Before I get started, I want to mention something that Josh Rice brought up in the Facebook group. It concerns buying used camera bodies. He was checking out one of the big dealers’ websites and saw two Canon 5D mk3 DSLR bodies listed at the same price, so he emailed them and asked what the shutter counts were.

The shutter count is the number of times the shutter has been released, which is the number of photos the body has taken.

They replied with 80k and 500k. The Canon 5D mk3’s shutter is rated at 150k clicks before it starts to wear. The body with 500k clicks is at the end of its life, and it could die the first time you use it.

I am shocked that they are trying to sell that body at the same price as a body that has a regular amount of shutter releases for its age. Maybe the 500k body is in mint condition, and the 80k body is a bit banged up.

So, if you are going to buy a used camera body, ask what the shutter count is before you buy.

A big thank-you to Josh Rice for that bit of info.

Now, we go from one Facebook group member to another.

Search Engine Optimization

This week, Melody Richmond of “From Day One Photography” asked how to use SEO to get more people to her website.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It can be a little mind-blowing if this is your first time researching it.

The idea is to use words and phrases that people search for on Google in your titles, headlines, and articles. This is so Google can rate your site and put your website in the results when someone searches for, say, “Photographer.”

As a photographer, I don’t think you should worry too much about SEO. Your website is probably going to have 80% photos, with a bit of information about yourself, prices, and a contact form.

If your website had 300+ articles about photography, then SEO tactics would be needed to try to rank on the first page. Google says that there are over 200 million active websites, so ranking near the top of the search results for any subject isn’t easy.

As a small photography business site, try writing a few articles that will help customers, such as “What to wear for a family portrait shoot” or “Where are the best locations in (your town) for a portrait photography session?”

The best way to get ideas for articles is to do a Google search. Let’s try “Wedding Photographer” and find out what else people are searching for related to wedding photography.

When the search results load, scroll down the page to “People also ask.” These are questions people ask related to “Wedding Photography.”

So, use the questions that people also ask as the basis for articles. If you give customers answers to these questions, Google is more likely to put your article into their search results.

Google Business Profile
As a photographer offering your services to a small local area, there is something better than SEO to get on the first page of search results. It has had many names, and I’m sure Google will come up with a few more. It is presently called Google Business Profile.

This is the section near the top of the search page, which has a list of relevant businesses next to a local map. The best thing is, it’s free.

So search on Google for “Google Business Profile,” and sign up.

In Melody’s situation, this is something she needs to do if she hasn’t already done so.

Paid Option
The section above the Google Business Profile is for paid promotions. So, if you want to get your name at the top of the results, you can pay for it.

With Google Ads, you are paying to have your link displayed whenever someone searches for a keyword you have chosen. The keyword or term could be “Photographer” or “Wedding Photographer.”
The more popular the term is, the more Google charges for it. For the keyword “Photographer,” they might charge $1.50 a click in your area. You pay Google an amount, let’s say $100, but I’m not sure what the minimum is now. Every time someone clicks and goes through to your website, $1.50 comes off the $100.

It is really important to use a keyword that accurately describes what you are offering. Don’t use “Photographer” if you are a pet photographer. Use “Pet Photographer.”

If you do pet portraits, you don’t want people clicking your link if they are searching for a wedding photographer. You want your advertising dollars to be spent on people who are actually looking for you.

Google Updates
Every so often, Google updates its Algorithm. That is, it resets the rules on how the search engine rates websites.

A couple of years ago, it was essential to be an authority on the subject you were talking about. So, if your website gave medical advice, you had to be a qualified professional. If you were unqualified and giving medical advice, your site would not be included in the results.

Google also emphasizes answering search questions quickly on the first page of your site, not hidden deep down in the depths of your website.

Well, this month, March 2024, Google started a new collection of updates, and many high-ranking sites have lost a lot of visitors.

AI Wars
The reason is the introduction and use of all the new AIs available.

So many top-ranking websites have been using AIs like ChatGPT to write their articles. Google is using its own AI to find the offending sites and drop them down the rankings.

I feel search engines are at a significant turning point. Google will more than likely replace its current search engine with an AI, and Microsoft already has its AI working in the Bing search engine.

I haven’t a clue how searching the Internet will work in the future. It’s going to be very interesting as it unfolds.

Alternative Methods
SEO is a long-term plan. You don’t change a few things on your site, and next week, you are up in the rankings. It takes six months to a year to see any real benefit.

What else can you do to get Google’s attention?

Well, once you have a Google Business Profile, your customers can leave reviews and rank you from one to five stars. Instead of waiting for customers to leave feedback, ask your friends to do it. Yes, it’s cheating, but it will give your business a boost. If you are uncomfortable doing that, just ask all the people you did free or discounted shoots for. Remember, they owe you.

The more feedback you get, together with a 5-star rating, the more Google will put you in its searches.

When someone is searching for a photographer and sees you have lots of testimonials and a 5-star rating, it’ll put their mind at rest. Testimonials are very powerful. Get as many as you can and treasure them.

Right, I think I covered everything. If you have any questions, you can find me in the Facebook group and on Messenger. There is a link in the show notes and also over at

While you are there, you can support the show and “Buy Me a Coffee.”

Okay, I’ll be back next week with what I hope is a first for the podcast. I can’t say more than that. It’s top secret.

Talk to you soon, bye.