This post was written by Kathy DalPra. Kathy is the owner of Bride Appeal. She takes the overwhelm out of SEO, sales and website conversion so wedding businesses can turn more curious visitors into high paying clients. Kathy’s strategies began to develop during her time as bridalpreneur when she took a struggling website to the top of Google; gaining targeted traffic, press mentions and celebrity customers along the way. Today Kathy shares her methods with other event professionals at brideappeal.com.
You can snatch up more rankings and get your brand in front of more prospects by investing just 5 minutes a day.
In this article, I’ll show you how to do so even if you’re not a technical SEO jedi.
Every week I hear from wedding and event professionals who are putting off their wedding SEO altogether because they think they have to ‘get it perfect’ before it will work.
Listen, even my SEO is not perfect and yet Google is my #1 source of traffic.
There are hundreds of SEO strategies we can employ in our business, but we only need to start with a few simple ones to reap the rewards.
So why not begin with an activity you’re already doing? Social media networking!
By simply leveraging the social media accounts you’re already toying around with each week, you can get your company more visibility in both search engines and within the social networks themselves.
All you need to do is view your social activity like an SEO strategy and invest 5 minutes a day.
So let’s dive into Part 1…
1. Dominate Google with Your Social Profiles
A few years back a wedding photographer called me in a panic because competitors who shared her business name in the same geographical area were outranking her in the search engines.
She was losing business left and right to fresh prospects who recently heard of her, but were landing on someone else’s website!
She might not have had that problem at all if she knew how to dominate Google’s first page for her brand name.
Kind of like this…
Yes, your social media accounts can rank in search engines too.
When people search for your company name, personal name or even your profession on a local level, they can stumble on one of your social media profiles, not just your website.
This is particularly true if your profile contains the keywords the searcher typed into the search engine, like this (although it’s much harder to rank for these terms than for your brand name)…
This is a huge advantage to you because it means you can rank both your website and your social profiles, giving you even more Page 1 real estate to lock up!
Some social platforms, like WeddingWire, go above and beyond by giving you built-in SEO tools to maximize your account’s Google friendliness and get your profile ranked faster.
If you really want Google (or Bing or Yahoo to rank your social profiles very high for your brand name or other targeted terms, then they can’t be lacking information or activity, which brings us to action step #1.
ACTION: Complete Your Social Profiles
5 minutes daily for 1-2 weeks
Take 5 minutes daily to go back into all of your social profiles and beef them up, one profile per day until you’ve updated them all.
- Make sure your company name is listed correctly.
- Add your website address so search engines know which website domain to associate with your profile.
- Add the keywords you want to rank for in your bio or description area and mention the types of services or products you offer in plain English. For instance, if you’re a wedding DJ in Salt Lake City, enter that.
- If you’re locally-based, add your correct formal business address and phone number. If you have no physical location for your business, at least state your city and state/region. If the social network offers a specific field for location, add it there too.
2. Leverage Google+
In the wedding market, it’s true that WeddingWire, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook get most of the love from couples.
But when it comes to ranking your brand in search engines, there’s another social platform flying under the radar that can influence your visibility even more than some of the most popular social networks today: Google+.
Every time a bride, groom, mother, father, wife, son etc. is logged into their Google account (such as their Gmail account) and searching on Google.com, their Google+ connections may influence any content they see in the search results.
“But wait, brides and grooms aren’t using Google+”, you may be thinking.
It doesn’t seem to matter.
Based on what I’ve observed in real search behavior, if someone has a Gmail email account (and there are an estimated 500+ million Gmail accounts, so the likelihood that your audience is using Gmail is very high)… they can see Google+ posts from people who they have emailed with before…even if they are not connected to each other on Google+!
Let me show you what I mean.
Here is someone I’m connected with on Google+. You’ll see that when I search for her, it shows that she is in 2 of my “circles” below her name. That means we’re connected.
However, I am not connected with my photography client Bernadette Pollard on Google+ (well, now that I see this I will probably go add her to my circles).
Notice that when I search for her on Google+ it shows her name but does not list that she is in any of my circles; that means we’re not connected.
Nonetheless, as you can see from the screenshot below, when I search for terms that my client Bernadette has posted about on Google+, her posts do show up in my search results when I’m logged into Google:
My best guess why? Because we are connected via Gmail.
