» Is Your SEO Up to Par for 2018?

This post was written by Mike Anderson, Associate Director of SEO at WeddingWire.

These days, most purchases start with a search.

Customers turn first to Google or Bing to find what they’re looking for, which means if you want to be found, a strong search engine presence is a must. In fact, 81% of people perform some kind of search before making a large purchase. (1)

But in order to land high in Google’s search engine results, you first have to make your website and content easy for Google and customers to understand.

As we kick off 2018, follow the steps below to make sure that your SEO is up to par to gain online visibility, increase your website traffic and ultimately, your sales.

Find relevant keywords to focus on

The first step in optimization is to figure out what keywords you want to rank for. To help find keywords, there are a number of free tools available such as Moz’s Keyword Explorer and the SERPs Keyword Research Database. If you have an account with Google AdWords, their Keyword Planner is a great option as well. Each of these tools allows you to find popular search queries and export keywords you like.

Tip: When conducting your keyword research, try to search for keywords as your customers would. If you were looking for a DJ in your town, what would you search for?

Optimize your website

Once you have a list of keywords, the next step is to incorporate them into your website. Try to be strategic. Make sure keywords are included in the following elements of your website:

  • Title tag – keep it to 50-60 characters and use your target keywords at the beginning. Treat it like a headline – your title tags should be compelling to your audience and include your brand name towards the end
  • Meta Description – these are limited to 160 characters, Make sure they give an accurate description of the page, include your target keyword(s), and are intriguing enough that users will want to click through
  • H1 – this is the heading of a page. It should be kept to about 20-30 characters, and describe the page’s topic. It will often be similar to your title tag, and likely be the title of a blog or article on the page, which means it should stand out and include the keyword that page is targeting. Use only one H1 tag per page.
  • H2s – these are your subheadings, which can be used to break up the content on a page. Don’t include your target keyword in every one, but try to use it once or twice.  

Tip: Try to optimize your homepage for 2 to 3 broad keywords and use sub pages to target more specific, service-related terms. Also, don’t forget to make sure your site is optimized for mobile use. More than half of all searches are done on mobile devices!

Make sure your content is unique and engaging

Once you have optimized your website, it is important to focus on your content. Content quality is widely regarded as one of the most important SEO signals, and speaks volumes about your website’s reputation. By posting quality photos, engaging articles, and useful resources, your clients will want to link to your website. Content freshness is also an important ranking factor, so remember to post new content every so often.

As you begin writing, keep in mind, content should be formatted in a way that keeps readers engaged.  Use short blocks of content to make it easily skimmable, and use a combination of bullet points and paragraphs. Remember to also include links where possible and natural, both to other pages on your site as well as to other relevant websites.

Tip: If you’re looking for article ideas, refer back to keyword research tools to see what things your clients are searching for. Or take a look at your competitor’s social media profiles to see what topics are most popular with similar audiences.  

Optimize your business profiles

While your website is an important asset, it’s critical to ensure that your business information and content is accurate and well represented on other sites as well. Make sure that your Google My Business listing is claimed and features accurate information. The same goes for local directories like Yelp, YP, Apple Maps. Also, if you have signed up for WeddingWire, make sure to add a thorough description of your business and high-quality photos.

As you are filling out your profiles, remember to fill in as much information as possible. The more you provide, the easier it will be for customers to find you. In addition to address and contact information, try adding a relevant category to your Google My Business profile, mention any areas your business specializes in or choosing a high quality profile photo to use in your listings.

Tip: To run a quick analysis of your local listings, try Moz Local, which offers a free scan and score.

Grow your social communities

In addition to your site and your online profiles, social media is also an important part of your online presence. Being active on social media can help grow your online audience, and more importantly, drive more leads. But it can also help your SEO. Studies have shown that social linking itself does not add much SEO benefit. But related signals – such as business reviews and links back to your site from bloggers – can make a big difference. Regular posting on social networks can also help you see what content resonates with your clients, giving you ideas on what other topics would be good to write about. The larger your audience becomes, the more likes, reviews and links you receive.  

Tip: Make sure you provide information about your business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites you appear on.  

