Running a small business is no easy task. It's messy and thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. But no matter what, it's definitely a journey worth taking. As a mom of two littles, I know the daily struggles, and I'm here to walk this journey with you. If you're ready to feel empowered, encouraged and on fire for the things you truly love, and you're in the right place. I'm Rebecca Rice, a pizza loving hot chocolate drinking family photographer and educator. And this is the business Journey podcast.
Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of the business Journey podcast. I'm your host, Rebecca. And today, I'm really excited that we have another special guest with us on today, you guys will notice that more and more, we're inviting guests onto our podcast. And I'm just thrilled because I feel like there's so many other experts in just our industry that have so many things to offer. And I'm excited for you guys to get all the know. So today we have Emily with by Emily Jane. And she is a Squarespace web designer and strategist. And she's going to be talking to us all about how to get more eyes on your website with SEO. So if you're not sure what SEO is, it's a search engine engine optimization basically get found by Google. And I know this is one of those topics that photographers a lot of times have problems with because it's something we kind of put on the back burner you know, when we're getting our business up and running and all the things and it shouldn't be a backburner topic. Honestly, SEO should be one of the things that we're doing right from the start because it is more of like a long game play. So I'm excited to be able to jump in with Emily about all the things. So hello, Emily, welcome to our podcast.
Hi, Rebecca. Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to do like what you said and try to make SEO something that people aren't really afraid of anymore?
Yes, for sure. Yeah, definitely. Um, it's it's one of those like scary topics, because there's just, it's a whole world and people just are not as educated as I wish they were on SEO. So I think this is gonna be really helpful for our listeners. So Emily, can you give everybody a little bit of an introduction if they don't know who you are? You know, what you do where you're from all the things?
Sure, yeah. So I have a business called by Emily Jane. And like you said, I do Squarespace web design and website strategy for other creatives like us. And it actually started as a photography business back in 2016. And so how I ended up here is I had to learn how to create a website for my photography business. And there were so many things to think about, like how like, what platform do I use? How do I use that platform? And how do I make sure that this website actually does what I wanted to which is selling my services for me? Like, it's, it's functional, and it makes me look good. And then there's SEO. So there are so many things with websites to think about. And once I started getting the hang of it, I really fell in love with it. And I realized, like, I don't want other people like me to have to spend all that time figuring it all out. And so what I really like to do is just support other creatives and making it feel a lot easier. And so, like I said, when we're going to be talking about SEO today, that's my goal is not to use silly technical language that I don't even understand like the point of using. It's like just we're going to talk about an in plain English. And you're asked where I'm from. I'm in Dallas, Texas, born and raised.
Yeah, yeah. Love it. I am also born and raised in Dallas. Now I'm in Nashville. But my husband, I were both born and raised in Dallas. So we are big Dallas fans. I'm cool. So let's jump into SEO just to make sure that we're all on the same page going forward. Can you just talk about what is SEO? And why does it matter to family photographers?
Absolutely. So it stands for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, what I like to say it's, it's like the secret language of Google. And if you want to get clients from your website, you need to be able to speak that language and play the game essentially. Really, there's like a few things that Google just wants to make sure of when it comes to your business and your website. They want to know that it's legitimate. You know, it's not a scam or, or something that you went out of business like a decade ago. They want to make sure that it's active and operational. It needs to be useful for the website visitor and easy to use. So not only can does it function well but it also provides You know, value to people. And when your site is properly optimized for those things, Google rewards you, you get bumped higher up in search results. And that gets you more eyes on your website. For photographers, specifically, we know that the industry is really crowded. And so having great SEO is just an awesome way to get an edge over the competition in your area. Because what happens to most young businesses, especially as they spend a lot of time on building a cool website, only to have it sit there gathering dust, because it's not being found online. And so we want your website to actually get you clients.
