By [Gail Mooney]
There was a time when I was obsessed with SEO. I would check my site’s ranking and stats every day – actually dozens of times a day. Then I realized that I was spending too much time trying to attract new visitors to my website, utilizing SEO tips and tricks, than I was on the content (photographs and video) that was on my site. Worse yet, the folks that were coming to my website weren’t necessarily the people that I wanted to attract.
I decided to change it up a bit, focusing more on the imagery and less on monitoring the stats. I stopped writing my blog, with the emphasis on using certain keywords, and started writing for the sake of value in what I had to say. I also changed the copy on my website to reflect those values. When I did check on my stats which was now more of a weekly action, as opposed to an hourly one, I concentrated more on my “return visitors” statistic rather than the overall visitors stats, and that number had gone way up.
I had decided that I needed to get back to the essence of what I wanted my website to do for my business and that was to generate quality work or sales. I began focusing on those goals, instead of the sole goal of coming up number one in a Google search for New Jersey photographers. While coming up number one in a Google search for NJ photographers’ was attainable by following the tips of the SEO gurus, it wasn’t how I wanted to be found. I didn’t want to be the “local” photographer because that meant I would probably be competing with other local shooters on price and that’s a quick way to the poor house.
I opted instead to work on the content for my website, the imagery, and its value to a prospective buyer. My end goal was not to just attract eyeballs, but to attract the right eyeballs that would result in the commission of the type of work that I wanted to do. I needed to step back from the SEO marketing tactics and start marketing the value of my work. And by value, I mean the value to a potential client.
I realize that SEO is important. You can’t demonstrate the value of your work if people can’t find you, but there has to be a balance in how you spend your time. I want prospective clients to find me. I also want them to hire me. And even more importantly, I want them to become repeat customers. There are no short cuts in achieving that. I could build a site that’s crap and I could do a “sleight of hand” marketing approach utilizing the latest SEO tips and tricks and that might lure unsuspecting clients into my site. But that’s a short‐term score. I’d rather get a client for life, a client that values what I have to offer.
Gail Mooney is a photographer and filmmaker who writes a blog about thinking outside the box. Her first “real” book “The Craft and Commerce of Video and Motion” will provide some valuable tips to still shooters who are thinking about getting into motion.
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