Also, consider boosting some of your posts. Because business pages have limited organic reach, boosting will gain a significant amount of exposure and visibility. When choosing which posts to boost, remember to pick ones that promote your own content and are especially helpful to your audience. Also consider boosting anything designed to collect contact information, such as free downloads and giveaways.

Take it from Google

Google offers a number of resources to webmasters interested in bettering their sites and their search engine rankings. Their official webmaster guidelines is a great resource to learn about recommended best practices and discouraged activities. The company also has multiple spokespeople that answer community questions and give updates on changes to Google’s algorithm.

Tip: Check out Google’s webmaster guidelines to learn more about SEO best practices. Also, try following John Mueller (@JohnMu) on Twitter for the latest updates.

SEO isn’t always easy, but it is worth it.

So take the time to find the best keywords. Incorporate them properly and naturally into your site and content. Optimize your online presence with the correct information, and reach out to influencers in your industry.

Once you’ve done so, the pay-off will be a higher rank in search engines, more exposure, and more leads.  

Sources
(1) Retailing Today (2014)

» Handling SEO for Your Wedding Business

The wedding industry can be challenging, as wedding professionals need not only to be great at their chosen service category (officiating, wedding planning, etc.) but Pros also need to understand how to succeed in the world of business – and there’s a lot to consider!

When you commit to having an online presence for your wedding business, you’re accepting responsibility for a lot of additional considerations. Along with your WeddingWire Storefront, you need a business website with descriptive, fresh content as well as good search engine optimization (SEO). Strong, relevant SEO is what makes it easy for search engines to crawl your content, and your potential clients to find your business online! It’s a lot to take on, and it begs the question: should you hire an SEO expert or attempt to optimize your website yourself?

Handling SEO for Your Wedding BusinessIf you have some experience in SEO, take time to do the research to find out what keywords, meta tags and more would be relevant and help your business reach grow online. Google has some great tools and resources to help, such as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner.

As search engine marketing is a specialized area, it can be tempting to hire an outside SEO company to help you understand what you need and where to spend time and money making improvements. Unfortunately, there are questionable SEO firms out there looking to use black-hat tactics to boost your business’ SEO for a short period of time (until Google catches you). If you decide to hire an outside company, be sure to do the research and make sure they’re a reputable company who can truly help your business achieve success.

Regardless of your SEO experience, there is something you can easily do to help boost your SEO with your WeddingWire account!

The WeddingWire Search Engine Optimizer for Premium Pros helps you optimize your search engine results for your business so more couples can find you. Whether they’re searching the WeddingWire directory or just searching on Google and other top sites, this tool will help your business get relevant exposure to more potential clients.

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» How To: Create Your SEO Keyword Checklist

How To: Create Your SEO Keyword ChecklistWith recent changes to Google’s search algorithm and other search engine optimization (SEO) concerns, it can be hard to know what to do for your SEO efforts. While SEO is made up of several moving parts, including a link strategy, your URL structure and other factors, your use of keywords is one of the most pieces.

Here’s how you can create your own SEO keyword checklist to keep your business current and compliant with the latest SEO strategies!

Situation Analysis

  1. Analyze your current business website. What keywords are you using? Does your website use meta data (title tags, descriptions)? How much text do you have on your website and does that text use keywords associated with your business type? Answering these questions can help you determine how much work you need to do to be more transparent for search engines.
  2. Analyze your competitors’ websites. Go through your biggest known competitors’ websites to see the content and keywords they’re using. You can also search the keywords you feel best represent your business to see who is using them. Check out the websites for each of the first five search results to see how they incorporate these keywords.
  3. Develop your own desired keywords. What phrases would you use to describe your business? What phrases would your customers use to describe your business? This will help guide you to understanding how you’d like potential clients to search for your business and find it.

Keyword Research

  1. Use keyword research tools like Google AdWord’s Keyword Tool to shed some light on the popularity of the keywords you’re looking to use and how many times they’re searched monthly. These factors not only help you to identify keywords that others are using, but also to identify keywords that others are not using, leaving room for your use. Additionally, if you choose to do any form of search advertising in the future, you’ll know how costly those keywords would be.
  2. Now that you have a better understanding of what you’re currently doing in terms of SEO and where you can go in the future, it’s important to set your objectives before moving forward. What are you trying to measure by taking further action – website visits? Inquiries? Appointments? Bookings? Start recording these numbers before you start optimizing so you have a baseline and can see how your actions are affecting those objectives.

