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SEO Case Study: Shea Winter Photo

In this SEO case study, I will discuss our work on a website of an American photographer. You will learn how we planned and executed our SEO strategy and what results we achieved.

Table of Contents

Shea Winter Photo Introduction

Shea Winter Roggio is a professional photographer from Pennsylvania and the owner of the website sheawinterphoto.com. His area of expertise is documentary, editorial, commercial photography and travel photography, along with video production and selling fine art prints.

SEO Case Study Shea Winter Photo introduction
SEO Case Study Shea Winter Photo introduction on mobile

Over the years, Shea has traveled to many corners of the world on paid photo assignments. He is a truly experienced photographer that has much to offer and share with the world. As such, to showcase all of the international work he was creating, he needed to invest in a modern and slick website that would live up to the challenge.

Before Shea approached us about redesigning and upgrading his website, we had been managing his social media account for a few months. As Paradox Bay also specializes in running social media accounts that showcase tremendous photography, we had found major success in increasing his daily engagement and followers.

He was delighted with our work. Shea also knew that we provided web development and SEO services, so it felt natural to him to give us the opportunity to work on building his website up to a professional level that would not just show great images but rank in search engines.

We decided to focus on Image SEO early on since it is vital for any photographer. Since even seasoned photographers often don’t know exactly what the term Image SEO refers to, let me tell you a bit about it.

SEO Case Study Shea Winter Photo Gallery

What is Image SEO?

To implement perfect Search Engine Optimization for a website, you need to understand and have mastered several aspects of SEO, such as on-page SEO, technical SEO, and keyword research. Each one of these parts plays in helping the website rank well and in turn, get more organic traffic from search engines.

In addition to the aspects of SEO mentioned above, there is one vital to photographers called Image SEO, which is the focus of this case study.

Image SEO is the practice of optimizing images on a website specifically for search engines. This is done most commonly to help search engines understand the content in any photo and then know when best to show your image in a specific search result.
When done properly, the user experience of your website goes up because search engines know to show your image to people who are indeed searching for that specific type of image. This provides a positive boost to your rankings since users will stay on your page longer, whereas if you’re showing the wrong image for a search, it will reflect negatively on your site when people open and immediately close the page.

As with all of the different aspects of SEO, there are steps involved with each to perfect. You may consider them as tasks, like a checklist, that needs to be completed in order for an image to rank well.

Some of the most important are correctly naming files, alt tags, image compression, image sizing, and the display positioning of images on your website.

Image SEO infographic showing ranking factors

Who Benefits from Image SEO the most?

It’s imperative that anyone who extensively uses images on their site, such as a photographer or a webshop with visually stunning products, understand that Image SEO is essential for the success of your page in terms of organic traffic and user experience. Just like if you own a physical business and you decorate the space as soon as you enter, consider your website as the first impression a customer will get when they first open the doors.

It goes without saying this importance is magnified for photographers as there is no better tool to help the world see your work than Search Engine Optimization.

In addition to ranking photographs, correct image SEO is also a powerful tool for businesses who would like to rank their infographics in searches higher than their competitors. Using this tactic to rank images and infographics not only increases the traffic to your site but also the chance that someone might find and use your content on their blog post, while providing a backlink to your site.

Goals of The Project

At the start of the project, we agreed on several major goals.

First we would complete all of the foundation level SEO so that over time any updates to the site or new blog posts would have a greater chance of ranking quickly.

To achieve this, we fixed errors, did basic on-page SEO, and added proper h tags and meta descriptions. In addition, we decided to remove all of the existing images from the website and replace them with proper images that had undergone the entire Image SEO processing.

We also set a goal to post blog content regularly to ensure search engines understand the site is never static and constantly growing. Our final goal is to have a website with a great SEO foundation that will, over time, improve the domain authority and ranking of the page while simultaneously bringing more traffic to the site.

SEO Case Study Shea Winter Photo meta title and description
The appearance of the website on the Google results page.

Strategy and Execution

When taking on a project to work on an already existing website, you have to first complete a detailed audit of the site to identify all of the critical errors that need to be fixed and areas that have room for improvement.

While going over sheawinterphoto.com, we identified several vital errors that need immediate fixing and created a list in order of priority to solve the problems one at a time.

The page size of Shea’s site was identified as one of the areas that need major improvements, as it was full of images. If a page has too much data on it, it loads slower, which leads to poor user experience and a significant hit on the page’s search rankings. In this case, the reason for such a large page size was there were too big images.

We systematically went through the site and optimized each image, replacing the old one with a newly processed image with a proper naming convention and image size. This immediately impacted the site as it was instantly more responsive and easier to use.

