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AXS Hangouts: No Fear SEO

The words Search Engine Optimization can strike fear into the hearts of even the steeliest small business owners.  Search engine algorithms are complex and constantly evolving, so it can seem an insurmountable task to make it to the first page of results on Google.  The top result, then, probably seems like a mythical spot reserved only for those companies with 10-digit bank account balances.  Well, our latest AXS Hangout argues that even YOU can (and should!) optimize your site to show up on the first page of results when a Buyer is looking for an artist.




Freelancer Anonymous: Keeping Your Name Off Your Work

Today's Lab blog features a great write-in question from one of our readers. We tapped attorney Rachel Brenke, aka the LawTog, to give her advice on how to address this sensitive situation.

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Q: In some cases, especially in the early stages of his/her career, a photographer takes a job because the money is great and they can execute the assignment very well, but it's not in the direction in which they wish to steer their career. For example, if the photog's interest is shooting portraits and lifestyle, he/she might take on a commission shooting a wedding, a menu, or an architectural project just to be able to make rent.

Beware the Dreaded 404 Error

As an SEO consultant, I’m frequently asked, “What steps can I take to improve the ranking of my website on Google?”  There are more than 200 “signals” that Google analyzes in its algorithm, and that number climbs constantly.  The key to search engine optimization, or SEO, success is knowing which are the most important.
It’s tempting for many to only analyze their sites for what can be improved with regard to body copy, the TITLE tag and the DESCRIPTION meta-tag, for they are all important factors.  But equally important is correcting site errors because every search engine will penalize your site if they are present.  One such error is the dreaded 404 error, shorthand for “page not found.”

The Top 6 Free Online Marketing Resources

Question: Where can I find help for marketing planning?

There’s a plethora of information related to marketing planning on the web. Here’s a short list of our favorite go-to blogs and ebook libraries. The best part? They’re all free.

3 Tools to Optimize Your Photography Website

Question: What are some tools to analyze your website’s effectiveness?

You can’t determine your website’s “effectiveness” until you define its goals. Is the goal to attract new clients? To make sales? To encourage people to share your work via social media?

Managing Your Social Media Resources

Question: I’m getting website and social networking fatigue! How can I best manage my time not just maintaining portfolio sites like Behance, FoundFolios, etc., but marketing them as well? Should I direct traffic to just my main website or market all my portfolio sites?

Knowing where to direct your web traffic can be challenging for a photographer. Having multiple photo blogs on websites such as FoundFolios, Behance, Tumblr, WordPress, Flickr and others can boost your Search Engine Optimization, which helps your brand appear more in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search-engine results. Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are also great ways to boost your SEO and get your name in front of people who may not otherwise find you. The one thing that almost every potential client looks for, however, is a well-structured, easy-to-use website.

Photographers and Inbound Marketing: Getting Noticed by Clients

Question: If most art buyers and creatives are being inundated with email and direct mail promotions and don’t have time for meet and greets or portfolio reviews, what avenues of self-promotion do you recommend?

As the people trying to get noticed, we tend to think that potential clients and buyers are flooded with promotions. And for the most part, that’s probably true – so when you’re tired of waiting for responses to your email or direct-mail promos, start thinking about inbound marketing tactics. Inbound marketing, by definition, is what you do to make customers find you. Instead of reaching out to clients and buyers and hoping to get a response, your marketing efforts focus on avenues that cause them to naturally come across your business.

Here are 3 top strategies to explore when developing your inbound marketing plan:

Dialogues Podcast: The Artist’s Website in an Increasingly Digital World

Question: What directions do you see artists’ websites heading in our digitally focused world?

For today’s photographers and illustrators, keeping up with digital innovations – from desktop to laptop to smartphone to tablet, and beyond – means creating marketing content that renders properly across multiple platforms. Flash is fun, but not all platforms are “flash-friendly”… your logo rocks, but can the user even see it on an iPhone?

In this engaging Dialogues Podcast, top industry consultants share vital resources and advice for maintaining brand integrity between platforms, keeping SEO in the multiplatform mix and successfully integrating killer digital strategies into traditional marketing plans.

Hear our expert panel discuss:

Dialogues Podcast: Optimizing the Engines of Success

What are the best practices of search engine optimization … and why do I care?

This special podcast features an informative one-on-one with Detroit-based commercial photographer and SEO expert Blake Discher, who answers artists’ essential questions about search engine optimization. Research shows most online searchers don’t go past a page or two of search-engine results, so how do you make sure your business stays at the top – and how important is that to your commercial success? From on-page adjustments to off-site activities, Blake shares his best advice on:

Ranking Your Website High on Search Engines

Question: How important is SEO to your website?

The importance of search engine optimization depends on two factors: what specialty or niche of your industry you work in and the state of the economy. Before the economic downturn, I was shooting annual reports for major companies “cover to cover.” That is to say, a company would fly me all over the world to create images for their annual; the budgets in place supported that sort of expense. As the economy worsened, I began to notice that those annual reports and other similar multi-location shoots were being awarded to photographers piecemeal, based on their geographic location.

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