» How an Additional Domain Name May Give You the Competitive Edge

Pro to Pro Insights

Brian Lawrence, Sell the BrideThis post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.

When first developing a website and choosing a domain name, the vast majority of wedding professionals pick one that matches the name of their business. And, that’s pretty much the last thought on the matter.

Except, that domain should not be everything when it comes to building a fully functional, impressive, and effective online presence. You want to secure additional domains to give your business a distinct competitive advantage. 

It can be as simple as pointing the domain name to your current site like you would using a toll free number. The secondary domain will simply link to your main domain, but be available via search so you can reach a larger audience searching for those terms.

How an Additional Domain Name May Give You the Competitive EdgeHow it Works

Domains are a solid long-term investment. Their value increases over time, especially if you generate traffic with them. With the right additional domain name in place, you can strategically enhance your business success.

Moreover, it is virtually guaranteed that using these types of domains in marketing will benefit your business. Not only will your site get more frequent clicks, you’ll experience an increased response both online and/or in print.

Additional Domains = SEO Success

It’s become common knowledge that a wedding business cannot maximize the online visibility of their website without some real focus on SEO, aka Search Engine Optimization.

Additional domains, however, allow you to make the most of SEO, and incorporate into the actual name of your website. If done right, a secondary domain name will correspond with commonly searched terms. That means more people will find your business, even if they only did a keyword and/or location based search.

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» Let’s Get Analytical!

Top Business Tracking TipsWebinar Recap!

In late March, we held our monthly webinar for premium members, all about tracking your business analytics online! WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly hosted the webinar and shared his insights into the importance of analytics, and the best resources for business tracking online.

Analytics plays an important role in measuring your business’ success and online impact – but don’t let the numbers scare you! Check out the six key sources you should be measuring, below!

  • Traffic: The best way to track your business website traffic is through Google Analytics. Review your site’s basic metrics and overall page traffic as well as your key driving sources in one place with this tool.
  • SEO: A key to standing out in search is to use the best keywords for your business. Do a bit of research to determine interest in search terms using Google Trends to get started.

» Get Lucky with the LUCK SEO Framework

Get Lucky with the LUCK SEO FrameworkSearch engine optimization (SEO) seems to be the hot topic recently! We’ve had a lot of questions come through to our email, we’ve seen a lot of discussions in the Pro Forums and we’ve even had some social comments all surrounding SEO. It’s not hard to see why – with the abundance of websites on the Internet, it’s getting harder and harder to get noticed by potential couples.

There are a number of ways to break down how search engine optimization works, whether through infographics or step-by-step guides. We tend to favor a simple framework that is easy to remember and can be broken down piece-by-piece to make for easier understanding. So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, learn how you can get lucky with your search engine strategy by using the LUCK SEO framework!

Linking Strategy

Links are an important part of an SEO strategy because they show search engines the relationships between pages. Through links, search engines can analyze a variety of factors that affect your search ranking, including the popularity of your website based on the number of pages linking to your website and the popularity of those pages. Links to your site also build your website’s authority based on the notion that trustworthy sites are usually linked to other trustworthy sites rather than spam.

Both quantity and quality are important, but beware – the best links are relevant, direct and one-way. Don’t stuff your site with links, and avoid cheap website directories. Whenever linking to another trusted source, you should also consider the anchor text for the link; linking on a phrase that describes the link using the same keywords is more strategic than linking the words “click here.” Socially shared links also factor into link signals, so share your content on your social networks and encourage others to do so, too! All these features have an effect on your website’s search value.

URL Structure

The URL structure of your links provides the overall framework for your website. URLs describe your website or page to both visitors and search engines. Search engines read URLs to understand what the page is about as well as how relevant it is to certain keywords targeted on the page or website. The basic anatomy of a URL is composed of four main parts:

Parts of a URL structure

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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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» How SEO and Social Media Work Together

How SEO and Social Media Work TogetherSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complex process that involves many moving parts. Our Search Engine Optimizer helps you to optimize your Storefront for search engines by researching keywords and incorporating them into your website and Storefront, but that’s just part of the battle for top placement.

In recent years, Google has also gotten better at weeding out those websites that are chocked full of popular (unrelated) keywords or those that use plug-ins and other technologies in an attempt to trick Google into giving them higher placement. As a result, more legitimate businesses are gaining back their deserved SEO traction.

