• 9 Photography SEO Myths That Need To Die Right Now

    Michael Thomas Ireland

    Hostographer - 9 Photography SEO Myths That Need To Die Right Now

Difficulty

2 out of 10

Time To Read

12 Minutes

Time To Implement

N/A

Let’s talk photography SEO myths. There’s enough content out there for 4 or 5 articles but today we’re going to conquer some of the more popular ones I see floating in our little corner of the internet.

I’m going to be perfectly honest right out of the gate. The amount of bad, inaccurate, and just flat-out damaging information “SEO tips” I see posted in photography-specific Facebook groups every day grinds every little gear that powers my cerebral cortex. Today, I’m going to textually pummel these seo myths into the ground so you don’t make the same mistakes so many others have made in the past. Let’s get this going.

Why Are These Photography SEO Myths Dangerous?

First things first, why does any of this matter? Well, just like bad legal or medical advice (maybe not as serious), listening to the wrong person can get you in big trouble. The goal is to get people on your website, so getting smited by the big Google in the sky is a bad thing, right? Listening to the wrong people can put you and your website on the path to invisibility and I’m pretty confident saying that’s bad for business.

Myth #1: Social Media Likes Means Search Engine Love

Alright, let’s start big right out of the gate. I see this way too much. SEO experts claim that Like’sRetweets, or even Hearts are a ranking factor and the more social media like’s you get the more value Google puts in those specific links. Sorry, not true. Not yesterday, not today, and (probably) not tomorrow. Fun fact, Google doesn’t even look at Like-count. If they did people would just purchase a few billion fake Like’s from every shady Malaysian-alley salesman they could find for pennies on the dollar and ride it to page 1. Sorry, Google is smarter than that.

Myth #2: Using other Google paid services will help my SEO.

For our next entry to the photography SEO myths of shame database, we’re going to talk about Google’s services. That’s Adsense, Gmail, Youtube Red, etc. Need proof I’ve seen it all? Multiple times I’ve spotted awesome SEO’ing photographers who swear they get better search rankings because they invested an insane amount of dollars on Google services for the sole reason of gaining rank. Yes, there are actually people claiming (and spreading the word) that buying a few hundred business Gmail accounts for $5/user or buying $100 in AdSense advertisements will increase the Google love. Stop it, just stop it. If Google treated search engines as pay-to-win you’d be looking at a much different search results page for each and every search. You’d probably search for taco’s and your top 3 results would be for Viagra. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live in that world.

Myth #3: The age of your website matters to Google

I’m resisting the urge to make an age of consent joke so much…. Listen, I’ve heard this one so many times it’s written on a fancy canvas above my toilet. Here, today, I’m going to quash this long-lasting bundle of lies. The age of your website does not matter to Google. Not today, not tomorrow. Why has this rumor gone on so long?

It’s coincidental I’d say. Typically, higher ranked websites are older. That’s not because of the site age though. It’s more-so because older sites typically have more backlinks and have had more time to grow, so naturally, they rank higher, just like yours will. So, does Google care about your websites age? Nope, they just care about the content and how that content helps their customer (the searcher) find the relevant and right information, no matter the age. To Google, love is love and age ain’t no thang. (I immediately regret typing that last line.)

Myth #4: SEO is One-And-Done

One thing I’m asked often about our Starting Blocks package is “If I purchase this will I ever have to worry about SEO again?”. While I’m sure I would sell more spots if it were true, sadly, it’s not. The truth is, SEO will never be one-and-done. Your website needs to evolve to stay up to date and the information relevant to the searcher. Over time your organic traffic will dip, slowly at first, then more and more. There are multiple reasons why this happens.

  • Link degradation (aka Link Rot)
  • Evolving search engine algorithms.
  • Your competition publishing new content.
  • Your own outdated content.

