SEO Success Stories, Part 4

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, Successes 4 Comments

Yep, it’s that time! First of the month and I’m updating rankings for clients new & old. We wanted to share some recent seo success stories. Just click each image to open it larger. As always “entered” means the term wasn’t in the top 100 when we first searched.

SEO Success Stories, Part 4

First, let’s check in on a former client. We do this occasionally to ensure that our SEO rankings aren’t temporary. We are focused on providing long-term help for our SEO clients. This client booked us just over a year ago to do some Maine SEO on her photography website. We completed the job in about 3 months and these are her rankings as of about a week ago. Her SEO continues to increase and she’s page 1 for most local terms. As you can see, High on SEO is aimed at long term results.

wedding vendor SEO

This next result page is for a St. Louis chiropractor’s search engine optimization. We don’t normally see results so quickly but after only a short time working together we’re seeing great SEO results. We will definitely check in again on this result later.

seo for chiropractors

Let’s do a speed round: Edmonton wedding & family photographer, our Charleston chartered tour client who we’ve talked about before and an Atlanta photographer.

edmonton photographer

charleston seo

Atlanta photographer SEO

Last one is for another non-photography site. We did the search engine optimization for a commercial photography studio in Southern California and had fantastic luck. She sent us a note saying she’d already booked a session there from the SEO. They told her she was “at the top of Google” for their search.

commercial real estate SEO

Please use the category “Success” on the sidebar to view more of our SEO success stories. We’re proud of the work we do and we want you to be aware of it.

Interested in having us get you High on SEO? Contact us and let’s start the conversation.


Search Battle: DuckDuckGo & Wolfram Alpha vs. Google

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts Comments Off

A few years ago a stupidlyrich friend of mine started working with (ie. purchased most of) a new search engine company and we ended up talking about it one day.  They wanted to take over a search engine niche.  I told him it was a really bad idea because as fast as you can create a niche search engine, Google can add a filter, use ALL their results but sort them in the way you think is so special and new.   I’ve seen this happen in the photography industry so many times (hi Vivozoom, this one’s for you.)

Well, he didn’t believe me or care.  He is stupidlyrich and I’m a lousy hard-working schmoe.  It happens. 

I was right, though.  His search engine company has turned into a bit of a joke.  It had two really great premises:  1) we’re going to focus on blogs and current events and 2)we’re going to offer live previews of a site before you go to it.  

Great…but did I mention I was right? 

Vivozoom, mentioned above, thought they had a great USP: they would only offer images that were absolutely 100% guaranteed to be legal to use.  iStock, Getty, Shutterstock – none offered such a thing.  Once Vivozoom did, they all followed quickly behind, however.   Vivozoom never took off the way it could have because it was far too easy for Google to offer site previews and add “blogs and current events” to their “news” tab. 

That brings us back to the great debate of today:  do new search engines DuckDuckGo and Wolfram Alpha have enough powering them to take on Google?  

  • DuckDuckGo has seen their traffic explode as seen on their own page
  • Wolfram Alpha is integrated into Siri, in the iPhone, which we assume will stay for the near future – thus making them a more household name.

The USP for DDG seems to be that they simply do not track you at all.  Period.  By default, they are not out to track anything about your searches.  Another privacy supporting search engine, Scroogle, seems to have disappeared.   Scroogle piggybacked on Google though.  

What do you think?  Will either of these search engines make big waves in the next few years?  Or will Google’s domination continue?   Which search engine gives you the best results?   Let the search battle continue!   Tweet your replies or leave a comment below.


Google’s newest algorithm change – reducing black hat SEO

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, SEO Tips 1 Comment

What Google algorithm update?

Google yesterday announced the complete release of a long-awaited over-optimization SEO penalty and algorithm update.

The main goal of this update is “to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs.”  These updates are relevant to our last post: Spams & Scams in SEO.  Whenever Google updates, if you read their information, it’s always to create better sites with better content for end users.  If you remember this mantra, you’ll understand SEO better:

Webmasters are not the consumers, they’re the product Google sells.

