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Q&A #8: domain names, images sizes, SEO and keyword research tools

I’m answering your questions about photography websites, business, marketing, SEO and more.

You can ask me anything. I’ll try to answer within 24 hours, and the most useful questions get featured here on the newsletter too. Need any help with your website? Don’t hesitate to write, I’m all ears.

Thanks to Stephen, Amit, Will & Brian for these topics. Check out my answers below, and jump in with your own thoughts by sending me a message or leaving a comment below.


“Should I change my domain name to include ‘photography’ in it?”

Full question: “Currently I have (anonymized) but maybe having is better and far more fruitful. I mean that’s not just the only thing, but this does help start the Google juice building a lot more, right?”

I don’t recommend changing the domain name.

When you’re just starting out, and looking for your first domain name, sure, it’s worth considering choosing one with keywords in it. But in your case, it’s not worth the change.

Changing a domain name for an existing site, even if you do everything right (with 301 redirects) can still have an SEO impact, you’ll loose some of that SEO juice for a while, it’s not worth it. It’s such a small SEO factor (out of hundreds of others), that you’re better off investing your time and energy into other things (like creating more quality content for your audience)

But if you do want to venture forth, here are all the steps you need to go through: How to change your site’s domain name (URL) without losing SEO rankings (7 steps + FAQ)

Recommended reading: Should you try to rank for “photography” or “photographer” terms?



“What are the best sizes for images these days with larger and higher resolution screens?”

Full question: “I’m working on a redesign of my website and am curious to know what you think are the best sizes for images these days with larger and higher resolution screens. I’m thinking about running a full screen slideshow on my home page.”

To start with, check out this full article I wrote on this topic: How to optimize images for website performance: image sizes, compression, tools & testing

For full-screen slideshows, you maybe need to cater to people with 27″ monitors these days (which have a 2560px-wide resolution), so make sure your images have around that size. (Vertical images can be smaller, with a height of max 1600px or so).

Retina screens (like on the Apple iMac) have double the pixel resolution, so if you’d want your images to be really crisp, you’d have them at ~ 5120px, but that’s way-way too large (in terms of file size), the browser would definitely have trouble loading them in a short time, and that’s important for user experience, especially on the homepage.



“Is it bad SEO to have all your images first on a blog post before all your blog copy?”

Full question: “Is it bad SEO to have all your images first on a photoblog post before all your blog copy? Since images are most important thing on a photographers website I would like to have images first then copy but don’t want it to hurt SEO.”

My initial reaction is that most photographers have got SEO all wrong.

Sure, having text higher up on a page/post is slightly better for SEO, but it’s one out of hundreds of SEO factors, so it doesn’t really matter. What matters more are humans, not search engines.

Is it better for human visitors to get some text at the top of the post (for providing context, telling a story)? If yes, then do that. That should be your decision, and not what’s better for SEO.

If it’s more helpful to visitors, they will spend more time on your site and/or browse more of your posts, which in turn “tells” Google that your site is worth it => better SEO. Google pays attention to how people experience your site. So focus on people.



“How can I get more keyword ideas?”

Here are some tools you can use to get keyword ideas (variations of your target ones, when writing any sort of copy on your site) or to get traffic estimates for them (so you know what to prioritize).

I’ve highlighted some good ideas that came up when using “iceland photo tour” as a reference point. You definitely don’t have to use all of them, just test them out to find the one(s) you’re comfortable with (because you’ll probably be using them again in the future).

1 a). First of all, use Google and look at related searches at the bottom of the results:

1 b) Another search you can do is:

intitle:"iceland photo tour"

to see what other people have in their page titles besides the main phrase.

2. Use Buzzsumo to get a list of the most shared pieces of content around a phrase. You’ll get some good ideas for what variations other people have used:

3. KWFinder is great, it gives you many suggestions along with their estimated search volume:

4. Moz > Keyword Explorer.

5. Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool
This one is completely free and has no limits.

6. UberSuggest




Your turn: ask me anything. I’d love for this to become a valuable “repository” of answers from the entire community of photographers.

You can help with that by getting involved:
1. Ask questions. Send them to me via email or on Twitter (@foreground).
2. Answer questions yourself. If you have anything to add to any of my answers (or can answer from a different perspective), jump right in! I’ll share relevant notes with other photographers so everyone can benefit.

Off-topic or inflammatory comments may be moderated.
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