Yes. And I feel like there's this misconception in our industry that if you put together a website and hit publish, that it'll just get found. And that's not the way that Google works. Like, you don't just get found on Google, there's actually strategy to it. And, you know, by taking some intentional steps, which I know we'll talk about here in just a second, that, you know, you'll be able to boost your SEO and get higher in your rankings. And it is a longer game play. Like it's not something that's going to happen overnight. But with patience, you will see results because Google likes it when you play their game and speak their language. So all that's good. So with SEO, we hear a lot about keywords. And so can you kind of dive in what exactly are keywords? And how should we choose the right ones? How do we know what keywords to target when you know, we're optimizing for SEO and all that? Because I know for us, we use we have a WordPress blog, and we use the Yoast SEO plugin. And so you can literally like type in a keyword. And it'll help you you know, optimize your posts for that. But if photographers don't know what keywords to use, like it's not helpful for them. And so can we talk a little bit about that whole side of things when it comes to keyword for
sure? Yeah. So yeah, like you said, Keywords are the main thing that you need to know about SEO. So if you can kind of get a good grasp on this, you are pretty much most of the way there in terms of getting up in those Google results. And keywords really are not that complicated. It's really just the words or phrases or questions that people are typing into Google, when they're looking for someone to hire, or they're just looking for information about a certain topic. Those are the keywords. It's what you're typing into Google. So all you need to do is think of what your clients might be typing in when they're looking to hire someone like you. For example, that could be like, Boston portrait photographer, that's those are keywords right there. Family Photos in Chicago, professional photography studio, Seattle, lifestyle photographer near me, those are all just different examples of things that people are typing in. And another way to figure out if you can't like really think of that on your own, you can actually just type into Google, some, you know, like a phrase related to what you do. And then if you look in those search results, there's a section there that'll say, people also ask dot, dot dot, and it'll have like a little compact list of related search terms that people are searching for. So that'll give you tons of ideas right there. And you can just keep, you know, going down that rabbit hole and write down some ideas. And those are great ways to gather your keywords. And there are really four keywords that you absolutely need to have throughout your website to make sure you're getting found by the right people in your area. So should I go over those real quick?
That would be great. Yes, please do.
So the first one is your business name. And this may seem obvious, but most people actually don't write it out. Most people just kind of leave it in their logo. But the thing is, Google cannot read your business name in your in the image of your logo, so you have to make sure to spell it out in multiple places. Otherwise, even if someone knows your business name, when they type it in, nothing's gonna come up. Because Google doesn't have that info. The second one is very similar. And it's your personal name, if it's different from your business name, because again, this is something a lot of people don't take the time to explicitly put in their website. And if someone knows your name, maybe their relative or maybe they met you in person one time, and they can't quite remember the name of your business, but they know your name, and they know you're a photographer, they need to be able to find you by searching
for that. And that needs to be first and last name. I can't tell you how many times I go to a photographer's website, obviously, I teach photographers, so you know, if I'm looking through, you know, mastermind applications or something like that, and I go to their website, I see their first name. They're like, Hi, I'm Rebecca, but I don't know what their last name is. And I have to search and I can't find it and like that's not helpful. So you want to make sure you put your last name on your website too, because it's important people need.
All of these are super, like, they seem obvious when, when we say them out loud, but most of us just don't think about it. So just to double check these things. The third one is your location. This is obviously very important because as a family photographer, you're usually only working in your area. Even if you have, maybe you work between two different states in the US still important, make sure you're writing that down for everyone to see, including Google. The last one is just clearly stating what you do. You may think it's obvious what you do based on the images that you have on your site. But again, Google is only going to know what you put in writing. So state that you're a photographer, and then tell me what kind of photography you do.
Now, I was so helpful. And I'm like sitting here, as you're saying that, like, do I have these things on my website? We're in the process of getting our website completely redesigned. And so I'm like, taking notes, okay, I'm gonna go tell my designer, we need these things on our Web. Yeah.