If you act as if Google will make changes FOR YOU, you’re wrong and will always be wrong.  When you realize that Google makes changes to ensure the best possible end-user (site visitor) experience, you’ve got it.

How does this affect my SEO through HighonSEO?

Fortunately, High on SEO shares the belief with Google that the best content should win.  Yes, you have to tell Google what’s on the page.  That will never change.    Our link building techniques and on-page SEO fixes are done correctly and for good reasons, however.  We believe, as Google does, that the best sites should show up first.

Today I analyzed data from over 20 clients, past and present.  I have determined that none of our sites were massively hit by the algorithm change.  We saw only typical slight movements in SERPs, as we always would after a month or two of not checking results.   The fact that not one site we’ve been working on for over 2 months has taken a dive shows us that we’re doing it “right” at High on SEO.

This is one client’s results, all updated this afternoon, post-algorithm change.  She lost one page 1 and gained five page 1 results.  I’ll take that for my clients any day.

seo updates after algorithm change for one client

What will Google do next to their search rankings?

We don’t know.  Not really, anyways.   The best way to keep up with Google algo changes and ensure your site is ranking well after using an SEO service is monthly SEO updates.

What we do know about the future is that Google’s customers (search users) want the best, most relevant searches at the top of the SERPs.  Create pages that are worth visiting.  Stop webspamming because it’s going to be virtually worthless anyways.  SEO is here to stay – the question is how we’re going to do it “right” now and in the future.  White hat SEO works.  Use it properly and remember Google’s own mantra “don’t be evil.”

Why do we focus on SEO for photographers?

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, High on SEO News Comments Off

One of the more common questions I get at High on SEO is this: why do you focus almost exclusively on photographer’s seo?

This is a good place to note that I don’t *only* do SEO for photographers.  Many techniques are similar across other niches and I have begun finding as many small business and niche directories and listing services as we can.  We have done SEO for real estate businesses, chartered tours and a small clothing store.  They are all very successful.  Small business SEO is definitely a big part of our future at High on SEO.  

While I don’t exclusively perform SEO services for photographers, they do make up 95% of my clientele.  Three reasons explain this:

1) I focus on SEO for photographers because I am a photographer and most of the people I know are photographers

The people I know are photographers.  The ones they know are also sometimes photographers.  On Twitter, I follow and am followed by 1000s of photographers.  I have 2500 Facebook friends and over 2000 are photographers. I do SEO for photographers because, quite simply, in the first 12 months of my SEO business, they knew about me first.

2) I focus on SEO for photographers because I know where to go for great SEO already in our industry.

A large part of SEO is knowing about listing sites, directories and other niche sites that are relevant to the industry your SEO client works in.  For me, it’s WAY more valuable to know about than it is to know how to find directories on Google.  While I do have a large list of directories and websites for creating SEO backlinks, the photography-specific links give me a huge advantage when competing against a general SEO service.   If your competitor chooses Generalist SEO and you choose me, you’ll definitely be listed on more niche sites that relate to photography.  There is simply no good way to find all those listing sites for every niche.  Knowing your business helps, period.

3) I focus on SEO for photographers because I know photography is competitive and the smartest business people I know outsource as much as they can so they can focus on the photography.  

Outsourcing the things you don’t want to do: taxes, album design, search engine optimization, advertising and marketing, etc. gives you more time to grow your business.  You only have so many hours in a day and doing mundane SEO tasks such as signing up for directories, checking your Google Webmaster’s Tools or submitting another photo to WedGawker is probably the last thing on your mind.  We know what needs to be done to grow your successful photography business.  


High on SEO focuses on SEO for wedding photographers, professional photography studios, portrait photographers and search engine optimization for photographers.


Spams & scams: SEO companies calling you? Unsolicited email?

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, SEO Tips 1 Comment

How do you identify a spam or scam seo company?  We’re going to talk about why seo has a bad name in some circles, why you get spammy “we’ll get you to the top of Google” emails and how to really choose a reputable SEO company for your small business.

Why do I get spammy SEO emails?  Is that company that called me legit?

Your parents taught you  if it seems to good to be true, it is, right?  Believe them. 

