Scott Suchman is a Washington, D.C.-based photographer whose editorial photography has made him well-known to the photo editors of publications across the East Coast of the U.S. and across the Atlantic. Although Scott’s focus is on editorial gigs, he is at the point in his career where he wants a variety of projects from those who appreciate his particular way of creating images.
Hiring Wonderful Machine — and more specifically, me, your author — back in September to perform an SEO Audit was the first step in achieving that goal. Another, which will be the topic of a succeeding case study, was a Google Ads campaign. But first, after the SEO Audit was complete, Scott opted to have us do the SEO Implementation to enact the recommendations provided in his audit report.
Whereas an SEO Audit diagnoses how a website is currently bringing in traffic and of what sort, the SEO Implementation is the treatment for the website. We literally put into place, or implement, the changes that we have previously recommended.
One of the primary jobs of an SEO Implementation is to write new and compelling metadata for each of the galleries, to make sure that those galleries have been indexed by Google and other search engines, to insert keywords at various and strategic locations throughout the site, etc. But it can also include installing new security certificates, renaming images, and adding alt text, inserting random wombat pictures, etc. This list is not exhaustive.
Although lots of the changes that we recommend can be done by the photographers themselves, the point of this (and most) consulting services is (1) that a person who specializes in this can bring an objective, practiced eye to the task and (2) that the photographer can focus on the business of creating images.
Scott’s website, suchmanphoto.com, is hosted by the Format platform. Thus, like each CMS (content management system) its specific way of making changes to metadata, gallery names, image presentations methods is unique to it.
For Scott, almost all of our work was in adding unique metadata to each individual gallery and page. Simply put, Scott hadn’t listed location and hadn’t used the galleries for individual projects to insert keywords appropriate to his work.
Another problem was that almost all of the galleries had exactly the same meta-description. A meta-description is the grey text that is included beneath the blue meta-title text on a page of Google search results (or SERP, Search Engine Results Page). A meta-description is not directly a ranking factor, but it is text that indicates to a user what they can expect in each of those pages. For these reasons, it should be written thoughtfully and include keywords that corroborate the importance of keywords used elsewhere on the site.
Below you can see some of the search listings for Scott’s site after the implementation. These are more descriptive and include his location.
Why is adding a location to your meta-title important? It’s important because a meta-title is a heavily-weighted ranking factor for a search engine. This means it’s some of the most important information on your site, SEO-wise. Since that string of metadata is limited to 70 characters, you need to be economical and strategic. In the end, your name is not as important for SEO as your location.
It is my pleasure to say that Scott’s seen significant improvements in his search rankings since the implementation. If you consult the graph below, you’ll see that he is ranking on the first page for “Washington DC food photographer,” and that he’s next to that for “DC food photographer.” His ranking for “Washington DC travel photographer” has also significantly increased.
It is true that he has not ranked for “Washington DC portrait photographer,” but that is obviously a highly competitive keyword. With time, even breaking into the top 100 of those results can be achieved.
Note, finally, that he’s broken into the top 100 results for “editorial food photographer,” a nationwide search. Being #93 is not usually something to be excited about, unless those are in worldwide results.
|Keyword||Sep. 2021||Mar. 2022|
|Washington DC food photographer/-y||35, 53||7, 15|
|DC Food photographer/-y||NA,NA||12, 13|
|Washington DC travel photography/-er||100+, 100+||36, 36|
|Washington DC drink photographer/-y||14, 100+||100+,100+|
|Washington DC portrait photographer/-y||100+, 100+||100+, 100+|
|DC travel photographer/-y||NA||25, 100+|
|editorial food photographer||NA||93, 100+|
Lastly, I would be remiss not to acknowledge that Scott’s ranking for “Washington DC drink photographer” — previously his strongest non-name ranking — has fallen. Since that isn’t really a way that Scott has described himself nor is it even a category for his photography (or even a gallery name), I’m not sweating it.
During the few months since Scott’s SEO Implementation, you can also see an increase in traffic to his website. These are excellent signs, even if there is no way to be sure that they are the effect of our changes and not merely changes in the industry after COVID.
What did Scott think about this news?
I am so pleased with the way this process went. I’d have to say the number one benefit to this whole project was getting to meet and work with Ashley. He is amazing! So skilled and knowledgeable about the subject matter and above all, incredibly patient with me and supportive of my work. I knew these numbers would climb once Ashley got to digging in. I could not recommend him and the WM SEO audit service more highly.