» 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!