If you’ve ever heard of search engine optimization, your brain has probably been filled with dump trucks full of tips and tricks and technical lingo. While a lot can factor into ranking on Google, most resources really overcomplicate the subject.
Google’s number 1 goal is to deliver their searcher the most helpful, trusted, relevant search results. What we aim to do with SEO is convince Google that the result is our website.
Today, we’re going to go back to basics—the most important things to focus on to build the trustworthiness and authority of your website over time.
If you want to improve your Google ranking over the next few months and years of your wedding business, here are the three things you need to focus on.
1. Optimize Your Home Page
This one is fun because it’s a one and done process—optimizing your home page for your most important keyword phrase.
You can go through this edit once, and it is done unless you redesign your website or change your home page.
The first thing you need to do is determine your most important keyword phrase. You know that phrase you’re always Googling to see where you show up in the results? That’s the one.
For most wedding vendors, this is their city or area plus the type of business they are in.
- Richmond wedding photographer
- Houston wedding planner
- New Hampshire wedding venue
- Barn wedding venue near Boston
Once you’ve picked one phrase (just one), you need to add it to your home page in a few key areas. This is what I mean by “optimizing.”
Here’s where to use your keyword phrase:
- Your home page meta title and description (if you’re not sure how to edit this, Google “how to edit meta title on [your website platform]”)
- In a heading on your home page
- Within the actual text on your home page
- In the alt text of your headshot on your home page (if you have it there)
Following this step will clearly communicate to Google what your website is about, and it will likely help you rank higher on Google for this keyword.
2. Add New Content to Your Website Regularly
This is your ongoing task to simply improve your website’s SEO: regularly add helpful, interesting content to your website.
For most wedding businesses, this means maintaining an active blog, where you post at least monthly. For an added bonus, you can also update and add to your portfolio at least quarterly.
There are a couple reasons for this—
Google prefers to show websites that are updated. Google doesn’t love sites that haven’t been changed in years. It’s hard to know if the content is out of date or the business is still in operation, so ranking priority may be given to sites that are more active.
More content means more keywords and more traffic. If you want to bring in more traffic to your site, it helps to have more pages and posts that can rank in search results. Every time you write a new post, you are using new keywords that your site could be ranked for (even without targeting certain keywords on purpose).
Blog posts create more social sharing. Every one of my clients experiences a traffic spike when they write a new blog post and share it on social media. This increased exposure is good for your SEO too, because most SEO experts agree that social media likes and shares are positive for search engine rankings. Plus, a social share could lead to a new backlink to your site, which is hugely influential for SEO (more on that coming up).
3. Gain Links Back to Your Site
The number (and quality) of links to a website is one of the absolute most important factors to Google when deciding which sites to rank first. I’m talking about links from other websites to yours.
Google figures that if other websites are willing to link to you and send their visitors to your site, it must be good and trustworthy. That’s why is is critical to always be working for new, high-quality links to your site.
Here are a few ideas for getting more links:
Share photos with other vendors for their blog posts. After a wedding or styled shoot is over, help provide photos (with the photographer’s permission) to other vendors who participated. Request that you are credited with a link to your website if they blog about the wedding or shoot on their site.
Take advantage of free listings. Sign up for websites that list wedding vendors in your category, like wedding websites or local business directories.
Get published. Use Two Bright Lights to submit your work for publication. Many wedding publications and blogs provide a high-quality link back to your website in any feature. Aim to be published on a variety of blogs and sites (including both national and regional/local publications) to get a greater number of unique links.
And that’s it! Don’t be scared of SEO: keep it simple. Clearly use your most important keyword on your home page. Blog at least monthly. Keep working for links back to your website. Over time, these steps are what will help your site continue to rise in the rankings.
Sara Dunn is a wedding SEO consultant at SaraDoesSEO.com, helping wedding planners, photographers, venues, florists, and more reach rockstar status on Google.
Images Courtesy of: Starling Studio.