Whether you’re a photographer or a plumber, if you have your contact information listed anywhere, you’ve had an email or phone call about “getting you to the top of Google.”    In fact, here are a few things scammers say: “I can get you to the top of page 1 this week.”  ”Page 1 of Google Guaranteed.”  ”Our clients include Microsoft and Facebook.”

They want you to hear: “we can do amazing things nobody else can do” and “we’re so great, we’re so great.”   What you should hear is:  ”I’m lying to you right now” and “If we really did work for MS and FB, we are either terrible and they fired us or we’re lying because nobody goes from Microsoft to Joe Blow’s Corner Photography,” sorry.

The truth about SEO companies is simple: there are great companies, good seo companies and spammers/scammers who do the majority of their work black hat (using spam to quickly promote you before your site is removed from Google).  I would say there are very few seo companies who are just not very good but try to do the right thing.  SEO is understandable once you have applied enough effort and thought so the majority of seo companies are either good, great, or scammers.  

As an SEO company, High on SEO has been in business for about 15 months.  We never have sent an email asking for work, especially unsolicited.  We haven’t had to!  We had a waiting list until early this year and continue to maintain an ongoing list of prospective clients who want us.  If you’re doing well and you’re good at your job, you’ll get referrals and you’ll get more work.  We get almost all of our work from photographers who know of us or who were referred by a friend who we did work for.  If we’re staying full-time busy after just a few months, you know that any seo company who feels it necessary to out-of-the-blue call or email you about their services is desperate for work, usually leading to the conclusion that they’re not very good or they’re scammy & spammy in the first place.  

How do I choose a search engine optimization company for my small business website?

We believe the best way to choose an SEO company is based on results and reputation.  Great companies have great results and great reputations.  Good companies also will have good results and good reputation.  We post seo success posts to this blog often specifically to show you our results. We show you testimonials at the bottom of the page to let you know what our clients think of us.  

Professional SEO companies also share information, usually via their SEO blog.  They want you to get results and they want to educate you.  Truly professional SEO companies won’t worry as much about you not hiring them if they teach you a little about the business and the science behind search engine optimization.  They want you to hire them to do the work, not because you don’t understand SEO.  One of the reasons we give you so many tips is because honestly, not everyone wants to hire a search engine optimization company.  However, for those who do, we want to provide your seo services.

As always, we hope this is informative and helps you make a better decision when it comes time to hire an SEO company for your small business.   We, of course, hope it’s High on SEO! 

Google’s Social Search, SEO and the way we network

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, SEO Tips, Social Media 1 Comment

What’s the news on Social Search?

If you have been paying attention to the search world at all, or even CNN, you may have seen that Google introduced a new “feature” to their search results called Search Plus Your World (or Social Search.)  In case you haven’t been following, here are some interesting reads:

The Official Google announcement says 

Google Search has always been about finding the best results for you. Sometimes that means results from the public web, but sometimes it means your personal content or things shared with you by people you care about. These wonderful people and this rich personal content is currently missing from your search experience.  Today, we’re changing that by bringing your world, rich with people and information, into search.

Facebook and Twitter are among those who aren’t very happy.  Neither is privacy watchdog EPIC who filed a complaint with the FTC arguing that “Google is using its search engine to create an unfair advantage for its social network. The report says Google is highlighting results from Google+ at the expense of pages that might be more relevant.”

And how does this affect SEO?  Well, there are a multitude of conflicting opinions on this.  To be honest, I expected to come to work last Monday and just get to doing some SEO.  Because of these changes, that didn’t happen.  What is the good of helping my clients rank well on page-who-cares if social search will mean more? 

How does this affect/change things at High on SEO?

After a week of deliberating if I should be focused on social search, I’ve determined that for now, I’m not going to focus much on it.  I want to see how the FTC complaint works out, given that EPIC previously challenged Google and won.  

What I do know now is that networking is changing.  Sure, you still need to have coffee with that great wedding coordinator who liked your work.  You may need to poke around a bit and network at bridal shows or whatever.  Put your business cards in people’s hands. 


