John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?  Competitive Web & SEO
November 20th, 2011 by john andrews

Professional SEO for Professional Photographers

The phone call went something like this….

Professional Photographer: I need SEO for my website. I made it myself, but my friend is a web designer and he helped me. It’s great. Everyone loves it. Now I need SEO.

Professional SEO/Web Guy: After looking at your site and your analytics, I can tell you you need a new web site. Whatever you spend on SEO for that site will be wasted. It’s not ready to compete in your markets.

Professional Photographer: Seriously? I disagree. I just need SEO, so more people see it. Can you get me links?

Professional SEO/Web Guy: Seriously. You are already in your market, and your local data is known to search engines. Your site, however, is not working for you.

It may be working for your customers ONCE THEY KNOW ABOUT IT, but it’s not getting you in front of new customers. You need an SEO strategy. The first step any decent SEO will tell you, after seeing your current site, is that you need a new or better web site.

Links can help, but the cost of good links that last will be higher than  the cost of a new website, after about 6 months. Can’t your web designer friend  re-do your site with some SEO guidance?

Professional Photographer: Umm.. no, we’re not really friends any more. He’s busy on other stuff. So let me do SEO now and six months later, when I have tons of customers (from the SEO), I’ll spend some money on a new website.

Professional SEO/Web Guy: Good luck. I hope it works out for you.

Professional Photographer: Huh? Can’t you do it?

Professional SEO/Web Guy: Sorry. I can’t do magic without magic wands and special potions, like good web sites and pages. And they cost money to create.

Professional Photographer: Seriously dude, I just need links.

Professional SEO/Web Guy: Awesome. Good luck then.

Professional Photographer: Hey.. ok. Listen. I hired this SEO guy 3 months ago and spend a ton of money, but it didn’t really work. So I do all my own SEO now. I’m pretty good at it, actually. I spend like 2 hours a day on my meta tags and blog, and I’m like 80% of the way to complete SEO. Now I need a real SEO for the last 20%. That’s why I called you.

Professional SEO/Web Guy: Sorry, I have to go do some work.

But… if you want to chat some  more, let’s cut to the chase. Who did you hire, what did you spend (in total) and why do you say it didn’t work?

Answer that, tell me the target search query you want to rank #1 for, and tell me what you expect to spend for the next 6 months.

Do that, and I’ll stay on the line, and give you some advice.

Professional Photographer: Okay. I want to rank #1 for “professional photographer”. I hired (nobody known) and paid $900 over 3 months. I saw no traffic at all. Not a single customer. The guy stopped answering my calls after the 3rd week, for no reason at all.

I would be willing to spend that again, and maybe even a little more, if I knew I would get results. I don’t need to get to #1, but at least top 3 in Google for “professional photographer”.

Professional SEO/Web Guy: Seriously?

Professional Photographer: Seriously. I WILL pay that much. And I’ll give it to YOU if you can deliver. I’ll even pay up front after the first month, I see results.

Professional SEO/Web Guy: Okay, I understand now. So let me explain something to you.

First, SEO is optimization. It is competitive web publishing. If you have a website already, we have to be able to optimize it. Yours cannot be optimized for less than about 40 hours of work, which is at least 3-4 thousand dollars if you have someone willing to do the work. Even then, it’s not enough content nor the right content. You’ll need a lot more.

Second, your website sucks. It has technical errors, and is built on a system that needs alot of work if we are going to even try to optimize it. It was a big mistake to invest time loading your photos and writing meta tags on that system. That work will all have to be re-done. If we did work with your current site, the more we promote the site, the more problems you’ll have with it. It won’t survive even minor levels of success.

Third, if you’re really a professional photographer, why are you spending 2 hours a day on meta tags? What are your professional goals? If you prefer coding websites to taking photographs, you’re not a professional photographer, and don’t belong in the search results for “professional photographer”. If you like SEO and want to be an SEO for photographers, that’s awesome. But don’t call me asking to SEO your photography website in a secret effort to learn enough photography SEO to sell into that market.

Failed Professional Photographer now Trying to be an SEO: Actually, I’m doing really well as an SEO already. I rank #1 for some mega money terms, like “underwater photos [obscure place name]” and “nikon sb700 flash exposure setting”, which has over 650 THOUSAND competitors in Google. And that with only those 2 hours a day on SEO. Now I’m going full-time into SEO, and just need a handful of new clients to make it possible. Right now I just need links, and if you don’t do that then fine. I’ll call someone else.

