Trouble in Photography SEO Paradise with SmugMug and Squarespace — Hamor Photography

Year-to-date website statistics for Hamor Hollow Hedgehogs for January 1, 2020 through July 26, 2020.

Reputation Management

Gaining control over the first-page of search engine results for you and your business is critical to reputation management. It’s impossible to directly control the search engine results themselves but it is possible to influence them with quality content creation and proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

For years, Google has preferred returning results from my secondary Hamor Photography Archive photography gallery rather than my primary Hamor Photography website.

While this is acceptable, and exposes folks to my portfolio and international event photography, I’d prefer that folks find me through my primary website. That way prospective clients immediately see that I’m a working photographer available for hire rather than someone who just posts their snapshots online.

Quality is Key

Jim Hughes, a photographer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has an informative write-up on his mission to create content and improve the SEO for both his blog and SmugMug photo gallery:

His first post is from November, 2019 but his series is ongoing. And he actively replies to comments and questions on his series posts. For example, he replied to my comment with a nugget of knowledge that SEO forums are recommending at least 400 words of quality content in order for Google to index a webpage.

But his SEO problem seems to be the opposite of mine. He’s trying to drive more folks to his SmugMug photo gallery while I’m trying to drive more folks to my Squarespace website.

I’ve been taking detailed notes over the years while improving my own SEO and I was planning on writing a series about that process myself. But reading Jim’s SEO series was akin to reading my own notes so, in the meantime, I’ll simply be pointing readers in his direction!

This Book Reads Like Stereo Instructions

SEO is big-business and most SEO companies charge for their e-books. But Shaun Anderson’s HOBO UK SEO Services website has a free SEO manual with a ton of quality technical information:

And even more impressive is the fact that his SEO Services webpage acts as an all-inclusive checklist for enterprising do-it-yourselfers. I love this type of mentality. Potential customers who are inclined to pay for his services will see the services webpage as reason to do so. Technical folks who are simply looking to improve their own skills will utilize the services webpage as a checklist…then possibly recommend it to colleagues thusly boosting the SEO of his website!

It’s a win-win.

How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot and Murder Your Blog in One Easy Step!

Here’s a cautionary tale — don’t make the same mistake that I did with my personal blog. Years ago, while migrating Inert Ramblings to a new colocated web server, I set up a staging environment. I didn’t want Google to penalize me for duplicate content. So I created a robots.txt on the staging server:

User-agent: * Disallow: /

Disallow prevents search engines from indexing a website. Which is what I wanted while I was still in staging.

But I forgot to remove the Disallow statement when I pushed live to production. And within a month I had murdered my own blog.

Why would I admit to this? Because admitting fault is a core value, all mistakes are learning experiences, and cautionary tales help to prevent others from repeating the mistakes of others.

So, at least in this particular instance, don’t be like me.

Originally published at Hamor Photography Blog on July 27, 2020.




Cyber Security Engineer, Data Center Engineer, Photographer, Event Logistics, and Event Networks

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Sean Sosik-Hamor

Sean Sosik-Hamor

Cyber Security Engineer, Data Center Engineer, Photographer, Event Logistics, and Event Networks

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