Here is a performance report showing before and after we optimized the images.

Before and after comparison of page speed showing improvement
Page speed before and after our fixes and improvements.

However, image size and filename are just a few among many ranking factors. Next up, we decided to write captions for every image on the website and complete proper alt tags. Simultaneously we checked the placement of every image on the site to ensure the text around it was relevant to that particular photograph.

As you can see, there are a lot of steps you have to pay attention to for proper SEO implementation. To ensure all future images were of the same quality as the ones we optimized, we set up a workflow with clearly defined steps for both Shea and us to follow.

peacock image with alt tags title and caption image seo
Example of proper alt tags, title and caption.

Along with Image SEO, we completed detailed on-page SEO for all essential pages on the website, including some previously published blogs. Technical SEO fixes and improvements were also implemented in the background, such as creating a sitemap, fixing broken links, and connecting Google Search Console.

One vital thing we did was full-scale keyword research for all of the photography-related topics Shea wanted his page to rank. We also identified opportunities for some new pages and blog posts by looking for low-competition keywords that received regular traffic on Google. Here is a snip of our keyword research excel sheet.

Keyword research example showing a list of keywords and their stats
An example of keyword research done for a recent blog post.

To ensure continued SEO growth, we agreed on two continuous services. Every month we decided to post a new blog post based on the identified keyword opportunities that would bring more work in Shea’s direction. These are highly optimized blog posts with the goal of ranking for specific keywords and bringing paid jobs his way.

Additionally, we agreed on monthly SEO maintenance. This is key to identifying any errors that may come up due to updates on the website or changes in the Google algorithm.

SEO Case Study Shea Winter Photo Blogs
Highly optimized monthly blog posts


After several months of hard work, we had completed all our goals at hand. The site was clear of errors, and the audit was returning excellent marks for SEO and page speed. Pages that used to take over 20 seconds to load are now taking a little over 2 seconds. That is a significant improvement that has been visible in all of the analytics we track on his page.

Before and after comparison of page size showing improvement
Page size before and after our fixes and improvements.

The hard work continued to pay off as we posted new blogs monthly and performed monthly maintenance to ensure all plugins were up to date.

Today Shea receives a significant number of inquiries for photoshoots from our direct optimization of his site. He may receive inquiries about headshot photography, family portraits, fine art shoots, and more in any given week, all from people who found him through google.

It’s important to know these results didn’t come overnight. Often it will take 3-6 months before you start seeing results from all of the hard work and long hours put into SEO. But there are no shortcuts, and when done properly from step one, you will get those great results down the line.

Google Image Search Result showing success of our image SEO
Google image search result page for "philadelphia food photographer" with our images marked with a red line.

The first indicators of our success were images from certain blog posts that appeared in top Google results. For example, in food photography related blog post, we concentrated on ranking the keywords “Philadelphia food photographer”, and if you search for that term today, four images appear in the top 20 results.

Google Image Search Result showing success of our SEO
Google image search result page for "philadelphia headshot photographer"

Another example is if you search for the term “Philadelphia headshots”, you’ll see one of Shea’s images of Bradley Cooper now ranks our image in the top 10 results. This is very impressive, as his competitors with images ranking for “Philadelphia headshots” have often used the term headshot in their domain name, for example, philadelphiaheadshots.com.

You can imagine it’s harder for Shea’s site to compete against people who use keywords in their domain name. However, we were able to get him ranking among all competitors who had an edge.

Google Search console results for sheawinterphoto.com showing growth
Stats for sheawinterphoto.com with the red line marking the start of our project.

In order to see accurate results, we always implement Google Analytics on a site. Over time, we witnessed Shea’s website pages appearing in more google search results, which directly led to the website receiving more impressions and visitors each month.

In only 3-6 months, sheawinterphoto.com was a faster, more responsive, better looking, higher ranking site than in previous years. The traffic to Shea’s site continues to improve monthly, and this directly results in him getting more photography jobs.

There is no greater feeling than when a client of ours is getting work from the SEO service we provided because they can then see the investment made into Paradox Bay and our SEO services has already started paying off.

We take incredible pride in the work we do, making sure our clients get the best possible results for the money they spend. Working with Shea on his photography website has been no different, as we collectively know all of the aspects of SEO we implemented have paid off tremendously.

SEO case study infographic for sheawinterphoto.com

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As you just saw, we can handle any SEO challenge, from ranking a small personal website to image-heavy websites like a photographer website. We can even help with search engine rankings of large webshops or services. Hit the button below, check out what we offer, and let’s get in touch!

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