Photography Forum For SEO

After you’ve done all your on-page and on-site SEO (search engine optimization), it’s on to the real work – link building. The easiest place to start is by posting on the blog here because it is a CommentLuv photography blog. While blog links are good, you may find that you’re wanting to do more with your SEO, and so it’s on to posting on forums.

Forum signature
Before you can start building links on forums, you need to set up your forum signature to contain the links you’re wanting to promote. If you don’t know which pages and keywords you’re wanting to show up in search engines, take a step back and figure that stuff out first. Just adding a link to in the signature won’t do you nearly as much good as a link to the correct page with a well-chosen keyword phrase. Once you have your forum signature set up, you’ll get links (set up more than 1 link in your signature) every time you post on the forum.

How to build links on forums
Technically, all you have to do to build links on a forum is create a new post or respond to an existing post. Of course, the relevance of what you’re saying should be a major consideration too. Not only will you be helping your reputation with other photographers if you post with care, you’ll also reduce the risk of being flagged in the forum as a spammer. As an example of what a post should NOT be, consider an image critique post. “Love it” is a cheap comment. “I like the leading lines…” would be a better comment. Think about it this way – if your comment could just have easily been posted on the next topic, you probably should write a little more explanation behind what you’re thinking.

Top photography forums for SEO
The best kind of forums for SEO are do-follow forums. Basically, they’re forums where the links “count” toward your Google PageRank. The problem with most photography forums is that they’re no-follow. This can be pretty frustrating, especially when the forums are listed as do-follow on other websites online. I have run across a couple generic do-follow forums that contain photography content, but I really didn’t feel like I could force myself to participate in those communities. I’d much rather have a photography specific forum to post on. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, just build it, right? And that’s what I did. So The Photo Business Forum was born. It’s a true do-follow photography forum where I’m hoping you feel right at home. The forum is mainly focused on the business side of photography, but I’m thinking you probably don’t mind that since the blog here is the same way.

How has your link-building been going with the blog, and now the forum? Have you been noticing that you’re moving up in the search rankings? If not, let me know, and maybe I can provide a couple suggestions.

** UPDATE: I’m not sure if it had anything to do with me, but The Photo Forum is now Do-Follow. So good news, bad news. Bad news: I’m not the only do-follow photo forum on the block any more. Good news: there’s now an established forum with a solid community that’s do-follow.


49 Responses to “SEO For Photographers – Forum Posting”

  1. Sire says:

    I have a forum that I’ve set up for bloggers and I always thought it was a dofollow and after checking the links it appears that I was right. I know I didn’t do anything to make it that way, it’s just the way it was. Must be why I have to delete human spam on a daily basis.

    You are right though, like blog commenting you want to leave quality posts and comments if you want to remain a member and have people follow your links.

    • TJ says:

      You would think that most forums would be set up as do-follow. It’s surprising to me how many aren’t though. Do you comment on forums pretty frequently?

      • Sire says:

        I used to before I discovered blogging. It’s a lot easier to comment on blogs than it is to join a whole lot of forums.

        I really should start promoting my forum again as it’s aimed at bloggers. It’s on my to do list :D

        • TJ says:

          I think the thing I like about forums is that you can have multiple links in your forum signature to be able to promote more than 1 target keyphrase. Finding forums can be a pain. My plan is just to try to build up the community on The Photo Business Forum and just comment frequently there.

      • Nabil says:

        I believe one shouldn’t participate in forums to build links. Mainly because of the fact that a lot of ‘em still use nofollow on their outgoing links. But also because of the fact that the links won’t be of quality.

        There will be at least 30 other outgoing links which is just too bad. I’d suggest using forums for branding instead. That works great :)

        /Nabil, from Sweden.

        • TJ says:

          Thanks for the thoughts. I think we’ll have to disagree on this one though. I’ve found that forums are a great way to build links. I understand what you’re saying about having a lot of links on the page, but in my experience, that hasn’t stopped forums from being an effective SEO technique.

          I try to think of SEO in terms of establishing who is an expert, and in the real-world, forums are a way to establish yourself as an expert. So why wouldn’t Google use that as an online way to establish credibility? The answer is that Google does look to forums to establish credibility.

  2. John Rocha says:


    You’ve really touched on an area of great interest here.

