SEO On-Page Factors

On-site actions to improve SEO

By most estimates, there are over 200 signals that affect SEO rankings, and these can largely be divided into “on-page” and “off-page” factors. The on-page factors are the ones you can control through your website. The off-page factors (e.g. backlinks, social media) are much longer term plays because they often involve getting other people to interact with your website, which means you need a marketing plan.

Below we will go through some of the most important on-page SEO factors. Make sure that you're paying attention to as many of these factors as possible, because SEO isn’t comprised of one thing. It’s an amalgamation of many factors that help your website rank higher with search engines.

 

Page Title

Page title is the piece of text that appears at the top of your browser when viewing a particular webpage. 

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Too often we see a photographer’s name on each page (e.g. “Joe Smith Photography”). Google hates to see this repetition, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by having the same title. Instead, each image should have a sentence describing the image. The homepage should indicate the types of products and services you provide. Also note that there is a strong correlation between the order of keywords and SEO success, so you’ll want to put your most important terms up front.

For example:

  • Bad: Joe Smith Photography | Serving the OC for 20 years

  • Good: Orange Country Commercial Photographer | Joe Smith Photography

Google recommends page titles of 70 characters. This doesn’t mean you’ll be penalized if you go over. The limit exists because search engines use the page title as the anchor text in search results.

How it works in PhotoShelter:

You can determine the page titles on your PhotoShelter website for almost every single page. If you're using one of our themes, simply click Website from the navigation bar and then click Archive Page Settings from the navigation on the left-hand side. You can then select any page (My Homepage, Portfolio, Gallery List, etc.) and scroll toward the bottom; here you'll see a section called Meta Data Options. This is where you can input your page title.

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Note: We automatically populate the page titles and meta descriptions for the Gallery Display page, Gallery Image Display page, Gallery Slideshow page, Gallery Collection Display page, and Login page.

For example, we automatically pull your galleries' names and descriptions and your images' IPTC Meta Data for the Gallery Display and Gallery Image Display pages. This is to make your life a little easier - the key is to properly keyword your gallery names, descriptions, and image IPTC Meta Data.

Check out all of these individual pages in the Website Pages area of your account to learn more.

 

Header Tags

In HTML, the header tag exists to make type bigger and bolder. Here's an example of what an <h1> (i.e. header 1) tag looks like in a browser:

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Because the tags have an implicit hierarchy (<h1> through <h5>), Google assumes that <h1> content is more important than <h5> content. And more specifically, Google only wants to see one instance of the <h1> on the page.

So what should the <h1> be used for? It’s very similar to a page title, but unlike a page title, the header content actually shows up in the viewable page. A logical piece of text to put into a header would be something like a gallery name or an image name. While you don’t have to have a header tag on your page, it’s just another one of those SEO signals that will give you an incremental boost. 

How it works in PhotoShelter:

PhotoShelter automatically places gallery and image names into the <h1> tag.

 

Meta Description

There are a number of “meta” tags that can be defined for a webpage, and none of them appear on the actual page. Instead, they are placed into the “<head>” of the webpage where they exist solely for the enjoyment of search engines.

Meta description is an influential field that you can populate with keyword hit list terms. But more importantly, the meta description appears on a search engine result page below the page title.

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How it works in PhotoShelter:

Similar to the page title, you can determine the page meta description on your PhotoShelter website for almost every page. If you're using one of our themes, click Website > Customize from the Navigation Bar and then click Website Pages from the navigation on the left-hand side. You can then select any page (My Homepage, Portfolio, Gallery List, etc.) and scroll toward the bottom; here you'll see a section called Meta Data Options. This is where you can input your meta description.

 

ALT Attribute

In HTML, the <img> tag is used to display an image on a webpage. Like many HTML tags, the <img> tag has a number of attributes that can be specified (e.g. width and height). The ALT attribute stands for “alternate text” and is one of the signals affecting SEO. 

How it works in PhotoShelter:

PhotoShelter automatically populates the ALT attribute with your IPTC description (also known as the caption). You can edit your images' descriptions in the IPTC Meta Data. Just select an image in the Image Browser and then click the pencil icon next to the ITPC Meta Data field in the Right Pane. For more on this, check out our detailed Editing IPTC & Metadata tutorial.  

 

General On-Page Text

The judicious use of keywords in the body text of your web pages helps reinforce the words and phrases that are most important to your business. Avoid exclusively using colloquial phrases like “shot” instead of “photograph” or “image” because users are much more likely to search for the latter. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that simply displaying an image is the best way to convey that you’re a photographer. You must have text on your website (and a lot of it) to be successful with SEO.

How it works in PhotoShelter:

You have the option to (and should!) infuse all your gallery and image names, as well as gallery descriptions and image captions, with your keywords. You can do this by navigating to the Image Browser (click Images from the Navigation Bar) and selecting a gallery in the Left Pane. Then look to the Right Pane and click the pencil icons next to the gallery name and description. 

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You can edit your images' captions in the IPTC Meta Data. Just select an image in the Image Browser and then click the pencil icon next to the ITPC Meta Data field in the Right Pane. For more on this, check out our detailed Editing IPTC & Metadata tutorial. 

Note: This is general overview of the on-page factors that affect your website's SEO. For more in-depth information, download our SEO Guide for Photographers.

Still have questions? Contact us.

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