How to apply Google's helpful content update to boost your photography website.

How to apply Google’s helpful content update to boost your photography website

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During this post, I’m going to show you how you rank your photography website better with Google’s latest “helpful content” algorithm changes. These updates were announced in August 2022, and I’ve come up with a great system to help you get the most out of them.

The helpful content update centres around content creators (people like you) providing relevant, useful and helpful content to people searching for services. People who are searching for the answer to a question, a solution to a problem, or to fulfil a need.

This is content that is written by people for people. So, it’s not content created through automation or through bots, or content that is specifically written for SEO. In other words, stuffed with keywords and written purely to try and rank on the search engines.

Google’s algorithm has advanced, in that the AI that Google uses can read your content and understand it to assess whether it is good quality for the people who are landing on your photography website.

By the way, if you’d like to listen to or watch this blog as a video, you can also do that over on my YouTube channel. All my blogs come out on YouTube first, so you’ll always be the first to know about my new content. Do subscribe to my channel, I really appreciate all my followers.

The helpful content update on YouTube

What does helpful content mean for your photography website?

So how can you make this better? How can you improve your website by writing content that Google deems helpful and useful?

To do this, you need to understand your clients. You need to understand who your customers are, and who your website visitors are.

Most of our customers are not photographers. This means they need helpful content on your website to understand what you do. Even if you run a photography training business, and are trying to target other photographers, those photographers still need content to understand your offer.

Your visitors don’t just need a portfolio of images. Your non-photographer customers don’t look at our images the same way as we look at them. They’re not assessing your images technically. They’re not evaluating the way the images are taken.

What they’re looking for is helpful content that explains to them the benefits of your services and offers a solution to their needs. This is written content. You just can’t get this from a portfolio-style website.

This has been a problem with photographers for years – they create websites that are portfolio-based but leave the customers confused. The customers don’t know what they offer. They don’t know what their packages are.

So how do you solve this problem? Well, I believe you create what is called a “scroll to a sale” website. This is something I have devised with my new business, The Photographer’s Suite.

Helpful content is key to engaging your website visitors

Empathise with your website visitors

A “scroll to a sale” website takes your clients through a journey. First, by empathising with them. You demonstrate that you understand why they have arrived at your website, and you offer them a solution to their needs.

Depending on the type of photography you do, your client will either be searching for an emotional reason or because they are looking for a solution to a problem.

The clients who tend to be searching for emotional reasons are looking at the likes of wedding photography, portrait photography, and pet photography. So, you need to understand the driving factor behind them coming to get photographs.

If your photography is business-related – you’re a food photographer, an architectural photographer, or a branding photographer, that purchase is solution-based. So, the person is buying images as a solution to a problem that they have.

Usually, the problem for businesses is something to do with visibility. They’re not getting enough visibility online. They’re not getting seen enough by their ideal clients, or it’s a financial reason. They want to sell more products; they want to sell more services. They want more customers, or they want to increase their network.

When you understand your client’s needs, and what the real need is for the images, whether it be a solution-based need or an emotional one, you can start to create content that is appealing to them. You can create content that answers their questions. It overcomes their problems and tells them you are the person for the job. In other words, the content you have created is helpful content.

Demonstrating empathy with your ideal clients is crucial to engaging them

So, firstly, you need to empathise.

You need to put yourself in their shoes. What are they worried about? What do they need?

If you’re a commercial photographer, you could say something like “I understand you find it hard to tell your business’s story online with the images you take. Sometimes the images you take yourself don’t do justice to your business and the great services that you offer”.

So you’re trying to communicate that you understand that they have problems trying to get their message out there. And they have problems with trying to improve their visibility because the images that they take themselves just don’t hack it.

Now if you’re a wedding photographer, what is the emotional reason for somebody getting photographs? Well, they want to capture their day, but they want to capture the uniqueness, the fun, the enjoyment, every laugh, every tear. Every smile, every bit of joy throughout the day. They want to catch it and capture that but in a way that is hassle-free, and unobtrusive. They want to enjoy their big day with their friends and family knowing that all the images are captured and that they can relive those moments over and over again for years to come.

You need to empathise and communicate that you understand how important that is in your empathetic opening section, at the beginning of your website.

What benefits do you offer your clients?

The next thing you need to do after you’ve demonstrated that you empathise with them is to sell the benefits of your products and services. This is important because people buy based on the benefits a service will offer them.

Make sure you have clear benefits that a customer can understand quickly

Sell the benefits of your products and services.

