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Q&A #16: old portfolio images, dashes in domain names, comments, SEO tags & redirects

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 Sonya, Kristian, Addison, Giovanni, Grace & Kevin 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.

 

 

“Is it OK to have photos in my portfolio that are a few years old up there if I still like them, or do you think I should make new ones?”

I think it’s fine.

There’s something to be said about cycling content and adding fresh stuff, for people who know your website and come back to it every few weeks/months. They like seeing fresh content.

But most of your traffic is probably made up of first-time visitors.

It’s a lot better to give them the absolute best set of images you have, so they get impressed by them.

If you have a photography blog, you always (should) add new content there anyway, for returning visitors, for your existing fan base. They can always find something new there.

But on your static pages (like the homepage or a page about your photography services), choose your best work, that’s OK.

 


 

“Do you have any thoughts on if one should use – (dash) or not in domain names?”

“Like architecture-photography.com vs architecturephotography.com. Does the Google God prefer one or the other?”

Go with the shorter ones, without the dash.

It makes no difference to Google.

But for humans, it’s actually important. You’re saving an extra word when telling the site name to someone on the street. Realistically, verbally say “nature photography dot com” instead of “nature DASH photography dot com”.

Dashes in domain names are more annoyances than anything.

If you already have a site URL with dashes in it, consider switching to a simpler domain name. 

 


 

“Recently imported all my Blogger posts into my my main WordPress site. Should I keep the blogger site or delete it? If I do decide to delete it what steps should I take if any to assure I retain any SEO juice from Blogger?”

Here are some important tips for when transitioning from Blogger to WordPress:

Blogger uses month & name in the permalinks (domain.com/2018/08/post-title.html), but you’re free to use any other permalink structure in WordPress, as long as you set the right redirects in place (see below).

From what I know, Blogger’s export tool does NOT also include the meta-descriptions of your old posts, so you need to manually move those over. If you use the Yoast SEO plugin in WP, you can use its bulk editor to speed up the process of entering all those meta-descriptions.

And most importantly, you have to set up a redirect from your old Blogger site to WP, in order to keep any existing SEO value you have there. This gets more complicated, so please follow point 7 from this article: How To Move Your Blog From Blogger To WordPress

 


 

“Is a comment section required in a photo website?”

This was a comment left on my article: How to modernize your photography website and adapt it to recent industry changes

Allowing comments on image galleries is not common, and could be more distracting.

For a photography blog, even then, it’s debatable. I only recommend enabling comments if you have a large amount of traffic to regularly get comments here and there. For a small blog, just showing “No comments” everywhere might be more off-putting that it’s worth.

 


 

“In the Yoast plugin settings, should we set the ‘redirect attachment URLs’ option to ‘yes’?”

Full question: 

A question on “Media / attachment URL: What to do with them?” from the Yoast SEO site. 

Yoast asks: Is redirect attachment URLs set to “Yes”?

Further down on that page Yoast writes:

If you intentionally put the setting of the attachment URL to “No”, you’ll probably be aware of that fact. In that case, your attachment URLs are an important aspect of your site. You’re linking actively to these pages and these pages have real content on them (more than just a photo). This could, for instance, apply to a photography site.

My husband’s photography site mainly contains photo galleries via a grid and no text in the galleries. The photos have descriptive web addresses, titles plus alt texts.

So the question is – for a photography site with almost no text – is it better to set the Yoast “Redirect attachment URL’s to “yes” or “no”?

I think you can set it to “yes”.

The option has nothing to do with your gallery/grid pages (where it’s excellent that you have ALT tags in the code, and proper image filenames).

It only applies to the attachment pages created for each item in your WP media library.

With the option set to “yes”, that attachment page will no longer exist, and it will redirect automatically to the actual JPG file instead.

So the question is whether that attachment page really provides any extra SEO value on its own. I’d say it doesn’t do that too much. Besides the image itself, it only really adds the title at the top. That title does help with SEO a tiny bit, but not enough to be worth it. Don’t forget that having individual attachment pages are actually bad for SEO, as the Yoast article states: they inflate the number of pages on your site (with very thin content), so they dilute any existing other SEO factors you have.

It’s a game of compromises, like in many other things with web-design (and life!), but in your case, go with “yes”.

Hope this helps.

 


 

Mini-disclaimer: this last Q+A is part “tooting my own horn” (sorry about that), and part “expressing frustrations” :-)

“I’m impressed with the depth and quality of your SEO audit. I’m a SEO and analytics consultant and I can spot a lame audit from a mile away, but yours truly does cover all the bases. Do you sell a lot of them?”

Thanks for the kind words about my SEO audit. I wouldn’t say I sell many of them, no. First of all, I price them relatively high than what most semi-pro photographers afford to pay for such a service.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t enjoy doing them too much because photographers are often obsessed with SEO at the expense of other huge UX mistakes on their websites. I spoke at length about this here. (I don’t enjoy doing SEO audits, but I do them because it’s my job and I know they’re useful)

I keep trying to push that idea on my blog and newsletter, but I’m still getting random emails from photographers with really poor sites, yet they’re concerned they’re not ranking for this-and-that keyword.

So my favorite services (besides the bigger projects from scratch of course) have become website teardowns and consulting calls, where I can really explain things and convince them what to focus on.

But there are times when working on SEO is the right move, and I’m happy to offer that service to the right photographers.

 


 

Your turn: ask me anything. I’d love for this Q&A category 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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