Technical SEO for Photographers

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By Nate Torres

Technical SEO can be very confusing, especially if you aren’t familiar with how websites work.

As photographers, most of us are more in the arts and creative side of things, not so much on the coding side of things.

So when we hear things like 404 pages, HTTPS Errors, Canonical URLs, 301 Redirects, Structured Data, etc.

Our heads could start spinning.

That’s why I created this guide.

In this guide, I’ll be covering 7 of the most common Technical SEO errors I find on photography websites and how to fix them.

Now, I know a thing or two about Technical SEO.

In fact:

I’m an SEO consultant and a photographer and I rank #1 if not top 5 for many photography-related keywords due to optimizing the Technical SEO on my websites:

My Article Ranking #1 for what is portrait photography
My Article Ranking #1 for what is portrait photography
My Article Ranking #1 for what is a speedlight
My Article Ranking #1 for what is a speedlight
My Article Ranking #2 for business headshot tips
My Article Ranking #2 for business headshot tips

And there’s a lot more!

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the process of optimizing your website for search engines with the goal of improving your site’s technical aspects such as crawling, indexing, website architecture, and speed.

Technical SEO is one of the core components of SEO along with Core Page SEO and Content/Blog SEO.

Why Do Photographers Need to Improve Technical SEO?

As a photographer, you need to improve the Technical SEO of your photography website to improve the chances of you ranking high on Google for your target keywords.

Don’t know what a keyword is and why they’re important for your success as a photographer?

→ Read my guide on Keywords for Photographers.

7 Technical SEO Tips for Photographers

Here are the 7 Technical SEO tips and common errors I find on photography websites.

This is not an exhaustive list of everything encompassing Technical SEO.

There are a lot more Technical SEO optimizations and errors that you and I can find during my Photography Technical SEO Service (about 10-20 more).

These are the 7 most common:

1. Using HTTPS

The first Technical SEO tip is to ensure your photography website is using HTTPS.

HTTPS is an acronym that stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

HTTPS uses the SSL/TLS protocol for encryption and authentication.

The alternative to using HTTPS is using HTTP which is the same protocol, but without being secure.

Saving you the boring details, it essentially makes it safer for users to connect to your site when your website uses HTTPS.

With that being said:

Search engines like it when your website uses HTTPS.

When search engines like your website, you have the opportunity to rank higher for your target keywords.

This can mean more traffic which can lead to more money.

You might be wondering:

How Do I Get HTTPS?

The first step is to check whether or not your site has an SSL certificate.

If your site has an SSL certificate, this means your website has HTTPS.

To check whether or not your photography website has an SSL certificate, simply head to this SSL Checker Website, enter your website URL and check SSL:

SSL Checker for Photography Website
SSL Checker for Photography Website

As you can see, when I run my website through the SSL Checker, I do in fact have one and my site uses HTTPS.

Now here’s how to obtain one if your website currently does not have an SSL certificate.

How to Get an SSL Certificate?

In order to obtain an SSL Certificate for your photography website so it can use HTTPS, you need to check with your web hosting provider.

Most basic photography websites use common web hosting providers such as SiteGround, Bluehost, and GoDaddy.

In fact, this website is hosted on SiteGround.

Here are the links you can learn more about obtaining an SSL based on your web hosting provider:

Don’t want to do this yourself?

→ Feel free to get your Free Photography SEO Audit and I can take a look for you!

2. Mobile-Friendly Site

The second Technical SEO tip is to ensure your photography website is mobile-friendly.

About 60% of all searches on search engines are done through a mobile phone.

Knowing this:

You have to ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

Similar to using HTTPS, search engines like it when your website is mobile-friendly.

To check whether your website is mobile-friendly, head to this Mobile Friendly Test Website or use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool and enter your website URL:

Mobile Friendly Test Tool
Mobile Friendly Test Tool

As you can see, my site is passing the mobile friendliness test.

If your website is not passing the test, we’ll have to figure out why as there can be multiple reasons why such as:

  • Non-responsive design
  • Improper website navigation
  • Unoptimized images and media
  • Improper code

If you need help identifying all the issues, let me help you with my Photography Technical SEO Service.

If you don’t know whether or not you need this service yet:

→ Get a Free Photography SEO Audit by me!

3. No Duplicate Versions of Website

The third Technical SEO tip is to ensure there are no duplicate versions of your photography website.

As mentioned in my Keywords for Photographers Guide, you want to have only one page per target keyword.

If you have duplicate pages, this means you will have multiple pages targeting the same keyword.

If this happens, this leads to what we call keyword cannibalization.

What this means:

Keyword cannibalization is when you are competing against yourself for your target keyword.

For example:

If you have two pages targeting your “money” keyword of “portrait photographer in Miami,” then both of these pages will be competing against each other.

You don’t want this to happen because neither page will perform well.

If you removed one of the pages or changed the target keyword on that page to something else, then you will no longer be competing against yourself.

Having duplicate versions of pages on your website leads to decreased traffic and overall revenue.

Now:

The biggest case of duplication I find on photography websites includes duplicate versions caused by different http/https and www/non-www versions of a website.

