How to Choose SEO Services for Photographers

Choosing the right SEO services for photographers can be overwhelming with all the options out there. As a photographer myself, I know how important it is to get your work seen online. But you also need to be smart about who you trust to handle your SEO. In this post, I’ll break down the key things to look for when evaluating SEO providers for photographers like us. I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years, so hopefully you can learn from them!

Know What You Really Need

How to Choose SEO Services for Photographers

Before anything else – figure out your specific SEO goals. Do you need to:

  • Get your photos ranking higher in Google Images?
  • Drive more traffic to your photography website?
  • Get more clicks from the SERPs to your site?
  • Improve your local SEO to attract clients in your city?

Get very clear on the results you’re after. That way any potential SEO help knows exactly what success looks like for you.

Many photographers realize they need to rank higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But it’s super important to get more specific than that. Do you care more about ranking for commercial product photography terms? Wedding photography keywords? Your specific location?

When you know exactly what kinds of terms and rankings matter most, it’s much easier to find an SEO pro who can deliver.

Ask To See Case Studies: SEO Services for Photographers

Any SEO company worth their salt should have case studies readily available for prospective clients.

A case study shows real examples of how they’ve achieved results for photographers or similar businesses.

When checking out their case studies, look for a few key things:

Recent Timeframes

Make sure the case studies reflect recent work, ideally from the last 1-2 years. SEO changes fast, so anything older might be outdated or involve tactics that no longer work.

Relevant Industries

See if they have case studies for other photographers or creative pros like you. Niche focus is a good sign that they understand the unique challenges you face.

URLs and Rankings

Quality case studies will show specific URL improvements and Google rankings achieved (e.g. we took this page from #32 to #5 for “wedding photographers Austin”). Anything less specific could be questionable.

Real Client Details

Legit case studies will name actual photographer clients and link out to real websites they’ve optimized in the past. If it seems too vague or anonymous, that’s a red flag.

Learn About Their SEO Process

Beyond past results, you need to know what working with this SEO company will actually look like.

A trustworthy SEO provider should explain their full process for optimizing sites step-by-step. Pay attention to a few key phases in particular:

Research and Analysis

Do they put in the work to analyze and understand your current website performance first? Or do they jump straight into doing random optimization tactics? Their process should be grounded in audits and competitor research.

Keyword Targeting

What’s their system for selecting the most profitable SEO keywords to target for your particular goals as a photographer? Do they help refine this list over time as rankings and needs change? You want a strategic, evolving approach here.

Content Optimization

How will they improve existing content or create new content to drive rankings? Good SEOs outline their content production process to match target keywords. From on page optimization to blogs and videos, content should support your keyword needs.

Technical SEO

A quality SEO company will evaluate and enhance technical elements like site architecture, URL structures, page speed, metadata, etc. That’s the real engine under the hood that powers visibility and traffic.

Getting those technical details from an audit and plan shows serious and strategic thinking.

Link Building

What’s their link building process? Any vendor worth hiring has an outreach plan to earn high quality backlinks from other photography blogs, directories, and industry publications over time. That’s what Google wants to see – relevant sites linking back to yours.

Ongoing Optimization

Rankings fluctuate all the time with Google algorithm updates. Ask about their plan to keep monitoring and evolving your organic growth month to month. SEO is never “one and done”.

Getting a peek into the full lifecycle of working with a provider goes a long way. You’ll have more confidence that they can actually deliver what you need.

Verify Recent Results

Past case studies are nice, but you also need to confirm ongoing success with the latest Google updates. SEO changes all the time and a company could be using old laurels as their credential.

During calls or consultations, ask about recent photography website rankings they’ve achieved. Any reputable agency should be able to reference active client growth and metrics from 2022 or even 2023.

Specific recent examples might include:

“We ranked a Connecticut wedding photographer #2 for ‘affordable CT weddings’ back in August.”

“Just last month we got a Denver product photographer to page 1 for various ecommerce keywords.”

“We took an Ohio portrait studio from nowhere to #6 for ‘family portraits Cleveland’ back in December.”

If an SEO company gets dodgy or can’t provide any metrics from recent work, consider that another possible red flag. You need to know they can deliver in today’s ever-changing SEO landscape.

Which reminds me about changes…

Ask About Google Updates

Google is constantly tweaking their algorithms and rules that decide website visibility. Just over the last year or two we’ve seen updates like Helpful Content, Product Review update, Passage Indexing, etc.

And of course there are multiple updates every single year.

A truly skilled SEO provider actively adapts their strategies based on the latest Google algorithm news. They should explain the impacts of recent updates and how they tweak their services accordingly.

For example in mid-2021, Google rolled out a broad core update that shook up rankings across photography and many other niches. Did they identify what worked and what didn’t during that volatile time? How did they adjust link building, content creation, and optimization moving forward?