Final, quick on keywords is just to make sure you're switching them up a little bit. You don't want to like repeat the exact combination of, you know, two or three words over and over and over, because Google could actually think that that's spammy and kind of take away your SEO points. So basically, just don't sound like a robot, use a natural way of speaking and just make sure you're mixing it up using variations on those phrases.
I love that. Okay, well, that kind of leads into my next question, because I was gonna say, once we like know what keywords we want to use, how or where should we put these keywords strategically, obviously, we don't want to just like put it in the middle of our page, like, with no purpose. So like, what are some places that we want to put those keywords so that number one, Google can see them, but also that we don't sound like a robot, like you're saying that it seems like it's naturally woven into our website.
Yeah. So there's really three of the big areas that you want to make sure you're inserting your keywords. And that's the headings, the page descriptions and your image names. So I can go over each of each one of these briefly. Hurt. So really anywhere on your site is great to have keywords. But if you can put them in your headings and your subheadings, Google will scan for those headings, and they will consider those to be the main ideas of your website. So you know, sometimes people use their headings just to say something not super targeted. And it's kind of just like maybe saying something fun, like a fun phrase, or a welcome. But you if you can actually put those keywords in there, then it does so much for your business. A really good practice is to have your h1 Heading, which is the biggest heading on your site, just use it once at the top of each page to get the point across for that page, like what's the main idea of this page, have it right there in your biggest heading at the top of that page. For example, on your services page, you could have an h1 heading that says legacy portraits for your family. So not only does that tell the visitor, they're in the right place, but it tells Google exactly what this page is for. And then the next place would be in your image names. Because Google can actually read those. And that will help your images pop up in Google image search, which gets you more exposure. And so for example, instead of it being labeled like Robinson's family 198, name it something like Dallas studio family portrait, and then upload that picture to your website. And that will act as like a little tag for Google to read.
I love that, like we we do that we use blog stomp when we're blind. And so like, obviously, we don't deliver images that say, you know, Nashville family photographer 001. Like, no, it, that'd be silly. So we deliver to the client, you know, Robinson family, whatever. But whenever we use blog stomp, we, it allows us to rename all of our files when we export them. So it resizes them for web just like we need on our blog, and it renames all the files to that SEO optimized like title. That way. Google can read it and it's nice, but we also that's not we're delivering to our clients. So it's an extra step. But that's a we do just to make Google happy, but also make our clients happy. Yeah.
And the more that you're doing these things, the more Google's understanding like the full scope of what your expertise is, you're really giving them like a network of information to work with. So yeah, I love blog stomp, that's great. And then another Perfect place for your keywords is in your page titles and descriptions. So this is actually going to be something in the back end of your website. So depending on what platform you're using, whether it's WordPress, or Squarespace or show it or something else, you're just going to have to find out where can I input my page titles and descriptions. And this is going to be what shows up on the Google listing for that website page. So for example, if I have an About page on my website, instead of just titling it, about emily jane photography, you could title it something a little bit more attention grabbing, like fun, St. Louis family studio dash, emily jane photography, and that really will catch someone's attention when they're looking at those Google results, and entice them to click on it more. And then you can elaborate on that in the page description just to make sure they have the information they need to know like, hey, click on this page, it has what you're looking for.
Yeah, I love that. And that's, that's one piece that I am, like, known for forgetting is updating my page descriptions, like always, and so I'll you know, share a link somewhere and I look, whenever you know that they have the link preview, I'm like, Oh, that's not what that's to go into the backend of my show and fix it. But I know in show it, it literally has a tab called SEO settings. And so you're able to go in and change the page title and change the description and all that. But don't forget those either listening, if you haven't updated or you haven't changed your page descriptions, go do that now because it's probably wrong.
Yeah, like you said, it'll just if you don't do that yourself, then Google will just pull something random from the page. And it might not be the best representation of you know, the purpose of that page.
