Getting My Photography Website to Rank #1 on Google: My SEO Journey with Media Search Group

Recently, I learned there is a lot of interest in “SEO services for photographers”. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had so many women reach out and there’s a whole other group of women I haven’t shared with yet. So, I have decided to write a post for all those who are also searching for a reliable SEO company for photographers.

As a professional full-service photographer in Cedar Falls, Iowa, I rely heavily on my website and online presence to attract new clients looking for a maternity photographer, newborn photographer, or family photographer in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, The Cedar Valley, and Iowa City.

Like most other service-based businesses today, if potential customers can’t find me online, it’s unlikely to have a steady flow of leads and prospective customers who book a photo session.

After getting into photography professionally 6 years ago, I hired a website designer to build me a beautiful, modern website to showcase my work. However, despite having spent a fortune on beautiful new branding and a strategic website with beautiful copy, I struggled to get traffic and new leads from Google searches. My site just wasn’t ranking well for the keywords that mattered most to my business.

Phrases like “Cedar Falls family photographer,” “newborn photographer Cedar Falls,” and “Iowa City maternity photographer” barely showed up on page 2 or 3 of Google results. I depended mostly on word-of-mouth referrals and some Facebook/Instagram marketing to get new clients.

But I knew I was missing out on connecting with so many potential customers who were searching for a local photographer in Cedar Falls and nearby areas online. Most of my client base had come from Google prior to my rebranding. This is because I had taken an SEO Mastermind course with Vanessa Hicks Photography where I learned how to do a significant portion of strategic SEO myself. That’s why my last website ranked, but this one didn’t. I was frustrated because I had seen SEO work for me, and now it wasn’t.

How I Found a Trusted SEO Company for Photography Services

I wanted to rank on page 1 of Google for my most important keywords. As a niche photographer, SEO is critical for me to thrive. So I started researching “SEO services for photographers” and “best SEO companies for photographers” like me.

That’s when I came across Media Search Group, an SEO agency catering to service-based businesses, such as photographers, painters, artists, dentists, lawyers, and several others needing better website visibility.

Why I Hired Media Search Group for Photography SEO Services

Their site emphasizes how they take a data-driven approach to SEO for photographers using the latest best practices. And their case studies show that they’ve gotten many websites to page 1 of Google! I was even able to speak with a doctor out of Florida who had hired them for his location-based business and had seen very positive results. This was reassuring to me since I had never heard of MSG before.


Source: Media Search Group

What stood out is they assign each client a dedicated account manager who stays in touch with me and develops customized & affordable SEO packages. They offer guaranteed first-page rankings, which none of the other SEO companies I found offered. Besides, they are a full-service digital marketing agency, offering a range of digital marketing services:

  • Search engine optimization services
  • Content writing
  • Website design and development
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Online reputation management and more under one roof

Partnering with a full-service SEO agency with over 12 years of digital marketing expertise means I won’t have to contact other agencies for any requirements that go beyond SEO.

After exploring their site and portfolio, I felt confident they could get my website ranking higher too. The pricing was fair and they had a long history in the SEO industry, being around since 2011.

My First Experience with Media Search Group for Photographer SEO Services

I decided to request a quote and scope of work. The SEO expert I was communicating with was friendly and didn’t come across “sales-y” at all. He asked thoughtful questions about my business goals and took the time to understand exactly what I was hoping to achieve.

After a thorough website audit and competitive analysis, Media Search Group put together an SEO proposal for an SEO campaign tailored to my photography services. In spite of my prior SEO knowledge, Media Search Group helped me realize there were backend elements to SEO that I had no idea existed. Just because you have good alt tags and meta descriptions doesn’t mean you’re done – there’s so much more to SEO on your website and MSG has handled all of that for me.

One thing I appreciated is they were very transparent about what they would be doing each month, with no hidden fees or surprise upsells down the road. I signed on immediately and couldn’t wait to get started!

How Media Search Group Helped My Photography Website Rank #1 on Google

Technical SEO Audit

The first thing Media Search Group focused on was a technical SEO audit of my website. As a maternity, newborn, and family photographer, I cared much more about having a visually stunning site to show off my work. But I never thought much about site speed, responsiveness on mobile devices, website security, and all those other techie things.

Well, turns out those things really do matter for photography SEO and are an important part of an effective SEO strategy! Some of the issues Media Search Group uncovered that my website developer never addressed:

  • The site speed was too slow, taking over 6 seconds to load pages. This hurts rankings and causes visitors to leave.
  • The site wasn’t mobile responsive, meaning phone visitors got a cramped, hard-to-use layout. Over half of searches happen on phones today!
  • Image file sizes were too large, also slowing load times. Photos on my website needed SEO-friendly optimization.
  • Key pages like “Contact” and “Pricing” weren’t easy to navigate to from the main menu and homepage.
  • My blog wasn’t integrated well and page titles and meta descriptions were missing or too long.