How does SEO work? Google’s algorithms take many elements into account when evaluating your website. Yes, keywords are important, but what many businesses might not realize is that social engagement is a key factor in how search engines determine your search placement!

As search engines like Google become more focused on fresh, quality content, they’ve begun to acknowledge that your brand’s website is not the only place where you have a presence online. Your business likely has a presence on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and now search engines are placing an increasing amount of importance on how your social conversations influence your brand.

Check out our suggestions below to determine how your brand can make SEO and social media work together!

Start conversations on your business’ Facebook page.

Stimulate engagement with your Facebook fans by posting interesting content often. You can ask questions, provide information or even just post information that is relevant to your brand, like photos from your last event or service. Think of your Facebook page as a community, where you interact with your fans. This will help you to start conversations with your audience and boost your online reputation.

Boost your Twitter activity.

Search engines are looking for your Twitter account’s activity, not just your number of tweets. Your tweets should be written in a way that encourages clicks, retweets, favorites and mentions. Search engines are looking for indications that your brand deserves a high ranking; other users interacting with your tweets shows that your brand has a lot of social clout.

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» How to Write Content for Better SEO

How to Write Content for Better SEO | WeddingWireEDU BlogWe’ve written a lot in the past about how important creating fresh content can be in helping you build brand awareness and improve your online exposure, and this trend is continuing to bring success to businesses. A blog is a great way to create a lot of content, but you should also consider what the content you’ve written on your website and Storefront says to your audience.

The right content can:

  • Build trust with your readers
  • Educate and inform your readers
  • Assist with conversions
  • Help manage customers and build loyalty

But did you also know that the right content can help you be found online? Search engines index and “read” thousands of web pages every day – if you’re not writing content that can easily be seen and categorized by a search engine, your business could get lost in the chaos.

The following considerations will help you make your website and blog content search engine-friendly!

1.  Define your target audience. While this post is about writing content that is good for search engines, it’s also more important to write content that serves a purpose for your audience. Who is your audience? What do they want to know? What do they need to make a decision? Answering these questions will help you write the most important things in the most effective way for your target audience.

2.  Conduct keyword research. You likely already have an idea of what keywords or phrases your potential customers type into search engines. Tools like Google’s Keyword Tool or HubSpot’s Keyword tool can recommend keyword suggestions based on the word or phrase you type in. These suggestions will either confirm your ideas or help you identify new words to target.

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» Google Hummingbird: What You Need to Know

Google Hummingbird: What You Need to KnowGoogle’s latest revamp of its search algorithm, Hummingbird, has been released. The new algorithm, which affects 90% of worldwide search results, makes search more relevant and useful, and easier to use on a mobile device.

With our increasing reliance on mobile devices, the way users search has changed. Those using Google on-the-go are often searching complex, long-tail search queries through voice search (think Apple’s Siri) instead of typing the full search. Voice-based queries are more complex because they use natural-language rather than keyword strings, and with this update Google is adjusting accordingly to better serve users.

With Hummingbird, Google will be doing more than finding relevant web pages – it will begin compiling information from several sources and displaying these results within Google. This helps searchers find answers faster, with fewer steps between query and answer. This change is significant because it implies that Google is now attempting to understand what you’re searching for and return the most relevant results for your specific query.

This new update is yet another indicator of the coming shift from desktop to mobile. With Microsoft predicting that mobile web will be bigger than desktop web by 2014, the time to go mobile is now!

We’ve talked about your options for going mobile in the past, but now it’s more important than ever that your business adapt to the evolving ways your audience finds you.

Here are some simple ways you can jump of the mobile bandwagon today:

  • Use our Mobile Website Creator to easily optimize your website for mobile devices (available to all premium members). You can even customize the look of your mobile site to match your branding! Read our Quick Start Guide for a step-by-step tutorial.
  • Keep the content on your website concise and actionable so visitors accessing it from a mobile device can easily scroll and take action.
  • Similarly, keep any website forms short and simple with easy-to-fill fields.
  • Feel free to use eye-catching images and/or video, but test out how they appear on smartphones and tablets to make sure they scale properly.

Follow these tips and Google Hummingbird will be able to find you and put you in front of the people who need you!

Image Source

» Facebook Update: Embedded Posts

Yesterday, Facebook announced that it will be rolling out Embedded Posts. This means that you will be able to click on a link in whatever you publish, get a code, and embed that content elsewhere on the web – just like you can already do with other popular social sites and apps such as YouTube, Twitter, Vine and Instagram.