Let me explain http/https duplication:

Once your site is on HTTPS, as mentioned in tip #1, you’ll need to ensure your web hosting provider has 301 redirected the HTTP version of your website to the HTTPS version of your website.

For example:

Let’s say your website is now https://www.photographysite.com.

If you visit http://www.photographysite.com, it should redirect you to https://www.photographysite.com.

http vs https
http vs https

If this does not happen, then you have a duplicate version of your photography website.

Not good.

Let me explain www/non-www:

Depending on how you setup your website, it will either be https://www.photographysite.com or https://photographysite.com.

You’ll want to make sure that the www version and non-www version of your website redirects to the correct version.

For example:

If you setup your website to use www, then the non-www version of the site should redirect to the www version and vice-versa if you setup your website to use non-www.

www vs non-www
www vs non-www

For both instances, to see whether it redirects, just pay attention to the URL in the address bar and watch to see if it ends up redirecting or not.

If you’re still confused:

→ Reach out to me for a Free Photography SEO Audit.

4. Passing Core Web Vitals

The fourth Technical SEO tip for photography websites is to ensure your website is passing Core Web Vitals.

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics Google introduced to help measure real-world user experience for the performance of your website.

Essentially:

If your website passes Core Web Vitals, then search engines like that and this will help your overall SEO efforts.

To test your Core Web Vitals, head to PageSpeed Insights and test your website URL:

Core Web Vitals Test
Core Web Vitals Test

Similarly to testing the mobile-friendliness of your website, if you don’t pass Core Web Vitals, this could be due to a multitude of reasons:

Core Web Vitals Fixes
Core Web Vitals Fixes

If you scroll down the page, you’ll find a list of opportunities and diagnostics that Google tells you to implement in order to speed up your photography website.

A lot of these recommendations can be confusing, especially if you don’t know anything about programming.

Here’s the deal:

If you test your website and find you are failing, let me help you optimize it with my Photography Technical SEO Service.

If you’re not sure if you need it, first get my Free Photography SEO Audit!

5. Multiple Page Errors

The fifth Technical SEO error I find on photography websites is multiple page errors.

The common page errors include 404 error pages and 500 server error pages.

404 Error Pages

To grasp the concept of 404 error pages, think about going to the store.

Imagine going to the store, looking for something specific, but the store doesn’t have it.

In the case of a website, this would be landing on a page and the page can’t be found because it’s been deleted, moved without redirection, or the URL was typed incorrectly.

Example 404 Error Page
Example 404 Error Page

500 Server Error Pages

To grasp the concept of 500 server error pages, let’s think of the store analogy again.

Imagine going to the store, and the store is having internal problems like a power outage.

In the case of a website, this would mean landing on a page and finding the website is having problems with their server and it can’t display the page you want.

Example 500 Error Page
Example 500 Error Page

In either case, if you have a lot of these error pages, search engines don’t like that.

It’s like walking into a home that has broken furniture, pipes, windows, etc.

You need to find and clean up these error pages.

The way I find these error pages during my Photography Technical SEO Service is by scanning your whole entire website and cleaning up each page one-by-one.

By cleaning up your site, it makes it faster, ranks higher on search engines, improves user experience, and leads to more traffic.

6. Broken Links

The sixth Technical SEO tip for your photography website is to clean up the broken links on your pages.

Similar to fixing the broken pages on your photography website, it’s important to fix the broken links as well.

When I refer to links, I mean internal and external links.

  • Internal links lead to other pages on your website.
  • External links lead to pages outside of your website.

For example:

In this article, when I link to other websites and tools to use to test, those are external links.

When I link to my SEO services, those are internal links.

Oftentimes, these links can break due to the page it’s linking to being removed.

Broken Link Example
Broken Link Example

Either way, if you have broken links on your website, search engines do not like it and it can hinder your ranking and traffic potential.

During my Photography Technical SEO Service, I scan your whole entire website for broken linkes and clean them up each one-by-one.

7. Canonical URL Structure

The seventh Technical SEO tip and error I find on most photography websites is an improper canonical URL structure.

A canonical URL is the version of a page that the search engine chooses as the main version.

Canonical URLs are important because they help prevent duplicate content issues, which will lead to suboptimal keyword rankings and organic traffic.

The most common error I find on photography websites is that there is no self-referencing canonical URL:

Example of Self-Referencing Canonical
Example of Self-Referencing Canonical

You’ll want to have a self-referencing canonical URL setup on each page so the search engines can clearly identify which pages on your site need to be indexed.

This will help improve the overall SEO of your pages which can lead to more traffic and clients.

During my Photography Technical SEO Service, I scan each page one-by-one, identifying whether there is a self-referencing canonical URL or not.

Here’s the bottom line:

A big part of Technical SEO is knowing what to look for, knowing how to scan the whole website, and then knowing how to fix it.

If you want to save time and receive more organic traffic so you can reach your photography business goals, let me do all the work for you!

Reach out to me for my Photography Technical SEO Service.

If you aren’t sure whether you even have any errors, then first:

→ Get a Free Photography SEO Audit!

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