After you’ve put in all of the hard work towards your SEO in terms of the content on your pages, in your images, and backlinks, it’s important to keep an eye on how your site is performing over time. This can not only help you understand your audience and traffic sources, but it can help you alter your content over time. Most of our tips are centered around Google Search, as it has the highest amount of traffic. We recommend that you focus your efforts first on optimizing for Google and then circle back and hit Yahoo, Bing, and some of the other engines. Hopefully your efforts for Google will bring you results universally.
When setting goals and measuring your SEO progress, we recommend paying attention to a few key areas:
- Website analytics: To understand where your site traffic is coming from and your audience's behavior on your site, we recommend setting up a Google Analytics account. A tutorial on getting Google Analytics set up with a PhotoShelter account is available here.
- Website rank and index status: To submit your sitemap to Google and review the status of your page indexing and performance in search results, we suggest setting up a Google Search Console account. This article covers that in detail.
- Reviews: Tracking and interacting with reviews of your business can help with your local SEO. Consider the various ways users can review your services and how to translate that into marketing tools:
- Offline: If you're running events or promotions that require the physical presence of your audience or target audience, be sure to come prepared with something to show, including existing testimonials or relevant past work. Participate in expos, talks, or conferences related to photography when possible. Offline touch points can be transferred into online testimonials.
- Emails: Collect email information for promotions, newsletters, and feedback. Having a newsletter can help you maintain a relationship and communication with your clients and lead to additional opportunities for your business to grow from organic recommendations. Tools like OptinMonster and Mailchimp have embeddable newsletter signup forms that you can use on your website.
- Online: Engage with comments and reviews on Google and social platforms. Consider building in a section of your site to showcase testimonials.
Before you start optimizing your website for SEO, you may want to put some benchmarks in place to measure your campaign’s effectiveness. Options here can be simple, like doing searches to see where you rank today versus after you apply SEO strategies and tactics. Or they can be more elaborate, like employing Google Analytics to gauge your progress more analytically. We strongly advocate starting with Google Search Console to analyze your current performance. For a more advanced approach to tracking your traffic, Google Analytics is great for increased fidelity and detail - see more in our Google Analytics tutorial.
Your “benchmark” is simply your starting point - your website's current state. You should establish your benchmarks before making any SEO changes. You can easily use your target keyword list to track your initial benchmark and subsequent progress over the following weeks and months. Perform searches and note where you appear in the results (page number and listing number on page).
How Long Will It Take To See Results?
- Bitly - Allows you to create shortened versions of links to pages on your site, perfect for sharing on social media. Use in conjunction with Google Analytics and a Campaign URL Builder to track the success of your marketing campaigns.
- Facebook Business - It’s a good idea to separate your business from your personal social media profiles. Facebook Business allows you to understand your user engagement and visibility.
- Google Business - Identify your business and manage your business information in Google to help you stand out.
- Google's SEO Quality Guidelines - Google's definitions of what not to do and how it can impact your SEO if you use these methods.
- Google Trends - Enables you to search for keywords and see how popular they are over time.
- Hootsuite - A tool that allows you to operate your social accounts more efficiently. It gives you the ability to schedule content to push to multiple social media platforms and anytime you wish.
- Instagram Business - If you're using Instagram for your photography business, you may want to convert your profile to a business profile. Like Facebook Business, you can potentially increase your audience engagement and business recognition.
- Linktree - A great way to combine relevant links to add them to social media profiles like Instagram.
- Moz's Link Explorer - A free tool (signup required) to check your backlinks and those of your competition
- SERPerator - See how your Local SEO performs depending on the geographic location of the person searching.
- Wordtracker.com - Use to compare keywords for most searched and most relevant to your work. Be sure to also use keywords that are not the top search result, but the more niche keywords so you can target that traffic as well.