What role do a website have?
A websites role isn't always to rank highest in google search
I made a website for a client a few years back where the initial assignment was to make it easier for the visitor to find information, make the site score higher in google search and make it look better.
This was fine for me and I agreed that it was needed. I made a plan, changes the whole layout of the site, made sure the SEO was good and the wording of the site matched with what people would google.
Now a few years later we can see the result of that work. On some things the site scores good in search, but in other its to much competition to score high. Bigger sites with more traffic is doing better. The clients is also not a big fan of writing too much information on each product, that makes it harder.
The new role of the website
But lately the site has gotten a new role. After the client got used to the new site, they themself started using it more and more. And now they use it as a sales tool. It's so much easier for them to navigate and the information on the site is all they need. They are also proud to show the site to their clients.
The website is now a portfolio that lives up to the expectation of the rumors that surround their company.
My own portfolio
I'm a photographer as well and Im not alone. I live in the capital of Norway, Oslo and there are hundreds of photographers with their own websites and blogs. And there is also many portrait studios that do wedding and family portrait. They have a lot more visitors and activity then the normal freelance photographer. That makes google love them more.
So for me is word of mouth. And my website is my portfolio. They hear about me and to confirm that I'm the man for the job they check my website. If I would base the quality of my site on how many clients who book me through my site, I would not have had a site.
So if you can't update your site often enough or don't have a unique product or the competition for the search words are to high. Make sure you do a great job, delivers a amazing product and build you brand. And the clients will find you anyway.