Me: Great. And congratulations! That’s WAY better results than I ever expected. You know how SEO is.. everyone says they can do it. You clearly have a gift. Which reminds me…

I get a lot of calls from people looking for SEO like this, and a lot of them are people JUST LIKE YOU. They need a good SEO, with experience ranking in photography. It sure sounds like you’re up tot the task. Can I refer them to you?

It would help me a lot, since those calls are difficult. I’d love to send them direct to you, if you have the bandwidth to take on new customers.

Failed Professional Photographer now Trying to be an SEO: Seriously? Dude thanks, that’d be awesome. And I am totally up to the task. Like I said, I’m rocking the SERPs and if I can get the link building started I’m totally in the game. Thanks a lot. And if I get good customers out of it, I’ll definitely share something back with you, for the referral. Seriously. I’m very generous that way, for people who can deliver.

Me: Great. So give me your name, mailing address, and the website I can give to people so they can read about your SEO services.

Loser: “Okay….”

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine

Competitive Webmaster

Wonder how to be more competitive at some aspect of the web? Submit your thoughts.

SEO Secret

Not Post Secret

Click HERE


John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John




comments policy



Recent Posts: ★ SEO Industry Growth, Widespread Failure, and SEO Industry Challenge ★ Do you want to WIN, or just “Be the Winner”? ★ 503: GONE ★ Cloud Storage ★ Identity Poetry for Marketers ★ PR is where the Money Is ★ Google is an Addict ★ When there are no Jobs ★ Google Stifles Innovation, starts Strangling Itself ★ Flying the SEO Helicopter ★ Penguin 2.0 Forewarning Propaganda? ★ Dedicated Class “C” IP addresses for SEO ★ New Domain Extensions (gTLDs) Could Change Everything ★ Kapost Review ★ Aaron Von Frankenstein ★ 2013 is The Year of the Proxy ★ Preparing for the Google Apocalypse ★ Rank #1 in Google for Your Name (for a fee) ★ Pseudo-Random Thoughts on Search ★ Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or a Blog ★ The BlueGlass Conference Opportunity ★ Google Execs Take a Break from Marissa Mayer, Lend Her to Yahoo! ★ Google SEO Guidelines ★ Reasons your Post-Penguin Link Building Sucks ★ Painful Example of Google’s Capricious Do Not Care Attitude 


☆ about

John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

☆ navigation

  • John Andrews and Competitive Webmastering
  • E-mail Contact Form
  • What does Creativity have to do with SEO?
  • How to Kill Someone Else’s AdSense Account: 10 Steps
  • Invitation to Twitter Followers
  • …unrelated: another good movie “Clean” with Maggie Cheung
  • …unrelated: My Hundred Dollar Mouse
  • Competitive Thinking
  • Free SEO for NYPHP PHP Talk Members
  • Smart People
  • Disclosure Statement
  • Google Sponsored SPAM
  • Blog Post ideas
  • X-Cart SEO: How to SEO the X Cart Shopping Cart
  • the nastiest bloke in seo
  • Seattle Domainers Conference
  • Import large file into MySQL : use SOURCE command
  • Vanetine’s Day Gift Ideas: Chocolate Fragrance!
  • SEM Rush Keyword Research
  • ☆ blogroll

  • Bellingham SEO
  • Domain Name Consultant
  • Hans Cave Diving in Mexico
  • Healthcare Search Marketing
  • John Andrews
  • John Andrews SEO
  • SEMPDX Interview
  • SEO Quiz
  • SEO Trophy Phrases
  • SMX Search Marketing Expo
  • T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2007
  • TOR
  • ☆ categories

    Competition (39)
    Competitive Intelligence (15)
    Competitive Webmastering (547)
    Webmasters to Watch (4)
    domainers (63)
    Oprah (1)
    photography (3)
    Privacy (16)
    Public Relations (187)
    SEO (398)
    Client vs. SEO (2)
    Link Building (3)
    Search Engines vs. SEO (1)
    SEO SECRETS (11)
    SEO vs. SEO (1)
    ThreadWatch Watching (5)
    Silliness (24)
    Social Media (7)
    society (31)
    Uncategorized (23)

    ☆ archives

  • November 2014
  • September 2014
  • December 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • November 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • July 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006