How can you stay ahead of your competition and stay up at the top of Page 1 on Google? Keep your content up to date, keep posting new search-friendly content, keep up with newest Google & Bing algorithms, and burning down the studios of your local competitors*. Kidding on that last one, but it is a viable strategy, just saying…

* Not actual legal advice

Myth #5: A Google Knowledge Panel Is The Key To SEO Success

No lie, the Knowledge Panel is absolutely worth having for local businesses or well, any business. So yeah, get one. It’ll lead to more clicks, it makes you look more legitimate to searchers looking for your brand, which can help with brand trust.  It also gives your visitors more information about your brand like address, images of your art, and even studio hours, which is never a bad thing. Just don’t expect it to be the path to SEO wealth because it’s mostly worthless.

Hostographer - Google - Knowledge Panel

Our Knowledge Panel is wonderful… but it doesn’t help our SEO in the least.

Myth #6: Cheap Hosting Is Bad For SEO

We offer website hosting for photographers, and well, we’re not exactly the cheapest option out there. So it should perform better in regards to SEO, right? Well. Sadly, I’d be lying if I said it matters in a purely SEO mindset. Two websites that have the same platform (WordPress, straight HTML, etc) and the same exact content, load times, etc should rank about the same. The price you pay on the invoice is irrelevant to Google.

The exception to this would be if said cheaper hosting came with a cheaper service. For example, a slow loading website can absolutely hurt you as site speed is absolutely a ranking factor. Another scenario would be uptime. Too much downtime and Google is going to smack you across the face with the de-ranking stick. You don’t want that.

Maybe you’re not all about that WordPress. Squarespace, Wix, or any other budget host should be fine. Sure, some have more SEO capabilities than others but when they’re on equal footing, no host has the advantage, at least with search engine optimization.

So wait, did I just disprove my own photography seo myth? I’m not sure, you decide.

Myth #7: Your headline tag usage matters.

Full honesty, I believed this one for way too long. I guess it was one of those things I read once or twice and took it as fact and never looked back.

So quiz time. Which of these does Google (or Bing, or Yahoo) care about the most?

Hostographer - 9 Photography SEO Myths That Need To Die Right Now - H1 Tag Sample

Answer: All of them. Like your own children, Google love’s them all equally. You do love your kids the same amount, yeah? No? Maybe? Moving on.

Myth #8: You must Bold and Italic the important keywords.

Yet another entry to our list of photography SEO myths, bold and italics are awesome! There’s really not much to say beyond that. For some reason, I see it once or twice a week in photography and marketing groups. I’m not sure where it started and why people keep claiming it but there’s just no truth to it, period. Like most items in this article, if it was the case everyone would just do it all the time. Every single page would catch a bold and italic tag for every letter of text on the page. Instead, use bold and italics when it helps the reader. If you haven’t figured it out yet, SEO is more about pleasing the people than pleasing the Google Gods.

Myth #9: How you separate your content in title tags matter.

Have you had enough photography SEO myths yet? One more. We’re going to talk about your Post Titles. One of my most asked questions is the question “How do I format my post titles properly!?“. Some examples I see given out all the time.

  1. Hostographer | Location | Page Title
  2. Hostographer: Location Page Title
  3. Hostographer – Location – Page Title
  4. Hostographer Location Page Title

Which number is correct? I’ll settle it right here, right now.

Hostographer - Family Guy - Oh My God Who Cares Meme

Seriously. It doesn’t matter. Do whatever your personal preference happens to be. Whatever calms your obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Whatever floats your boat goat. Google ignores all these separators and focuses on the words. In conclusion, go rename your titles to whatever you want like a sane person.

Conclusion

As you can now tell, there’s a lot of bad SEO information out there. Like seriously, a terrible amount of inaccurate tips and tricks. So much that I’m sure I’ll be writing another one of these articles real soon. Come back for Part 2 of Photography SEO Myths next month when I destroy another stack of less known myths. For now, join us in our Facebook community where we talk about this crazy stuff all day. It’s judgment-free, built for photographers of all skill levels, and we talk about SEO (probably) a bit too much. You’ll love it, promise.

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