    Like lots of bloggers I had no idea about the do/don’t follow distinction for a long time and when I did it got me thinking.

    I suppose there are some photographers who think it’s a good idea to stay ahead of the competition by getting links from others but not giving anything away.

    My view is that SEO is important but in the long term it’s better to share our knowledge to everyone’s benefit so we can learn from each other.

    And it’s clear that search engines emphasise that good content is what counts in the end.

    It’s really dispiriting to visit sites and read comments which are obviously designed to please search engine robots rather than fellow photographers.

    I hadn’t come across your forum before but I’m signing up.

    One point which I’m currently emphasising is the problem of signing up on forums and then getting spammed.

    It’s also vital to look at how sites which are primarily about pictures can attract search engines which can only search on text.

    I suppose one point is that everyone here is a photographer but we have to think outside this narrow area and think like webmasters as well


    • TJ says:

      Yea, I think it helps us all out to share what we learn. Most of my readers are not in my metro area anyway, and those are the people I’d actually care about as competition.

      I think it’s funny how easy it is as business owners to step out of the business owner role and claim that we’re just photographers. “Just photographers” work for a studio and don’t have to think about the big picture. The second you start running your own studio, though, you’ve got a million things to think about on top of just the photography part.

  3. I like to say this blog is really very interesting upon SEO topics, and also very informative one.

  4. Emily says:

    I’ve never heard of CommentLuv but now I will have to check it out! Great post!

    • TJ says:

      Thanks for the visit. The more you drop meaningful comments on blogs with commentluv, the more you’ll start to notice that your posts are showing up in search engines. Feel free to come back by any time to comment on my blog to help you out. Talk to you soon!

  5. Dian says:

    Thank you for the great info! I truly appreciate it as I was making some major mistakes that you helped me catch.

    • TJ says:

      Glad I could help! I’ll be posting other info on SEO in future blog posts, so make sure to subscribe if you’re wanting more tips! Thanks for the visit and comment!

  6. Heidi says:

    I read your article for Professional Photographer and had never heard about CommentLuv- so I’m here to check it out and see what it’s all about. Thanks for the informative SEO article.

    • TJ says:

      I’m glad you stopped by! For some reason the commentluv didn’t work on your comment. Did it find your last blog post before you clicked submit comment?

  7. Don Monteaux says:

    Enjoyed this article, and the one just published in PPA online. I would love to talk with you about SEO and all that goes into making your web site turbocharged.

    • TJ says:

      I’d love to talk. You can shoot me an email ( or give me a call on my cell (618-407-9247). I did a quick search, and it looks like you’ve already started doing some SEO, so that’s awesome! I’d be happy to talk to you about ways to land on the first page.

  8. Wayne says:

    This is all good information to get yourself noticed. I was particularly interested in the No Follow discussion and wondered why you are not using it here? The links are No Follow here, but on the forum they are Do Follow. I still don’t know why people do the No Follow thing anyway? Is there some penalty for having do follow links on your blog and not on the forum?

    • TJ says:

      No-follow is the default. Do-follow is the exception. The links for the name are no-follow because I don’t want spammers trying to get a do-follow link to their keyword. In other words, I want people to enter their real name instead of a keyword, so I have kept that part no-follow. The CommentLuv links are do-follow though, so that’s how you can still get a do-follow link from commenting on my blog.

  9. Lydia says:

    Good to know about the do-follow coding. I have my links set up with key words, but have no idea if it’s really working.

    • TJ says:

      I was taking a look at your link-building, and it looks like you’ve got a bunch of links, and you’re active in blog commenting. That’s awesome! I didn’t see an example of a link with your keywords, but I didn’t look through all your links either. Do you have an example you’d like me to double check for you? Also, it looks like your blog is #1 in Google for “Northern California Lifestyle Wedding Photographer”. Are you getting traffic off that term? Thanks for the visit!

  10. Hello TJ,

    Thanks for sharing you ideas and thoughts,I like your blog and bookmark this blog for the further use

    Reshma..! Thanks again:)

  11. I’m working with my partner to try and build up our business in the southeast. With CommentLuv I can hopefully get deeper links and quality links to my website. I find it amazing that there are photographers in my area that rank alot higher in some of the searches and have very little content on their sites.