As you can see from the below screenshot, we’ve emailed each other before.
So even though my client and I weren’t connected on Google+, I may still wind up seeing her Google+ posts in the search results of Google when I’m logged into my Google accounts because we emailed each other through Gmail.
This is powerful stuff.
Google wants to show content that it thinks you’ll prefer based on who you are connected to online via social media, email and any other source it can analyze.
And many in the SEO space believe that Google+ was created to help Google accomplish this goal. Naturally, it’s a lot easier to find out people’s preferences and connections if you own the social network they use.
However, based on what I’ve been seeing, even those who don’t use Google+ will see Google+ posts in their search results.
That’s why it’s a social platform you don’t want to ignore.
Because Google actually owns this platform, it has permission to display posts from Google+. However, from one year to the next, it may or may not have permission to display posts from other networks it doesn’t own.
And since Google.com is still the most widely used search engine by a landslide, utilizing Google+…even a little…gives you an SEO edge over others who are ignoring it completely.
And since you can do this in just 5 minutes a day, there’s no reason to put it off, right?
ACTION STEP: Get Active on Google+
5 minutes for 1 day
- Create your Google+ profile
- Add Google+ to your weekly social media routine (I’ll provide one a bit later)
3. It’s All About Who You Know
It’s no secret that having success on social media sites requires that you actually be social, right? Common sense.
But networking with all the right people doesn’t just impact what happens for you within the social networks themselves; it can influence your rankings too.
While it’s totally possible to leverage social media to rank your own website in Google, Yahoo and Bing, it’s not just going to happen magically when you join a social platform.
The search engines have publicly admitted that they care about your ‘authority’ as a social user. Your authority could refer to who you associate with, how popular your posts are and even the quantity and quality of the reviews you receive.
For example, when asked about Twitter, here’s what Bing had to say:
“We do look at the social authority of a user. We look at how many people you follow, how many follow you, and this can add a little weight to a listing in regular search results.”
In other words, your network on Twitter may actually tell Bing how important or reputable you are and, by extension, how important your website is.
Which, in turn, may give your website a bit of a hike in the rankings.
Although Bing was referring to Twitter, this may extend to other social networks too. The strength of your presence on social media may influence the rankings of your website, blog posts, social profiles and even your social media posts.
For instance, take a look at this Pinterest board created by a humble homemaker blogger that outranked several popular wedding blogs on the first page of Google:
This is particular Pinterest board has over 76,000 followers:
It’s entirely possible that this board is getting great positioning in Google because of its vast numbers of followers.
But there are other social factors that might tip off the search engines as to your authority on your particular topic or service:
- Are you referenced by the press on social media?
- Do successful brands and personalities follow you?
- Who shares your posts?
- How often are your posts/pins etc. shared?
So, for instance, if you’re being followed by an industry leader, such as Preston Bailey, it may carry some serious weight for your Pinterest profile and the website attached to that profile; presumably your business website.
Preston is a known personality in the event space and a dominant presence online. He has nearly 10,000 followers, but is only following 50 users himself on Pinterest:
Which means that Lauren, a professional makeup artist, may benefit tremendously from being one of those exclusive 50 pinners he’s following; even though she has less than 1000 followers herself.
And Bing isn’t the only search engine paying attention to who knows who.
“Yes we do compute and use author quality. We don’t know who anyone is in real life :-)”
Which means, the higher quality your network is on social media, the higher chance your content has of showing up in search engines for prospects.
ACTION STEP: Strengthen Your Network
PART 3A: Grow Your Network
5 minutes one day per week
- Identify 2-5 clients, colleagues, industry leaders, associations and/or media (wedding magazines & blogs) whose association may further enhance your circle of influence and overall authority. Consider organizations and publications that you donate to, have been featured in, advertise with, are a member of, have worked alongside or exhibit with.
- Connect with each of them on all your social networks in one sitting to be more efficient and save time.
- Each time you add someone to your network, share and/or comment on one of their recent posts.
PART 3B: Engage With Your Network
4 minutes three days per week (the 5th minute will be reserved for our next strategy)
- Then, three days per week, share and/or comment on the posts of 1-3 other folks you have followed in the past on all the networks in which you’re connected with them to continue to stay front of mind with them.
Be sure to check out my Part 2 for further tips on adding SEO power to your backlinks and optimizing your social presence with hashtags!