The Photographer’s Guide to Key Phrase Planning In Three Steps

Filed in How To, SEO — March 7, 2024

Posted by: 
MaryBeth Bryant

Making your mark online goes beyond showcasing captivating, emotive imagery. It fundamentally requires a strategic approach to key phrase planning. No matter whose SEO strategies you’re adopting—be it holistic methods like those offered here or insights from other great educators—the journey begins with a keyphrase plan – every time. That’s precisely what I aim to demystify for you today. Because when it comes down to it, it’s really a pretty simple process.

This guide, though written for photographers, is built on core principles applicable across any business. So, grab a pen and paper, and let’s dive into planning.

Quick Guide for Busy Creatives

Pressed for time but committed to growth? Download my Key Phrase Planning Guide and Worksheet. It will walk you through step-by-step how to plan, along with an optional worksheet you can print and build yourself. Plus a few other fun SEO things to get you started.

A Solid SEO Foundation Starts Here

Every successful online journey begins with a solid foundation. Key phrase planning is not just about SEO; it’s about understanding the language of your potential clients and building the language you’re using around that. Do you know how people are searching for you?

But what is a key phrase or keyword? Simply put, it’s exactly what a prospective client is typing into Google that you’d like your website to pop up as a result. 

Here are a few examples for a photographer in Missoula, MT

  • Missoula Family Photographer
  • Family Photographers in Missoula MT
  • Missoula Newborn Photography

Step 1: Get Ready For a Brain Dump to Start Key Phrase Planning

Write down every possible way you think someone might find you or how you want to be found.  Go broad and go niche. To get started, think about the city that you’re in, plus the type of photography you do. But don’t stop at your specific city, extend you reach to a larger market and dive into small communities too.

keyphrase ideas for a photographer

These are just a few examples, but your list could have 20 or more Look at your competitors to see what words they are saying.  Like portrait, lifestyle, professional etc.

Step 2: Time to research your key phrases

Leverage tools like MOZ and Semrush (just to name a few) to refine your list. Pay attention to metrics like search volume, competition, and CTR to gauge the effectiveness of your keywords. This step is critical for identifying terms connecting your art with the right audience.

You might find that people aren’t searching for newborn photography, but they are baby photography. Or, possibly, no one in your market is searching for lifestyle photography. Note these findings and scratch off ones without demand at all and circle potentials. 

Note* a demand of 20-300 searches a month can be great for local photography. You need to compare it against all the key phrases to see what “high volume” is for your market.

Common Terms on Key Phrase Planning Sites–

  • Search Volume: Indicates the popularity of a keyword.
  • Competition: Helps assess the difficulty of ranking for a keyword.
  • CTR: Offers insight into the potential click-through rate for a keyword. Meaning how likely someone is to click into a site from the search results.
  • Related Keywords: Suggest variations and related terms to expand your reach. This is a gold mine for new ideas. Pay attention to these.
Semrush example

Step 3: Selecting Your Core Keywords and Key Phrases and Building Your Plan

List out your website’s main pages, choosing your top pages with at least 200 words of content. Often this is your home page, about, investment etc.  These will be the pages you’re creating a plan for and want to consistently have people visiting.

Narrow down your keywords to 1-2 per page, ensuring they align with the content and the unique appeal of your photography services on that page. This focused approach helps optimize your website’s structure for better SEO performance when each page has a main goal or target.

You have a plan once you have each main page with one key phrase goal. This will be at the heart of creating meta descriptions, page titles, header tags, and more as you go forward.

Key Phrase planning Quote over fall photo

Avoiding Keyword Cannibalizing When Key Phrase Planning

Cannibalizing keywords is an overly dramatic term used when multiple pages fight for the same keyphrase, like “Missoula, MT Baby Photographer.” Did you know that Google will only show results for two pages on your site for any search? Be careful you aren’t competing with yourself.

Ensure your website’s pages are harmoniously optimized by avoiding keyword overlap, which can dilute your SEO efforts. Strategically distribute your chosen keywords to enhance the clarity and reach of your online presence.

Does this mean you won’t talk about or rank for similar things? No. But it does mean that they should have unique goals to better spread out their reach.

Blogs: Enhancing Your SEO Strategy

Blogging for SEO is a whole other beast, but what you need to know today is that your blogs follow the same rules.  Create unique SEO goals for each post, and be careful not to cannibalize yourself, like putting “Spokane Family Photographer” into every single title.

Utilize your blog to support the main themes of your website without directly competing for the same keywords. This approach allows you to cover a broader array of topics, attracting a wider audience while reinforcing your main pages’ SEO.

Wrapping it Up

Key phrase planning is a cornerstone of a successful SEO strategy for all photographers and creatives. Following these steps creates a pathway for your audience to discover your work. Remember, SEO is a journey of continuous learning and adjustment. With each step, you’re not just enhancing your visibility but ensuring your photography resonates where it matters most.

If you want extra free support every week, join my newsletter community here. Receive weekly updates with actionable tips and tricks on SEO, AI, and leveraging technology to create a profitable, heart-led brand online.

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