SEO tips
Follow my free step by step guide and apply the SEO steps your SmugMug photography website.
Step 2. Use a custom domain name
If you don’t already have your own custom domain name then you will need to purchase one.
Buying a domain name from GoDaddy is the easiest way to be able to connect a domain name to SmugMug, it’s dead easy.
The domain name will be the web address of your website. So ideally your business name can be your domain name.
Step 3. Connect your domain name
On your SmugMug website you need to go to the top right corner where the profile photo is. Click the profile photo and in the drop down menu you need account settings.
In the me section further down the page of the is where you add in your custom domain name. In the box type in www. then your domain name, the instructions are at the box too.
If you bought your domain name from GoDaddy you can just click GoDaddy Connect next to where you add in your domain name. It is so easy to use a custom domain name with SmugMug this way.
Create a CNAME for domain name SmugMug.
If you have a custom domain name from elsewhere you can easily connect it to your SmugMug website.
You need to create a CNAME in your DNS records.
More details here >
Step 4. Build your SmugMug website
You can easily build a SmugMug website with or without a custom domain name added.
Use one of the free portfolio website templates to start your website.
Then add pages, by adding pages to the website you are adding more content to the website which is good for SEO.
I have SmugMug tutorial video’s to help you out if you don’t know where to start building the website.
Step 5. Page titles, meta description & URL's
Create a page for a your website in a few mintues with SmugMug.
All the boxes are provided on a page, folder and a gallery for the titles, meta description and URL’s.
The page titles, meta description and URL’s are all part of SEO for photography.
These boxes need filling in and some thought or research doing before you do fill them in.
The page title should be what the page is about.
When you fill in the page title the URL is automatically created too.
This can be changed to your own custom URL.
A page URL is what you would type in the search browser at top of your screen to get to that page on the website.
An example of a URL on your website is your domain name then the title of the page.
If the title of the page was Rebecca Goutorbe Wedding Photography and the page was about Wedding Photography.
The URL would be https://www.mydomainname/Rebecca-Goutorbe-Wedding-Photography.
SmugMug Custom URL
Which is ok, but you can change the URL to https://www.mydomainname/Wedding-Photography.
Even better, If the Weddings you photographed were in a certain area, I could add that too, to the end of the URL
So now the URL would read https://www.mydomainname/Wedding-Photography-Derbyshire.
By changing the URL this reads much better for what the page is about. Also Wedding Photography Derbyshire is more likely to be what people will be searching for online.
So there is more chance of your website or that page from your website appearing in the right place in the search results.
Meta description for photographers
The meta description should be a short description about the information which is on the page you are creating.
This description will appear online in the search results along with the title of the page.
Step 6. Add links into your website
Once you have created some pages for your website.
Next add into the pages links from one page to another.
This will help visitors to your website and search engines.
It’s called internal linking.
SmugMug text editor
Within a page you have created, use the page URL to create a link on another page to that page.
The link can be added to the page in the SmugMug text editor.
Internal linking for SEO
For example, If you have a list of photography services on one page and full page about one of the services on another. You can create a link by writing something like Read more…. on the main photography services page.
When visitors click Read more... it will take them through to the other page about that particular photography service. So they can find out more information.
How to add a page URL link
Where it say’s Read more… or learn more.. on a page.
Within the SmugMug text editor is where you can add in the page URL link on to the page.
To do this highlight the writing Read More… whilst in the text editor and then again in the text editor the last symbol is link.
Click the link symbol and add in the page URL you would like the visitor to go to when they click Read more…
Once this is done the writing Read more… will be a different colour to the rest of the text. Called the accent colour of the website a bright colour which stands out so it’s obvious to click it.
Step 7. Keyword your website and photos
Next keyword your website and photos.
When you create a page, folder or gallery there is a box meta keywords in the same place as the title and meta description. Or just go back to the settings of the page, gallery or folder to find the meta keywords box.
Keywords for photography website
Add in keywords relevant to your photography separated by a comma into the box.
For example, photographer, wedding, bridal, portrait, family,
How to add keywords to photos SmugMug
Keyword your photos which are in the SmugMug galleries.
Once you are here you can title the photos, add captions and also add keywords to the photos.
Step 8. Go to account settings
Back up to the profile photo in the top right corner of the website.
Click on the photo and in the drop down menu you need Account settings again.
Look for Discovery down the left hand side then click Search.
This is where the SEO Settings are for the SmugMug homepage.
Again you have meta description, meta keywords, and then further down the page the meta site title to fill in.
These are your main SEO settings for what the website is about.
Step 9. Get a google search console account
A google search console account is free.
You can set yourself one up ready for the next steps.
Step 10. Add property
Once you have set up the google search console account you can then add property.
This adding your website to google search console.
Add your web address, your domain name in.
Step 11. Verify domain ownership
Next you will be asked to verify domain ownership.
This requires you to the add the TXT code into your domain name via DNS records. Copy the whole code.
Create a TXT code paste the code in the DNS records of your domain name and wait for while for it to work.
Or you could be asked to verify domain ownership another way.
Verify SmugMug website
You can verify your site by adding the HTML tag method into the back of the SmugMug website.
To do this go to account settings discovery, search, SmugMug SEO settings then verify site ownership near the bottom of the page.
Then choose google webmaster tools.
Step 12. Submit your SmugMug sitemap
Once you have verified your site with google search console you can then submit your websites sitemap.
SmugMug have already created a sitemap for your website.
Just add /sitemap-index.xml onto the end of your domain name.
In the panel on the left hand side of google search console look for sitemaps.
You need your website or domain name selected then click sitemaps.
It will ask you to add a new sitemap this is where you put in the sitemap.
Once you have entered your sitemap correctly it will say success.
If it say’s couldn’t fetch all you have done is put the details of the domain name in wrong, try again.
That is the SmugMug SEO all done.