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SEO companies? Proven results?
Brett Groehler, Photographer
Duluth | MN | USA | Posted: 1:49 PM on 01.28.13
->> I am considering using a company that specializes in increasing your web visibility with
SEO. I have a PhotoShelter account and feel I have done all I can with the knowledge I have. I get an email once a week from a random company promising to increase my SEO for a fee. Has any one used one of these companies before? Did it help you?
About how much did you pay? What is reasonable? What questions do I ask?
If there is an "SEO For Idiots" book that you would recommend I appreciate that too.
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Jeff Gammons, Photographer
Destin | Fl | USA | Posted: 2:22 PM on 01.28.13
->> Nope, I have LiveBooks and I have slowly but surely increased my google search presence. There are so many things that attribute to SEO. Using google analytics would be a goo place to start. Avoid using repetitive keywords and start a blog.

Google "SEO" or "improve SEO", you'll be busy reading for days.
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington/Normal | IL | United States | Posted: 3:19 PM on 01.28.13
->> Photoshelter had a guide a year or so ago. It's not perfect, but does give one a lot of good ideas.

A good list of specific keywords, filling out the title and other fields in the IPTC, a very descriptive file name, a blog with back links are among some of the things I was able to get from it.

If an SEO company can think of it, a user can think of it.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 5:05 PM on 01.28.13
->> Learning SEO isn't hard. It is having the discipline to execute a regimen to improve and maintain your site's SERP that will be difficult.

I subscribe to the philosophy that if I buy fish, I'll eat it that day and may be the next. However, if I learn to fish, then I'll eat whenever I'm hungry. That said, I learned how to do SEO. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, so if I can learn it so can you.

If you are sold on the idea of paying someone to do it stop reading here. The rest of this post is geared for those like you wanting do it themselves. However, if you want to make a go of it, this is a good introductory primer, the best I found on a quick google search, for SEO Idiots:

There are four key points you should take from the text:

1) The more often the content changes on the page(s) you want traffic to reach, the greater the odds it will appear higher in the SERP.

2) The more links back to your domain, the more weight that is given to your site in the SERP.

3) Anchor text. Using the correct for links in, out and within your site are important.

4) The more traffic you generate through direct referrals, the more weight the search engines algorithms will give your site.

If you want save yourself $$$ and DIY, I recommend you approach improving your site's SERP in small steps in campaigns. Regardless if you pay someone or do it yourself, you will need to make a regular time commitment to work on SEO.

As an example, last September, I wanted to see if I could get the PhotoNews site in the #1 position if someone Googles "Champaign's best sports photos". If I remember right, did not show up in the first 40 or 50 SERP. It took about eight weeks into my campaign to rise to #4 and two weeks later in November it was and still is #1 (if you don't believe me Google it and see).

Here is how I did it. Starting with my SS member page I created the first backlink and anchor text ( It is still there. Next, I created additional backlinks (just as I'm doing in this post) from my facebook page (, Blogger blog ( and twitter (@PhotoNewsWire) and from other sites. Avoid using tinyURL. Another tip: Never ~ almost never ~ share the photos or work you want people to see on social networking sites! Posting the content on the social networking sites improves their search engine ranking not yours. Share links back to the content you want people to see. The links and people clicking them is what will drive your SERP higher.

Finally, I proudly tell people that Google thinks I have Champaign's best sports photos and that if they don't believe me (just like I did above) ask Google and see. A ton of people must not have believe me and still don't. You see, each time someone clicks on PhotoNews link in the SERP for the search, Google believes the link is more relevant and will maintain the position at the top or move it higher until another more relevant/popular link comes along. As a side benefit, the search algorithm also returns the PhotoNews in the #1 spot if you do a search for "Champaign's best news photos".

The PhotoNews probably enjoys one other advantage in that the domain has been active for more than ten years. The age of the domain is taken in consideration by their algorithm. Somewhere I read that the Google formula also looks at the expiration date of the domain registration. If it is registered for five or ten years beyond the current date, the domain also sees some benefit in the SERP. So the rise was probably faster than what someone else might see, but the lesson is clear - keep your domain forever.

If I were in your camera bag, Brett (sounds better than shoes), I would start by signing up with Google Analytics (GA) and install the tracking code. I would also ad Yahoo! and Bing's tracking code, too. The reports GA generates will help you see where your traffic is coming from and what keywords are driving traffic to your site.

The next step would be to come up with a schedule to update your homepage at least once a week as well as submit a site map to your GA profile so your site can be more efficiently spidered. This would be a good start to achieving a rise in your site's SERP while you learn more and more about SEO.

Good luck.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 1:16 PM on 01.30.13
->> Brett,

Here is another article that has some very good information about SEO. The two points to pay attention to in this article are the sections on keyword placement and backlinks.

Backlinks, I've discussed above and the article re-emphasizes using social networking portals to develop backlinks.

The keyword section is important because, most photographers rely on their pictures being worth a 1,000 words, however search engine spiders can 'see' those words and need text to index pages within a site. It is real hard to have a page indexed within a site if there is no text or a minimal amount on the page being displayed. This is why captions are important. The thing to be cautious of is spiders tend to ignore images/pages in a gallery or folder that have identical keywords/text. This is one reason why photographers should avoid using bulk captions with identical text if they want more pages on their sites to be indexed.

You can check the number of backlinks (and those of your competitors) by using one of the many free backlink checking sites on the web. Results can vary from site to site. For example, one of site I queried says the PhotoNews has 2,570. Three other service sites says there are 806, 846 and yet another counts 5,316 backlinks for my site.

Here a links to a few: (this site advertises link farms. Tempting as it seems, don't do it)
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Brett Groehler, Photographer
Duluth | MN | USA | Posted: 2:44 PM on 01.30.13
->> Clark:

You are a wealth of knowledge. I appreciate you taking the time to help.

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Thread Title: SEO companies? Proven results?
Thread Started By: Brett Groehler
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