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» Turn Browsers into Customers

Whether you are getting a lot or a little traffic to your website or blog, the important thing is converting those online browsers into your customers. Here are some great tips to ensure your business captures more business:

  1. Get found by more brides. It is important first that you get potential customers to your site. To do so, invest in some advertising – even if it is just Google AdWords for your service category and location. This will boost your visibility and ranking for search engines. Also make sure you frequently update your content, whether its on your website or blog, it is important to stay up to date even if it is just adding images from recent weddings.
  2. Engage with the engaged. Give visitors a reason to get involved whether its with social media or a contest. User engagement is an important way for customers to feel involved and also spread the word about your business. Also make sure when you receive a comment or inquiry you respond quickly (within an hour is best!) Brides will be impressed with your responsiveness and are more likely to commit to your business if you catch them when they are thinking about it.
  3. Analyze this. Keep an eye on your website, blog, and social media analytics to know who your customer is and cater to them in the future. If you know the most popular time of day for brides to look at your website, you will know that is a good time add fresh content.

For additional ideas, read the full article from American Express OPENForum.

» Print Ads – Dead or Alive?

The New York Times recently asked the question, are people really still investing in print advertising? If so, is it just out of habit or are you really getting a return? In this article, a furniture store owner shares his experience with advertising in print versus online. With the invention of the internet and SEO, he notes “it was apparent that Google was far more efficient and effective” after spending much more to be featured in a print campaign than online and receiving marginal profits he no longer runs promotions in any print materials.

A major drawback to print advertising for the author was that the opportunity for repeat business is limited. Similar to the wedding industry, how many times is someone going to get married? Instead, he replaced the traditional print ad with a well designed website and start using Google Adwords, resulting in a “higher spend but much higher yield.” One major benefit of online advertising is the ability to target your customer more directly on a local basis.

While some have some note print ads still work for their business, typically nationally known brands (and those with a much higher advertising budget) perform better. It seems with the evolution of social media, it is best to invest your time and energy online while being sure to build and manage your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

What have you experienced? Do you think it differs for those in the wedding industry? Let us know your thoughts and experiences below!

» What Are AdWords & How Can They Work for You?

Per a recent discussion on the WeddingWire Pro Forum, we thought we would provide some background information and resources to get you started if you aren’t familiar with Google’s AdWords. Let us know about your experience and feel free to discuss or get advice from fellow Wedding Pros in the forum!

Simply put, Google AdWords are customizable advertisements you can purchase based on keywords related to your business. You have the flexibility of choosing your keywords, advertisement messaging, and budget. Unlike some tools where you may have a hard time tracking if it’s really working for your business, you can easily view and track your success (or lack thereof). As Google celebrates 10 years of this service, many companies have seen success with AdWords however your results will obviously vary based on the keywords and advertising campaign you choose.

You can’t expect to see leads to start flying in as soon as you turn these on though, you will need to play with what works and what doesn’t and devote some time and effort to be successful. Google tries to facilitate this with an AdWords Small Business Center which features discussion forums, a blog, and help center.

Nijiama from Le Fabuleux Events posted to the forum:

“I have been using adwords for about a year and it has become a main source of our inquiries. I think it is all about how much you are willing to spend each month (the more you spend the more your ads will show) and the key words that you use. I also pay close attention to the analytics to see what is working and what it is not working.”

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» Google Adwords and Anayltics

Interested in learning how Google Analytics and Google AdWords works? Here are three useful Google slideshows I found in a Mashable blog post this morning that you might find useful as you prepare your marketing plans for the New Year:

  • An Introduction to Google Analytics – A quick explanation of what Google Analytics is and how it works.


  • Google Analytics: Measuring Interactions – Demonstrates how Google Analytics measures website interactions (beyond pageviews).
Google Analytics

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: barcamppune bcp5)


  • Google AdWords- A demonstration of how Google AdWords works. It provides tips and suggestions too!