Having worked in on-page SEO (search engine optimization) for many wedding photographers over the years, I realized early on that photographers are visual people. No great discovery there. I almost always go into these beautiful websites and find loads of wonderful, beautiful images with no text for. I then get on the phone with the client and point this out to them and I usually have a response of “I want the images to speak for themselves.” or “I don’t want to clutter up the page with text.”
I get that. But a website is a marketing tool for your business. To get more business, people have to be able to find you. That can happen in different ways – advertising, word-of-mouth, links from directories – but the number one way that your website can help people find you is in search results. Without text, Google and other search engines can’t be 100% sure what the page is about. Therefore, when they are not sure, they don’t show your webpages, at least not on page 1 or in the top 3.
Google reads each page with a page crawler called a “spider”. Text is clear to them. Words have structure and meaning that Google can compare to other information that they already have. When you want to be clear about what you do, that clarity needs to be in the text on the page.
Google wants to know what it is looking at via text. They have made great strides in understanding images, but only in a general sense. A photo of a younger woman and an older woman determined by a computer could be a mother and daughter bride portrait or a rabbi and a bat mitzvah. Artificial intelligence might be able to determine the difference, but do you want to depend on that? No, you want to tell the search engines, I do weddings but I specialize in wedding portrait work, as you can see in this sensitive study of a mother and her daughter, the bride.
When you add text to your photographs, you provide context. Both the spiders who crawl your site AND the prospective customers who will be searching for a particular type of photography. Making it clear that text isn’t for the sake of text, but for CONTEXT helps my photography clients understand the value of adding it.