So good. Okay, so we've talked about how to use keywords strategically, and all the things other than using keywords, what are maybe some more ways that we can increase our exposure on Google and help you know, us get to the top? You know, we've done our homework, we've done the keyword stuff, but is there anything else that we can do to kind of help our SEO juice booster boost ourselves up?
Yeah, there's a few more things we can talk about here that are pretty easy to update. So I mentioned images, renaming them. And you also said, you know, in blog stomp, you're compressing the image, you're resizing it. That's exactly what we need to be doing. Because photos are typically the biggest culprit in slowing down a website. And Google does not like it when a site loads slowly, and neither do your visitors by the way. And by slowly, quote unquote, I mean, like most people will abandon a website, if it takes longer than three seconds to load. So we don't have long, I feel very impatient as people. So ideally, you want your images to be less than 500 kilobytes per image. And in terms of the file size, and then a good rule of thumb for like the proportions for for a website is no longer than 2000 pixels on the long edge of each photo. So yeah, if you the main images on, sorry, the main pages on your website, like home about services, etc, you want to make sure that those are those images are being compressed and optimized and sized down for sure. And then if you're going to be creating more content regularly like blogging, then I absolutely suggest getting something like blog stomp, to speed up the process. Another great one is JPEG Mini. And that like blog song, it's a one time purchase. And then you have it for life and you just dump like you just dump a batch of photos in that app on your computer, and then it spits them back out ready to go. And it's so fast. No Yeah, love. Another thing you can do is check the mobile version of your website. Because most of the time we build our websites on the computer. And then we don't really worry about how it's functioning or looking on our phone. But nowadays, over half of internet traffic is on mobile at all times. So Google considers it hugely important that your website works well across all devices, especially if you're using Instagram to do a lot of your marketing and get a lot of your leads and traffic to your website. Because they're going to be on their phone when they're getting there. So you know this the kind of things you want to look for is like, you obviously shouldn't have to pinch and zoom to be able to read your website or click on things. You want to avoid any pop ups that are hard to X out of on the phone, which unfortunately I see a lot. Sometimes the pop up just runs off of the edge of the screen. And it's like, I can't even use the site now, because I can't get out of this thing,
where I've seen where the x is like not either not visible or not, like, prominent. So I'm sitting there staring at, like, how do I get out of this thing, and it's not obvious. Like, I like to see an obvious x, where I can just go and click if I'm not interested, and then move on. Yeah,
and Google is surprisingly, picking up on all those things. Nowadays, if there's a pop up, that's like super intrusive, they're gonna pick up on that. And so, yeah, just make sure everything's functioning properly. You know, like when it comes to the images on your site. Are there words that are like covering people's face, that's another thing, like it doesn't really have to do with SEO. But it does have to do with like, the overall effectiveness of your website. So anytime you make changes on the computer, just make sure to pull it up on your phone, and check for all that. And if you actually want to know how Google is rating your mobile friendliness, right now, you can actually just search for Google, sorry, Google mobile friendly test. That's kind of a mouthful. But all you have to do is pop in your website address, and it'll instantly tell you whether you meet their requirements, and if not what you need to fix. So that's a great tool
that's helpful, awesome. And then the last thing that I never want to talk about SEO without mentioning, is blogging. And everything that we've covered so far, is really just considered having a solid SEO foundation. Like you said, this is something that helps you over the long term. But sometimes having that good foundation isn't necessarily going to be enough, it's just like, those are the first steps to make sure you're starting off on the right foot. But if you want to get on the first page of Google faster, especially if you have a lot of competition in your area, the best thing you can do is create more content about your service about your topic of expertise. And that's where blogging comes in. And it's basically kind of just like putting more entries into the raffle, if that makes sense. So that way, you just have more chances of showing up. And it also tells Google that you're a current and active business because your website is being updated regularly. And if you think about it this way, if you only have the core pages on your site, like home about services, then you're competing with all the other photographers in your area that also have a homepage and an about page and a services page. But if you are