How to get more photography clients with local SEO

Does your website bring you new clients for photo shooting? Would you like to get more customers and make more money as a photographer? In this blog post you can discover what local SEO is and how it can help to get your photography business off the ground.

According to Photoshelter’s The Photographer's Outlook on 2015 survey, 74% of photographers think the most troublesome thing is the task of finding new clients.

About 90% of professional photographers have a website for showcasing images and getting found online, but only 5% of them get new clients from this source.


"Which area has been your greatest source of new clients? The top responses were:"

Source of new clients for photography business

Are you one of those who have paid for the website design and yearly fee for the domain name, web hosting, and website maintenance but advertise it only on your business cards?

The internet is a huge space and new clients can come to your website from different sources like social networks, forums, news websites, classifieds and lists, but when you need to find something on the internet who do you usually do? Right, ask Google.

SEO for photographers – understanding the local rankings game to become #1 in your area

When your potential client want to find a photographer who may be you, he goes to Google and searches. Ok, Google. Find me a good photographer in my town.

Let’s look at an example of what a person is seeing when searching for “wedding photographer miami fl” in Google. The results a person gets are search engine pages. They may consist of different blocks. In our case they are 4 paid Google Adwords, then 3 map listings known as Map 3 pack, and then 608,000 usual listings ranked by a complex search algorithm and called free organic listings.

Understanding local SEO for photography business

To see your website on the first place (among 680,000) you need search engine optimization (SEO) to be applied to the website. If your website is considered the best among others, you will get a stable flow of customers daily or weekly during the months and years. When your website becomes ranked #1, the visitors from organic search traffic turn into new customers and bring you more money.

So how do you get a photographer’s website ranked # 1 in search engine listings?

You must prove to Google that your website is really the best one among rest, in our case these are 608,000. But the more challenging goal is to be #1 on the map among happy 3 pack members. Until August 2015, 3 pack was 7 pack and local SEO was easier. Now there are fewer free places on the map, and more paid ads above the map. But you still can get to the free organic searches. So what should you do?

Let’s say you are a photographer in Miami and you have a studio in a certain location where clients come to. Marketers call that type of local business Brick-n-Mortar Business and Google puts these companies on the map results. What should you do to see your studio on the first place for “photographer in Miami”?

First of all, you should understand how local search algorithm now works. Local searches in Google are powered by user location. Let’s say you have a photography studio in Downtown Miami. If a person, physically located in Little Havana, does search for “photographer in Miami”, he will see results that are different from what a person located in Hialeah gets for the same search.

Local search for photographer in Miami

Your photography studio website will rank in the 3-pack map results for users who are located around you or for those who search exactly for “photographer downtown Miami” even if they are physically located somewhere in Kendall, Miami.

But your website must be optimized for that and include keywords and phrases that relate your neighborhood, city, community and surrounding area. This is what local SEO does.

5 essential local SEO steps to see your website on the top of Google

The following steps will help to promote your local photographer website in Google searches.

  1. Set up a Google My Business account, claim your business to Google Map, create and optimize your Google+ page.
  2. Set up a list of search terms and locations you want to gain clients from.
  3. Create and optimize your website content for these search terms.
  4. Start citation and link building
  5. Start local social media marketing (SMM)

These steps are all interrelated and you can’t just miss any of them. You should do that constantly and in a right way. How exactly? We will talk about that in our next blog posts. Just subscribe to our newsletter and get an email notification, so you don’t miss this important information.

Now you should also understand the difference between regular and local SEO for photographers. If you can’t get to the 3-pack on the Map, you still have a chance to dominate in regular search results, remember, we called them organic. Blogging is the best way to cover a wide array of phrases people most commonly use when searching in Google for photographer and at the same time it is the ultimate solution for covering areas where your photography business is not located physically but have clients from.

How to become the #1 photographer in your area without studio location

Now let’s talk about a situation when you do not have a brick and mortar photography business with a physical location, but still want to have your website ranked on the top for local searches for photographer’s services.

You still need to start with a Google My Business local listing creating both a Google+ page and claiming a Google Maps listing where you will be treated as a Service-area business. Local SEO for that type of photographer’s business is commonly similar to the 5 essential Local SEO steps for a Brick-n-Mortar Business we talked about above, but there are some important alterations in the Google My Business listing set up.

Google My Business for photographers who do not have studio location

You need to tell Google your address to be allowed a placement on the Google Map and be shown for your area related searches. But you can hide your address from visitors if this information is not necessary for having a photo shoot done at their own location, if you shoot outdoors or in an hourly rented photo studio.

Remember that you cannot cover an area as large as a state or country. You can only have one listing per your actual physical location and you set up your service area by using ZIP codes or a radius around your location.

Let’s say you are a wedding photographer in Fort Lauderdale, Fl, and you want your website to be found for “wedding photographer in Miami”.

You go to and enter your information. The most important thing at this stage is to select the YES check box at the bottom to confirm that your deliver photography services at your clients' locations. You will also need a business phone.

Add photographer to Google My Business

Then you should set up Miami as an area served by your business. Do not select the distance option and do not check the tick box if you want your Fort Lauderdale address to be hidden from the searches.

Set up Service Area for photography business

If you are located in Miami, you can set up your home address where you live, retouch photos, and grow your photography business. In this case you can select the distance option and set up the radius in miles around your location. And you still can hide your actual address from searches if you do not want visitors to find you at your location.

There are other important things you should know about Google My Business. We will talk about that in our next blog post. You can subscribe to our newsletter to get new articles to your email inbox.

Why do you need to hire a local SEO company to promote your photography website?

Google changes its search algorithms several times a year, and things that worked great yesterday may become useless or even ruin your website rankings tomorrow. Of course you can stay updated with all Google game rules by reading SEO and digital marketing blogs and websites, but when will you shoot?

A recent local algorithm update happened on September 1, 2016 and was called “Possum” by local SEO experts. The update impacted websites in the Map 3-pack results. Some went down, some suddenly improved their positions, namely, businesses that were located outside the physical city limits and previously ranked low for search terms that included the city name.

The local SEO game is always up and down, but professional assistance can help to maintain your photography business website's stability in searches. If you don’t want to spend time on anything other than shooting, you can hire a SEO company for photographers to gain traffic and clients through your website.

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