According to Facebook, “Embedded Posts let people add public posts from Facebook to their blog or web site. When embedded, posts can include pictures, videos, hashtags and other content. People can also like and share the post directly from the embed.”

For example, the official British Monarchy Page published this post shortly after the royal baby was born. You can click the #RoyalBabyBoy hashtag directly from the embedded post to discover similar content on Facebook:

embed-post-FB

Currently this feature is not available to the majority of Facebook’s users and brand pages, but in the coming weeks, this feature will be expanded, and eventually available to all users.

This feature is another example of how Facebook is moving in the direction to act as a web resource and a search engine in functionality – connecting users with content they find engaging, relevant and useful. This new update goes along with other recent additions that are aiming to make Facebook’s content more accessible outside of your ‘Facebook friends’ and ‘likes,’ including Graph Search, hashtags and more.

Want to learn more about Facebook’s new announcement? Read this article from Facebook.

» SEO Success: Top Tips & What to Avoid

Building strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important for your business’ online exposure. To make the sometimes daunting topic of SEO easier to understand, we provide a variety of educational resources about this topic. Check our tips for how to establish a strong SEO presence in our Education Center and WeddingWireEDU blog, SEO basics and Pro tips in our Be an SEO Superstar webinar, an infographic that provides 6 steps for SEO Success, and finally, get started with our tool to create stronger SEO for your business in minutes with our WeddingWire Search Engine Optimizer.

We know that SEO can sometimes be hard to grasp, and that there is so much information available about SEO it may be difficult to know what you should, and should not, be doing for your business. This recent article from Entrepreneur provides valuable insights on SEO strategies that can hurt your business, so you can focus on what will help, provided in our resources listed above!

According to the article, find below 5 common SEO practices you should avoid:

  • Buying links from websites created to sell links: Oftentimes, if you invest your dollars into a site dedicated only to sales and buying website links, they will not share your links on relevant sites that would value your content and actually reach your target audiences. Google may even de-index your site through affiliation of these sites and services.
  • Publishing irrelevant content: When publishing content for your business on your website, Storefront, blog, social media and more, it is important that it is relevant for your audience! Write, share and provide content that is helpful and engaging for your clients, potential clients and industry. Google places a high value on the user experience and rewards your site for doing so. The more irrelevant content (and includes things such as pop up ads for unrelated items) will ultimately hurt your SEO over time.
  • Spam comments: No one likes spam, yet some business owners decide to pay services to spam sites around the internet with comments that include a link back to their website. These can often be posted on blogs or similar platforms, and provide a negative user experience for those who click. Overall, your brand can be damaged when customers or potential customers see those links associated with spammy, poorly written comments. Additionally, it is important to remember you are representing your business when you post or comment at any time, so be sure to be professional, insightful and covey your business in a positive light.
  • Overloading on anchor text links: An anchor text link is a specific keyword or phrase in the text on your site that is hyperlinking to a website URL (for example: if you are a photographer it could be “wedding photography”).  Be sure to select relevant and the most important links for your business, not just any link that may represent your business. Always opt for quality over quantity. We make this super easy and do the work for you with the Search Engine Optimizer tool!

Search Engine Optimization across top search networks is very important for your business, and we hope these tips and resources will help establish strong and reliable SEO!

» Facebook Graph Search

Facebook introduced Graph Search this week, a new way to navigate your connections on the leading social network. This introduction was met by much buzz in the technology industry—as Graph Search potentially has a huge impact on the future of personalized search!

So, what is Facebook Graph Search? Graph Search is new way to navigate the more than a billion people, more than 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections on the world’s largest social network – Facebook.

Here’s how it works:
Graph Search appears at the top of each Facebook page. A Facebook user can then enter a search query such as, “my friends in Washington, DC” or “my friends who are engaged,” and the results reveal friends who have shared this information, which can then be edited and re-named to save for future reference.

Currently, Graph Search focuses on four key areas: people, photos, places, and interests. According to Facebook, the results of a search depend on a number of factors, including information shared by a brand and a person’s connections with a brand. That means your brand page’s content could appear in a person’s Graph Search results, so it is another reason to keep your business page updated and fresh with content and images daily!

Interested in learning more? Click here for more information on this new tool, including a video explaining Graph Search and how it can be used.

Graph Search is currently available in a limited preview, also known as beta. Want access? Sign up to be on the waitlist by selecting the “join waiting list” button at the bottom of the page.

Check back soon for more Facebook Graph Search updates!