If you’re a commercial photographer, and you provide a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, you have 200 Google five-star reviews, and all your image images are licence-free, those are benefits. Your clients will know that they can use license-free images in any form of advertising or any form of media that they want. So, they’re still under your copyright, but they’re used under licence freely by the client.

If you deliver your images within three to four days, put that on there.

Sell all the benefits of the service that you do.

So, empathise with your client. Then sell the benefits of what you do. And then tell them a little bit about yourself.

About you, but in a helpful way

The next section on a “scroll to a sale” style website is about you. When you talk about yourself here, talk about yourself from the position of authority you hold. Don’t talk about yourself, about what camera you’ve got, or when you first got into photography. Keep the technical photography aspects out of this communication.

Just tell them why you’re the right person for the job. You might talk about how many awards you’ve won, how long you’ve been in business, how many weddings you’ve photographed, the venues that you’ve photographed, how many commercial shoots you’ve had, the big companies you’ve worked for.

With the names of companies, you may even use a ‘from and to’ description. So, it could be “from companies like the Hilton and Marriott Hotels to solopreneur and sole trader businesses”.

Give your authority and tell them where your work has been featured. For example, “I’ve been featured in Bride Magazine” or “in Northeast Business Magazine”.

All of these are credentials that say, “I’m the right person for the job”.

This only needs to be a small bit of your website, maybe two or three paragraphs.

Let’s talk about the price

This is important. It’s where a lot of photographers, and, a lot of marketers, will give you a different message than mine. They’ll tell you not to use price, and not to put your price on your website. They suggest that you don’t need to convey this information.

However, I believe if you want to give somebody a complete solution to their needs, if you want to give them a really good experience on your website, you need to be showing your prices. This could just be what I call a qualifier price which is a ‘from’ price.

So, you empathise with them and sell them the benefits of what you do. You then tell them a little bit about yourself and why you’re the right person for the job.

And then you provide them with a ‘from’ price. So, you could say “Personal Branding packages from £995” or “Full-Day Wedding packages from as little as £1199”.

This way, you know when somebody gets in touch with you, they’re pre-qualified. They’re prepared to pay at least the minimum investment they need to make to do business with you.

That saves the consumer time because they’re not getting in touch with you to book a call or send any emails when they have a budget of £200, and your starting price is £2000. It’s also saving you time – you’re not replying to these emails and communicating with people who are outside of your budget.

And think about it from a consumer’s perspective. If you’re purchasing something, if you go to a website and you get all excited and you read all this stuff, don’t you want to know roughly how much it’s going to cost you?

It’s good practice because remember, your clients aren’t photographers. They don’t know how much it costs to work with an awesome photographer like you. They are consumers, so they need to go through that journey. They want helpful, inspiring and helpful content that leads them to the perfect end solution.

They want to come away from your website feeling that they’ve learned something about the purchase that they’re going to be making. They will leave feeling quite inspired.

Call to action section

This is so important too. When your potential customer goes away from your website, you want them to have done one final thing. And that is to take an action on your website. So, they’ve clicked that call to book a zoom consultation with you. They’ve clicked that button to schedule their no-obligation pre-wedding meeting.

Perhaps they’ve clicked that button to fill out a form and send an email to ask for further information.

Because the one thing your website must do is it must get that visitor to take action.

When you have a website that sells, that website empathises with the client, sells the benefits of what you do, positions you as a person of authority and gives them an indication of how much it’s going to cost them to do business with you. It then pushes them to do something to take action.

Not only do you take the customer through an enjoyable journey, and get them to take that next step, but you’ve also written helpful content for your website.

That will please Google too, because Google wants websites that are helpful, and inspiring, and take your client on a journey to the perfect solution.

If you want to know more about this, simply go over to Google and type in “Google’s helpful content update”. It was released in August 2022.

This will give you a little bit more of an idea and maybe more ideas for content.

And if you want to know a bit more about a “scroll to a sale” style website, head over to my new website, The Photographer’s Suite.

To find out about Photography business mentoring with me, and to access lots of free resources, please do take a look around the website. You’ll also find plenty of helpful blogs on here too.

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The Photographers Mentor

"If you would like a FREE social media and marketing review of your business, click to book a call, and we can chat. I'll give you some great tips and advice and answer any questions you may have about my six-step photo shoot program. I'm not going to hard-sell my program itself; if you feel it's time to take your business to the next level, please think about it and get back to me after we talk. I have a great relationship with all my clients, and I'm honest with you. You can't build relationships on hard selling; that's what gives marketing mentors a bad name, and that's not me." Thank you, and I hope to speak to you soon, Jeff