I was surprised to see that my “good-looking” website had so many underlying issues affecting my organic search visibility! It’s technical problems like these that most web designers overlook while designing a website, but are critical for photographers wanting their site to rank well.

On-Page Optimization

Over my first 2 months with Media Search Group, they optimized my website for on-page SEO best practices. This included things like:

  • Compressed image files for faster loading
  • Improved page speed by over 50%
  • Implemented responsive design for better mobile user experience (UX)
  • Refined site architecture and navigation for better crawlability
  • Created SEO title tags and meta descriptions for every page
  • Optimized my blog and integrated it better with site navigation
  • Added alt text to all photos for better image SEO
  • Implemented hreflang tags for local SEO

Already within 1-2 months, I saw my Google impressions and clicks trending upward.


Image: Increase in Website Clicks and Impressions Within 6 Months

By fixing the technical issues and on-page errors, Google was able to better index and understand my site’s content. Media Search Group also stressed that high-quality backlinks and other SEO strategies would be key to getting top keyword rankings.

Link Building

Over 3-5 months of our SEO campaign, they shifted focus to off-page SEO and link-building strategies as well. Their team pitched stories about my photography business to relevant blogs and websites, helping me earn backlinks from high-authority sites. They also built quality links pointing to my best work samples by getting them featured on various image-sharing sites.

As part of their link-building campaign, they also featured my photography services on various quality websites with tons of search traffic for blog sharing and social bookmarking. Besides, they were also consistent with PDF submissions, classified submissions, and other tactics to strengthen my online presence as a maternity and newborn photographer in Cedar Falls and nearby areas.

Local SEO

To enhance my local presence, they optimized my Google Business Profile (formerly called Google My Business – GMB). Besides, they also wrote location-specific blog posts to enhance my visibility in local search results.


Image: Google Local 3-Pack Results

After local SEO and GMB optimization, my business “Meghan Goering Photography LLC” now appears in Google Maps Local 3-Pack results.

What’s more, my business profile appears more often for targeted local keywords in search results.


Image: Search Terms That Ranked My GMB Profile in Search Results

In the below two graphs, you can easily see that people are not only checking out my business profile but are also visiting my photography website. Since more people are coming across and exploring my photography services, it is helping me with brand building and lead generation as well.

Image: Number of Google Business Profile Interactions

Image: Number of Clicks My Website Got from Google Business Profile

Content Writing

Media Search Group continually publishes blog content on my site around focused keywords, embedding links to my important pages like “Cedar Falls Family Photographer” “Cedar Falls Maternity Photographer”, “Cedar Falls Newborn Photographer”, “Milestone Photography Sessions”, and “Cedar Falls Headshot Photographer” along with the Home Page. The fresh, relevant content helps improve my online presence and organic search traffic over time.

Image: Improvement in Organic Search

To give a personal touch to blog content, I also continuously provide insights and feedback to their content team. It helps them update my website with personalized web content and high-quality blog posts. You can also check my blog posts here. I highly recommend you also hire Media Search Group to write and publish blogs for you.

SEO Performance Tracking

Over time, they optimized my photography website and implemented custom SEO strategies, and we started to see the fruits of our search engine optimization efforts.

Here is an overview of website performance from Google Analytics:

Image: Report Snapshot of My Photography Website from Google Analytics

My most critical target keywords began to steadily climb up the Google rankings, ultimately reaching page 1!

Here are some of my keywords in the top 5 rankings that Media Search Group’s SEO services pushed from the bottom to the top of the Google First Page:

Reached #1 “Cedar Falls family photographer”


Reached #1 – “Cedar Falls first birthday photographer”

Reached #1 – “Newborn photographer Cedar Falls”


Reached #3 – “Iowa City newborn photographer”

Reached #4 – “Newborn photographer Iowa City”


In total, we secured 7 of my target keywords in the most coveted top 5 positions of Google Page 1 results. The site traffic coming from organic search also significantly increased. The clicks and impressions have also increased since they started optimizing my website.

Lastly, if you want to see how my keywords have trended overall in the last 6 months, this is a helpful snapshot. You can see we’ve even brought on new keywords.

Keyword Results over 6 Month Span

Working with Media Search Group to improve photography SEO completely transformed my photography business’s online presence and visibility. Their expertise in photographer website optimization is second to none. Their quality of work and impressive results are the reasons why I am still using their SEO services for photographers.

I’m so grateful to rank highly on Google now for targeted search terms and locations that potential clients use every day. SEO is now firmly integrated into my overall digital marketing strategy.

As a fellow photographer, I can’t recommend Media Search Group enough. If you want to get your photography website found online, these guys know exactly how to make that happen!


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