Are You Looking to Improve Your Web Presence?
For the past three years, my web presence went from being very strong to being non-existent.
I went from holding the number one place for newborn photographer in the Toronto area to having a page 8 ranking.
No one usually looks beyond the first page of Google when looking for a photographer. Fortunately, I had been in business for several years and received enough business from existing clients that the removal of my Google ranking was not as bad as it could have been.
In any event, I went on a journey to restore my Google ranking, a journey that took three years.
Some of the restoration tactics were naïve and made things worse. Researching search engine optimization became a part of my business module and daily work tasks. It was an overwhelming task to say the least. I read dozens of books and literature on the topic. Some of the recommendations made my ranking worse.
I began to feel like this was a task that I could never accomplish. Being very tenacious and hardworking, I refused to give up on the issue.
During my initial business start up in 2008, I hired the services of a search engine optimization company. The company is located in the Durham area and has an outstanding reputation. The name of the company is Search Engine People. They came highly recommended to me from my business growth coach. I trusted my coach and immediately retained the company’s services to improve my web presence.
The initial investment was approximately $500 per month. At the time, I considered that to be a lot of money. My business was just in the start up phase and I had so many expenses including advertising, equipment, business registration fees, supplies and props and accessories, insurance, etc. I had left my 10-year career behind me of being a law clerk to embark on a new but unknown path of newborn photography.
Because I had such a wonderful experience with Search Engine People, I contacted them again to inquiry regarding their services. The same service was now approximately $1,200 per month plus HST. As a small business owner, that was not a fee I could allot in my monthly budget for advertising.
I looked to other companies for assistance and most said that my web site was hopeless and that I should throw my web site in the bin and start over. Start over? My web site had aged five years and I had clients and followers that looked to my web site again and again with bookmarks to thousands of pages.
I did not like that option so I hired a company that said they could restore my Google ranking for Chandra Lee Photography.
I invested close to $10,000 over the next 6-8 months and I put 150% effort into fixing my SEO problem.
The $10,000 was ultimately wasted and did not improve my ranking.
Now what do I do?
Heading back to my own research I developed a SEO business initiative with monthly tasks. I knew this task ahead of me was tremendous and daunting but took on one task at a time and to my surprise, within 3 short months my Google ranking was restored.
I admit I have let things go over the last 6 months; however, I am just happy to have improved things on my own and have a better understanding of how the entire process works.
Some Things That Helped Improve My Search Engine Optimization
- Making my web site easy to navigate
- Cleaning up social bookmarks
- Receiving natural links to my web site
- Participating in social media
- Making my web site useful for my clients
- Removing spam
Thinking Outside the Box for Your SEO Plan
Many photographers questioned my tactics including hosting modeling calls for my photography.
I held modeling calls to build my portfolio. This got people naturally sharing and linking to my web site allover the Internet. My latest modeling call reached 100,000 local Toronto moms and received 2200 entries.
Yes, this was a lot of work but it has also been so much fun. My husband helped with the events and we had as many as 12 families and 14 children in my studio in one day. We got the studio ready, had coffee, tea and cookies and muffins from Tim Hortons for the parents and children and set to work.
Not only did this help my ranking, I was delighted to meet so many new families and expand my photography skills practicing new lighting and camera techniques.
I purchased new props and backgrounds and made the modeling sessions part of my business plan. I met a few families who have never been able to afford professional portraits of their children and I realized that this was something I wanted to continue to do. This made me happy to give families a gift of photography.
If you are looking to improve your own web presence and SEO, start reading books on the topic. Chapters’ bookstore has a plethora of literature on the subject. Look for reading material that is current but remember to take everything you read with a grain of salt. You will learn through trial and error what works and what does not work.
Pay attention to what Google says and the latest algorithm releases. Listen to what Matt Cutts from Google says. From my understanding, Matt Cutts is an engineer at Google and an authority figure whom I trust on search engine optimization issues. I believe at Google, they are not trying to mislead people in any way and when I started to pay attention to what they said and not read too much into things, my ranking began to improve again.
If you have been looking for recent posts on my web site and wonder where they have gone, you will find recent pictures from newborn and other sessions on the Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/babyposing.
Here is a recent image from a newborn session. I will post more images of this sweet new baby soon. Until then, have a wonderful day and I look forward to sharing more of my world of newborn photography shortly.