Ready to be a link building star? Links are to websites as Likes are to Facebook… you (Google in this case) can tell who is popular by the quantity and quality of links/Likes. New or veteran photography businesses should focus on gaining lots of quality links back to their websites/blogs to show Google you deserve to be recommended with a high rank. Here’s 5 not-so-traditional ways to get quality links without much effort.
Donate a Professional Photo
Wedding photographers should snap a few photos of the vendors at each wedding: invitations, cakes, event rental stuff, music/DJ, bar host, the venue building, etc. Most would quickly create a blog post of the occasion using your professional photos, and gladly provide a link in return. This builds SEO while extending brand awareness to prospective brides who are browsing the other vendor blogs.
Family photographers can do something similar with local family stores, like a kids clothing boutique, birthday party venue, bounce house rental company, etc.
Most small businesses don’t have great photos, so offer some up in exchange for a link back to your site.
Or go photograph an event, like a holiday parade, town social, or community gathering. Local press is often shorthanded and could use great images for their coverage of the event. Easy way to get in the online edition of a nearby publication.
Give a Raving Testimonial
I got linked from the homepage of an extremely popular WordPress themes site because I gave them a killer quote about how the theme is great for SEO. I spend considerable time crafting the quote into something I knew they would want to use, and it paid off with a link from a major website. Even if I knew the CEO of the company I could not have asked for a link. But everyone loves a good review of their product, and will gladly link out to showcase who said it. You can see an example of this on my testimonials page.
Think about businesses who could benefit from your testimonial. A wedding photographer might email the bride’s hair stylist and say “In over 100 weddings photographed, I’ve never seen such stunning hair style on a bride!” General photographers can give great quotes about the products you use (camera bags, lighting, props). Make sure to focus on links within your industry. Don’t go raving about your car insurance guy to try and get a link from him or her. That doesn’t help SEO much.
Host a Free Event
Put together a little workshop for brides (wedding photography), local moms (family photography), or teens (senior photography) so you can get featured across an array of event websites like event brite, meetup or tweetup. Or get someone else to host an event for you. For example a kids clothing boutique would gladly promote your website and brand in exchange for a public mini session at their place of business. Anywhere you speak, the venue will most likely have a page about you on its website.
Or like I mentioned above, go to someone else’s free event and photograph it.
Start an Awards Program (or Win One)
Why do you think your local news station has contests like The Best of Sacramento? All the winners and honorees go promoting them with links, signs in their storefront, and mention in their marketing materials. I get about one Facebook message a day asking me to go vote for someone somewhere. I see two approaches to help your SEO with awards programs.
You can win one, like in the Sacramento example above. The site hosting the award will definitely link to you in that case, but it may be difficult to win.
You can also host one. Put together a little program to honor the top vendors in your industry, best photos in your city or of a particular style, the list goes on. There’s a million ideas around awards and you don’t have to be anyone special to do one. A simple blog post where you pick your “favorites” might be enough to get a bunch of people sharing that post with their readership or following. If you can do a major program, make sure you get a great badge that others want to put on their website. The Webby Awards and I Heart Faces come to mind – I see badges for those all over the place – meaning lots of links to their websites.
Join a Group
A group can be a local meetup like the Sacramento Smug Mug group I attended a couple times. by joining I met some great local photographers and also got my bio page linked from their meetup site.
It can be a virtual group, like a forum or online community. I have memberships in about 15 photography forums. In talking with others I will sometimes link to my website to show an example of something. It is easier just to create a forum signature that links to you every time you make a post. I have 15 different signatures – each one links to a different page of my site and uses different anchor text in the link. It’s an easy way to make Google think “Zach’s site is popular in tons of photography forums, all different pages of his site are popular, and he’s popular for lost of different keywords.”
Note: Facebook groups don’t give much link juice, so focus on public groups that Google can see (not paid/private ones).
I hope that helps get more links. If you want an ebook dedicated to SEO, visit my affiliate Photographer’s SEO Community.