Zen and the Art of SEO


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Photography: flattop341

Want to power up your photography site? Want to see your portfolio getting more traffic than LA in rush hour? Want your search engine optimization to give your photo sales a miraculous rebirth?Well, here’s the good news…

Getting visitors see the photos on your website is exactly like learning to ride a Harley-Davidson.

Okay, maybe not exactly. There are a few small differences, of course. It’s a lot quieter, you don’t need to grow a beard or buy a leather jacket, and unless you’ve got the office window open, you’re not likely to feel a breeze blowing through your hair.

But with the right attitude and a little mental reframing, promoting the photos that appear on your website or blog can feel a lot like a trip across country with nowhere to go and all the time in the world to get there.

Here’s why…

Explore the Online Photography World’s Back Alleys
It starts with choosing your route. Optimizing a photo site for search engines usually means seeding the Web with links that lead back to your own page. But with big sites choosy about who they link to, owners of sites that have yet to hit top gear need to head for the less popular regions of the Web.

And like small towns, it’s possible to stumble into all sorts of surprises there: witty blogs about photography topics that are usually deadly serious. Websites stuffed with insider information you can’t learn anywhere else. Tips and tricks you would never have discovered but which you’re now dying to try out.

It’s like driving around without a map, skipping past the ghost towns and being ready to stop off at any picturesque place that catches your eye… then leaving a link.

Enjoy Levitating your PageRank
Of course, trying to place links on small sites — the sort of places populated by readers measured in the hundreds rather than the hundreds of thousands — can be slow going. That’s why you need to enjoy the ride rather than the destination.

Instead of setting goals that involve hitting page two of Google’s search results for “landscape photography” say or “wedding photography” by the end of the month and page one by the end of three months, set a goal that involves nothing more stressful than enjoying building your site and adding photos to it.

It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a strategy that too many owners of photography websites ignore. They focus on the result and when they achieve it, they want more. It’s no longer enough to be in the top three of one keyword. They want to be in the top three of a dozen keywords.

The result isn’t just a sense of dissatisfaction that never goes away. That continuous desire can make them go away from their site when they never achieve everything they want.

It makes much more sense to simply enjoy moving forward, talking to other site owners, bloggers and photographers, answering comments from readers and soaking up the praise from people who enjoy looking at your images or reading your content.

Find your SEO Photo Nirvana
But even if you can lean back and enjoy the ride, you will find your page rank going somewhere. So how do you know when you’ve arrived? When can you be satisfied with the results of your search engine optimization?

The answer is to avoid the question. As long as your site is growing, your users are enjoying your photos and you’re having fun producing it, you’ll have found your online Nirvana.

And that could be the time to start a new cycle with a whole new website focusing on a different photography niche.

Take a break from shooting and read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or tell us how you cope with optimizing your photography website.

[tags] photo seo [/tags]


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