Ideally an SEO firm is deeply plugged into the latest Google chatter through industry resources like SearchEngineJournal, SearchEngineLand, Moz Blog, etc. They participate in webmaster forums and adjust as algorithms shift.

Understanding Google’s movements shows the strategic thinking you want directing your organic growth.

Watch For lock-In Contracts

Look For SEO Specialization

As photographers, we specialize in specific niches like weddings, portraits, commercial products, real estate, etc. It helps to work with an SEO provider who specializes too.

An SEO firm that focuses heavily on professional photographers brings so much more relevant experience to the table. They already understand important camera and photography keywords. They know the types of sites that should link back for domain authority. Also, they deal with the visual nature of photos and embeddings.

I’d still quiz any prospective SEO help on photography search behaviors and scenarios. But a company dedicating significant resources to the photo industry gives you a strategic head start.

When researching providers, look for things like:

  • Photography blogs and resources
  • Case studies for photographers
  • Services specifically for photographers
  • Team members with photography backgrounds
  • Participation in photography trade groups

Think of it this way…if you needed legal help on a copyright case, would you want a generic lawyer? Or one specialized in dealing with photography copyright issues?

Same idea applies for SEO services to maximize your chances of visible, sustainable website success into the future.

Watch For lock-In Contracts: SEO Services for Photographers

As you evaluate potential SEO providers, carefully inspect any contracts before signing. Some agencies try locking photographers into long term deals.

You need the flexibility to stop services if your needs change or results don’t happen.

Contract Length

I advise month to month contracts when first testing SEO services, especially if unproven. Year long (or worse – multi-year) agreements can be extremely hard to cancel without major fees.

Early Termination Fees

Read the fine print to confirm you can exit reasonably if want. Some SEOs bury huge termination fees equivalent to the full remaining contract value! That means no way out if things go south.

Cancellation Terms

What are the exact steps required to cancel services? Is a phone call enough or do you have to send snail mail? Watch for odd cancellation processes that make it really hard to actually fire them.

Responsibilities After Cancellation

A fair SEO company turns over all admin access upon cancellation and lets you control site promotion moving forward. Some agencies keep backdoor access or try blocking site changes which is totally unacceptable. Know exactly what happens when parting ways.

Transparency around contracts, cancellation, and post-relationship terms helps avoid feeling trapped with the wrong partner supporting your online photography presence.

Require Ongoing Reporting: SEO Services for Photographers

Monthly reporting and analytics review should be standard operating procedure from any legitimate SEO service.

At minimum, you need to see:

Keyword Rankings

How are you trending each month for your target photography terms? Are you gaining ground or losing visibility? They should track and present this data.

Traffic Sources

You need visibility into WHERE website visitors are coming from – organic search vs. social vs. referring sites. Knowing your traffic channels helps guide ongoing SEO efforts.

Popular Pages

What website pages and blog posts are drawing the most user interest? This helps identify winning content to produce more of what people want.

Link Profile

To fulfill their link building services, they should show new backlinks earned each month across photography blogs, directories, other contextual sites, etc.

Ongoing Initiatives

A quality SEO partner explains optimizations and campaigns currently underway to continue growing your organic presence and converting traffic.

Transparency is everything when trusting an outside company to optimize your website visibility. Make sure they commit to giving you a window into key metrics each month so you understand their impact.

Now as I wrap things up, I know your mind might be spinning with questions about choosing the best SEO services as a professional photographer.


Do I really need SEO as a photographer?

Absolutely! Organic search helps fuel ongoing interest and discovery of your photography long term. Paid ads come and go. So professional SEO services strengthen your always-on foundation of website visitors.

What qualifications should an SEO company have?

Ideally they employ certified SEOs through organizations like Search Engine Land, HubSpot, Semrush, Google Partners, etc. This shows they invest in ongoing education as algorithms change. Also look for specialist areas of focus like photography SEO.

How long until I see SEO results?

It realistically takes 3-6 months to start seeing significant trend improvements. Rankings don’t happen overnight (unless you only care about spammy tactics). Expect slow and steady momentum over each quarter.

Can I do SEO myself as a photographer?

You CAN…but doing effective, ongoing SEO yourself requires non-stop education not directly related to taking great photos. Your time is likely better invested doing what you do best – capturing amazing images to promote online!

How much do SEO services cost on average?

It varies based on needs and geographic region, but roughly $750-$2500 per month for mid-level photography SEO. Contract minimums generally apply based on level of service. Invest for long term growth over quick fix gimmicks!

Last Thoughts

When it comes to finding the right SEO services for photographers like us, it’s important to take your time and carefully vet different agencies. Use the overview provided as a framework for selecting the best option for your needs. Embark on the journey of mastering SEO for wedding photographers by remembering to get clear on the results you want and keeping a close eye on progress in the first few months. By doing so, you’ll be able to ensure that your online photography presence receives the boost it needs to stand out from the crowd. So go ahead and evaluate potential SEO partners thoroughly – your success depends on it!

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