    • TJ says:

      It’s definitely surprising to see people with very little content ranking well. There are about 200 factors that Google uses to prioritize sites to the top of search results, so they must have the rest of their SEO ducks in a row.

  12. The interesting thing to note about photographers on page 1 in any city is it has nothing do do with the quality of their work, just the obvious determination to market their business. A lesson to all of us. Work on your craft, yes, but if the phone doesn’t ring…

    • TJ says:

      Yea – marketing is definitely a funny thing I can tell you that there are definitely some fantastic photographers in our local area who don’t show up in Google at all. Just because their work is good doesn’t mean that they’ve got their marketing all figured out yet. I guess there’s always more to learn about our craft and about marketing our studios. Thanks for the comment!

  13. Elise says:

    Thanks for the tips — they’re excellent for someone just starting out in the world of blogging. Good point about leaving relevant comments.

  14. Hi TJ, I have gone back and read all your posts on this blog, and its amazing to realize how much I’ve learned in the past 30 days about blogging and SEO relevance. I do agree with what John Rocha said in February about posting comments just for the search engine benefit. I must admit that was my only goal by doing this at first, but reading all the blog post from other photographers this past month has really educated more than I could have possible imagined. The fact that I found you in A PPA article and have now applied that knowledge to helping me grow my business in many ways speaks volumes about PPA, and you!

    • TJ says:

      Wow! Talk about a compliment! Thanks man!! I’m glad to have been part of the experience. We all definitely learn from each other – it’s cool what a great community (like PPA) can do for improving a business. Thanks again!

  15. Deepak Chauhan says:

    Can we put more signature in reply any forum

    • TJ says:

      I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking, but your best bet is to find a photographer forum (like the ones mentioned above) and set up your signature there. Then you can participate in the forums to get backlinks.

  16. This is some hot stuf brotha! :)

    SEO is nice. Photography is very nice. I have a D5 by myself.

  17. groovybooth says:

    hii i need do follow forum sites photography related, i have a photo booth website and i am dong seo for it, and tell me what should i do for make back link.

  18. Hi, I need dofollow forums site related to photography. I have a photo graphy website.

  19. Tom Dwyer says:

    Love Love Love coming here!

    So much to learn with all this SEO stuff. ha ha.

    Today I got info on the CommentLuv and it’s being used for this comment right here. I also went to some sites that were recommend and 2 of the 3 made into my “Stash Best of the Best” Folders. Hard to get in this one.

    I’m happy to report, THIS SITE MADE IT IN ON DAY ONE.

    Ok, so thanks for the CommentLuv info and thanks for the 3 articles I’m off to read the final one now.

    So I feel like I’m giving back.. I’m a member of a site called <—– Just brilliant how they lay it out for you in their webinars mp3s and articles. Do this ABC, Do that DEF, etc.

    It's a fee every month but I'm still on my free trial. 30 days.

    I give very few plugs and here I am, plugging this site and thekeywordacademy. BOTH ARE AWESOME.

    You could probably over time learn it all here though.. This info is A+

    Tell me, what have you ever thought about LONG TAIL KEYWORD PHRASES related to all topics "Photography?

    If you have an article on that – I'll be reading. :)

    I love it here too.

    • TJ McDowell says:

      Thanks for the comment again man! I touched on long tail keywords in the article I wrote for Professional Photographer magazine on SEO for Bloggers. If there’s a question you have on that, I’d be happy to consider doing more detail on that topic in a future blog post.

  20. Thanks for this post TJ. We’re still figuring out SEO, and it really helps to find other photographers who are willing to share their expertise with others : D

    • TJ McDowell says:

      Dekalb Wedding Photography,
      We’re still figuring out SEO too =) It seems like it’s always changing, and there’s a lot more to learn. Thanks for visiting!

  21. Great post and thanks for the tip about posting on forums – i already do that but stupidly didn’t use a signature!!!

    • TJ McDowell says:

      Yea, that’s a big one. Most forums will apply your signature to all your previous posts, so you’ll get links added to all the places you previously commented.

  22. SEO is far too complex for me but this post has helped to shed some light on what is a vast and difficult process to manage. I appreciate it greatly and just wanted to say thank you very much! :)