Social search means you only get found if you’re social.  You want to win?  You have to play the game.  It doesn’t help to be Michael Jordan if the game is baseball, if you know what I mean.  Whatever the current networking “game” is – it helps to play.  I cannot suggest you join Google+ and start doing everything you do on Facebook there, but if you don’t you may end up shooting alone in the gym while everyone else plays outside.

For the record, my Google pages are: Personal and Photography.  

Read the official announcement and try it out to see for yourself what Social Search will mean for you.  

Updates! Success Stories, Part 3

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, Successes 2 Comments

You all know by now that I love my updates.  I absolutely LOVE helping people and when I post a success update it means I’ve helped someone or a group of people. 

My last few weeks have been consumed by helping a group of photographers who were all referred to me.  I always take my work very seriously but when I get a referral I feel extra pressure to really “prove” that the referral was deserved and that whoever referred me feels like it was a good decision.

So yeah – THREE updates tonight! 

First, my new friend Dee.  She specializes in Miami newborn photography.  Dee and I have had a great relationship from the very beginning when I asked her if her keywords would include “taking my talents to South Beach.”  (There is a small part of me that wants to rank her site for that keyphrase.)  As always “entered” means the last update showed the site below rank 100 (off page 10) and the “Google rank” are current ranks.  For instance “miami newborn photographers” had Dee at 24 (page 3) and she’s now 13 (top of page 2).

miami newborn photographer dee dunham

Second, I’ll show you an update for Rachel.  She’s a Green Bay portrait photographer.   My favorite results here are all the double digit gains Rachel’s site has made!  +43, +41, +37 … these are HUGE moves for a short period of time.

Green Bay senior photographer Arna Photography

Finally, a woman who has promised me “a big ole bear hug,” Bree.  Bree is a Denver family photographer and the world is about to know it.  Bree’s site took off like a missile for me.  Push a little button here, tweak this, fix that, give it a boost and WHEE!  OFF she went!  These are *by far* my best, fastest results ever.  I feel SO happy for Bree.  The first screenshots shows her amazing jumps (+58, +53, two entering in the top 30 so more than 70 point jumps.)  In all, 20 keywords moved up double digit jumps.  The second screenshot amazes me.  Bree now has 33 of her 38 keywords in the top 10.  She has 33 PAGE ONE results.  That’s 87% of her many keywords on page one.  That’s some serious SEO!

                    Green Bay family photographer Breeze Gallery   Green Bay family photographers Breeze Gallery

In honor of the World Series going on right now, my next SEO post will be directly related to this one and to teaching you a bit of SEO through baseball.  I know my updates have been infrequent – with so many great clients and a backlog of work to get done, I’ve not wanted to take time away from clients to post as much.  As I get through my wait list and my backlog, I will try to update as frequently as possible. 

SEO Successes, Part 1

SEO Successes, Part 2

Changing from to High On SEO

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, High on SEO News 3 Comments

Why change your business name now?

I admit it.  I never in a hundred years imagined SEO would take off for me the way it has.  I expected that I would do a few bits of SEO for a few friends who’ve asked me over the years and quickly get back to doing what I do: weddings and portrait photography.  

In the few months I’ve now had the doors open to, the response has been (quite literally) overwhelming.   I’ve gone from 2 or 3 friends who were interested in SEO services to a constant waiting list of between 5 and 8 photographers. grew from an idea with merit into a fledgling little business.

When I started and thought it wouldn’t go anywhere, I used the domain because it made sense.  That’s what I do … seo for photographers.  So it completely made sense to me to use that name.  I couldn’t get the .com but I didn’t care because it wasn’t going to be a “real” business for me anyways.  I didn’t much mind that everyone in this industry seems to be Photo SEO, Photographers SEO, SEO for Photographers … until now.

I’ve made the choice that I’m going to run with this SEO business as far as it will take me. I’ve had *fantastic* success so far at getting SEO results and I expect that to continue.  I had no idea I would want to continue doing SEO but truthfully, I enjoy making people happy.  I enjoy watching their site fly up the rankings.  I remember the email from Paul when I landed him from nowhere straight on to Page 3 of “South Wales wedding photographer.”  “I really couldnt ask for more. Its really appreciated .”   Now he’s 6th on Page 1.   

