For me, the search engines (primarily Google) bring me about 60-percent of my new clients each year. I work hard to keep my site high in the rankings.
You should optimize your site for the keyword phrase that you think clients needing your type of photography will enter into the search engine. But what if you have a Flash site? That probably means you have minimal control over your page’s text content, or body copy, and that is exactly what search engines need to index your site. See my related Strictly Business Blog post,“Content is King.”
I know, Google and Adobe recently announced a partnering effort to help the search engine index Flash content, but it relies on true text in the Flash element, not bitmapped text created in an image editing program such as Photoshop; not a perfect solution. And yes, they’re now reading the data contained in .xml files that sometimes accompany Flash elements, but it’s still a bit clumsy at this point.
So what to do if your site relies heavily on Flash? Consider utilizing what’s generally referred to as off-page optimization. One method of off-page optimization involves getting links to your site from other websites. Ideally, they’ll need to be from “relevant” websites, or more specifically, from other photographers or sites that are about photography.
Here are two things you can do to get incoming links that don’t require a lot of effort. First, when you produce images that will be used on your client’s website, request not just a credit, but a credit that is a link back to your site. These end up being one-way links, and from an SEO standpoint, they’re very valuable indeed.
Second, exchange links with other photographers. These links to your competitors should of course be somewhat discreet, but note I didn’t say invisible, that will get you penalized by Google. My site has three pages of these reciprocal links to other photographer’s sites and all of us are benefiting from the exchange. Be sure to build your incoming links slowly over time, and ideally exchange links with photographers who already rank highly in the search engines.