constantly answering questions related to your services, then those are other things that people are searching for, and gives you a chance to, to show up for them. So if if you're in the habit of just posting a gallery of your latest session, then not many people are going to look at that blog post and it doesn't really do anything for your SEO. But if you add in value for the reader, then that really can do a lot for your business. So for example, maybe you start by just writing down a list of frequently asked questions that you get from clients and give each question its own blog post to answer in depth. And those are things that people are going to be searching for and wanting to learn about. Then you can think of some common misconceptions that your clients tend to have or things that you wish people knew before working with you, you can discuss each one of those in a blog post. Or if you do have a photoshoot that you want to share, talk about some of the challenges that you overcame. So here are some examples for you know, all of these kinds of topics. You could talk about, like how to handle toddlers at a photoshoot. What to wear for family portraits, backup plans for when it rains at your photoshoot, 10 best locations in Phoenix for outdoor photos. So these are all things that you can teach about and other people will be searching for. And the last thing I want to say about blogging is if it's if it sounds overwhelming, or like you won't have time to keep up with more on your plate like a consistent content schedule. Seriously, just do what you can when you can because one good blog post can help you immensely to reach new people. And if you're using keywords and giving people value, it can land you in the number one spot so you really don't need to be consistent these days to see results from it. Just do what you can.
Yeah, I love the idea of blogging like FAQs, like you were saying because that was something that I have. I've gotten a separate brand of my photography business for my associate team. And that's something that they started doing because they had, they would get so many questions just in between the time that somebody books to when their session was, and they started seeing patterns. And so it was like, kill two birds with one stone, we create a blog post about it. So of course, you know, it helps our Google rankings and hopefully get up there. But also it gives us something to serve our clients better by sent having, you know, pre written blog posts that we can send them instead of typing up the same email every time, we can say, you know, can I bring my dog to my session? Absolutely. Here's a blog post, we wrote about three tips to, you know, bring a dog involving a dog in your family photos. And so we're not only answering the question, but then providing extra value that they didn't ask for, that just helps elevate that client experience. So that's, I'm just a huge fan of blogging, of course, for the SEO purposes, but also, you know, really repurposing that content to better serve our clients and just create a better client experience for them. So I just think that it's a really great way to do both at
once. You know, that is such a good idea. And people love it. And it really, it really shows that you're an expert, and that you're generous, because you you give away this information for free. And yeah, it's it just makes you look very much like a professional.
Absolutely, I completely agree. Well, all of that was super helpful. I know that our listeners are going to get so much value, let's say, Emily, that they just are hungry for SEO, and they want to learn more, where can they find you? I know you had mentioned to me that you have a free download that they can grab. Can you tell us a little bit about that? And just where they can go for more? For sure.
Yeah. So my website is by Emily jane.com. And I do blog about these kinds of things, as well as other website topics all the time, like I said, just to try to make it easier for people. And I do have a freebie that I created just for y'all. It's called Five quick fixes for better SEO. And it's actually five more things that we didn't touch on because they're slightly more advanced. But if you feel like you're ready for that, then this is a great guide for you. And you can get that at by Emily jane.com/seo Fix.
Perfect. And we will link all of the things you know in the description of our podcasts in the show notes so that everybody can have those super easily. And where can they find you on social media? They just want to connect with you.
Yeah, so I'm on Instagram at by emily jane. I'm on Tik Tok at by emily jane as well. And I also will be talking about these things over there. So if blog posts aren't really your thing, then I'm happy to keep in touch on social media.
Perfect. Awesome. Well, I know you guys, that guide is going to be so helpful. So for sure. Go download that and give Emily a follow because she's just full of great resources. And I know it's gonna be helpful. So Emily, thank you so much for joining us and for sharing your knowledge today. And I'm excited for this to go live for our audience to be able to dive into thanks so much for having me. Yeah. All right, guys. We're gonna go ahead and sign off for today. So we will see you back for more awesome stuff this time next week. Bye.