Since I’ve decided to make the leap into full business-dom, there are certain things I wanted.  A dot-com. The business’s logical twitter name, a real Facebook Page, etc.   Someone already makes a living @photoseo and I’m happy for them but I couldn’t have it.  Someone (probably the same guy) also has the Youtube name Photoseo.   I wanted a break and a fresh start.  

Why High On SEO?

Because it’s punny.  If you don’t get the name, you probably won’t like my style anyways.  People say they’re high on life, high on drugs, have runner’s high… well after I slip your site some of my good stuff, you are High on SEO.  (I know you’re technically high on SERPs… but that isn’t the point!)  Not much will change. I’ll still be offering SEO tips here on the blog and offering SEO services to photographers who want to take it up to another level.

So welcome to the new business for  I hope you enjoy reading High On SEO, subscribe to my feed, like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and do all those things you do.  


SEO Q&A with Allison

Posted on by Matt Antonino in All posts, SEO Tips 3 Comments

Yesterday I received a few great SEO questions from my photographer friend Allison.  I thought I’d address them in a new post so everyone can benefit from it.

What if Webmaster Tools finds broken links and the Broken Links Checker Plug in doesn’t? How would we fix the ones that Google sees?

Broken Links Checker should find the broken links on your blog.  Your site may have broken links that only Google finds.  The best thing to do is check why they’re broken and see if it’s an easy fix.  Sometimes it is (something is legitimately broken on your site) and sometimes it’s not (you removed an old client slideshow).

The best post I know of on the subject of fixing links on your main site (not blog) is here.  If you don’t know how to fix your own .htaccess, this may be something you have your webmaster or best computer expert friend do for you.  Redirecting old posts, removing all those old links, etc. is the best way.  Second best is to “cheat” a little and if you have links that constantly get broken (such as old client slideshows) when you delete them, keep the folder and keep an index.html file in them.  Design this file up how you want and everytime you remove their slideshow, upload that index.html file to their folder.   This way YOU control what Google sees when it visits that page.


Why don’t I want home keywords on AIOSEO? It seems like they would be helpful, but you’re the expert!

According to Google, Google does not use the meta keywords tag.  At all.

Q: Does Google ever use the “keywords” meta tag in its web search ranking?
A: In a word, no. Our web search disregards keyword metatags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking.
What this means is that the only thing you do by using meta keywords is tell your competitors what keywords you’re optimizing for and what specialized niche they may want to fill next if they see you being successful at it.  For insance, you use “Montelucia” in your keywords.  If I saw that a number of your blog posts were from Montelucia, I may assume this is working out quite well for you to promote in that area and rather than focus ALL of my efforts on Phoenix, I may direct some that way to grab some of your clients.


I’m trying this out but I’m wondering if it’s only helpful to leave comments on do follow blogs that have similar content as your own?

This is very good SEO information – you should definitely leave comments on related blogs as often as possible.  I think by starting the commentstorm on “blogs you read everyday” you are probably reading the same type of blogs as you produce.  Having a few non-related links isn’t going to hurt you.  The related ones help you *more* but that was never our point in this.

As far as “do follow” – I said in the original post on commentstorming, “Comments on blogs are not always directly good for your SEO as off-site links.”  Our point isn’t *entirely* to gain do follow backlinks.  Sure, they help a lot.  What you’re doing with no-follow blogs is everything else that I wrote in that post.  Getting more traffic, more comments, more time-on-site for you, etc.  Those things help your SEO, too, and so you do gain a boost, even from no-follow blogs.


Is this only beneficial if we either pay or give them 10 of our clients email addresses to make it live? I don’t really want to do either even though I filled out and created a whole profile.

This was not a requirement when I signed up but I just checked it out and you can have paid or free listings.  I would say if you can get 10 people who would give you a review, ask them if you can include them on this.  I would rather have this link than not.  When I move and start doing my own wedding photography SEO for another country, yes, I’ll see if I can get 10 email addresses to put in here.  If not, not… but the link is VERY valuable to your business.


Thanks to Allison, my Scottsdale wedding photographer friend, for the great questions!