By: Kathy DalPra, Bride Appeal
Some SEO experts believe there may be upwards of 200 factors that Google uses to determine how to rank websites in its search results pages. Overwhelming, I know. As someone who helps small businesses with their wedding seo, I realize you don’t have time for all that.
So here’s the good news:
You don’t need to master all 200 factors to jumpstart your SEO this year.
In fact, based on research conducted by some of the top Internet marketing institutions online, like SearchMetrics and SEO Powersuite, below are some of the top factors that will affect rankings in 2017, and if you can just focus on these 5 action steps this year, you’ll be well on your way.
Create Content: If you care about search engine rankings and traffic, then you must care about content because that is precisely what search engines rank.
Think about it: When you search for something in Google, what shows up?
Images, videos, articles…content! Content is what search engines are delivering to its users when they type in a search query. Right now, content is the currency of the web right. The more content and higher quality content you have, the better your chances for appearing in search engine rankings. Content is the only way search engines know what your website is about and which topics your website addresses.
So if you want to stay current in 2017, you need to make content a part of your regular marketing habits.
- If you dread writing, record simple videos.
- If you’re terrified of the camera, leverage photography image SEO.
- If you don’t have many photos, put your ideas into words.
Pick your poison and become your own special brand of content creator! The more content you have on your expert topic (event planning, wedding flowers etc.), the quicker search engines will start ranking you for your desired keyword phrases.
How to Get Started: Take about 1 hour to brainstorm 12 topics related to your expertise that couples may also search for. Visit popular wedding forums to get ideas of questions brides ask and challenges couples have related to your specialty. Use that list to plan 2 blog posts per month for the next 6 months.
Go Mobile: At this point, mobile search isn’t a trend, it’s a part of everyday life.
And Google is taking serious action to ensure that the mobile search experience is as pleasant as the desktop one. It’s even started promoting its own unique form of mobile website coding! If you don’t want to lose 30-50% of your search engine traffic, then your website must be mobile-friendly. Not just because that’s what your visitors want, but also because that’s what search engines expect. If your site is not mobile-friendly, search engines will avoid ranking it in mobile search results pages.
How to Get Started: Work with your developer to make your website mobile responsive. You may not even need to redesign it. Here’s a helpful guide on mobile SEO for wedding pros.
Optimize Your Site: Yes, it’s the same classic SEO advice that’s been around pretty much since the start of search engines.
And it’s not going anywhere. Why? Because when you optimize your site you tell search engines how to rank you! Search engines look at your optimization to determine what your site is about and which search phrases your website is a good answer to.
In other words, search engines are matchmakers. Users type in what they’re looking for and search engines like Google and Bing find the best match. When you optimize your website, you tell the search engines precisely which topics you are a match for so they can show your website to users when it makes sense.
How to Get Started: Every single page, post and media on your website should be optimized. Here’s a simple wedding planner SEO guide that applies to any event professional. It outlines the optimization process so you know which steps to follow.
Improve User Experience: What the heck is user experience, you might be thinking?
Simply put, it’s how easy it is for visitors to use your website. And this matters to Google. If visitors leave your website right away, that’s a strong signal to Google that your site doesn’t offer much value and, thus, doesn’t deserve to be ranked very high. On the flip side, if visitors stay on your website for a long time, visiting multiple pages during their stay, it’s a positive signal that your user experience is enjoyable. So your goal is create a website that has a great experience for your visitors so that they want to stick around.
What creates a great user experience?
- Fast loading pages
- Easy, intuitive navigation to help visitors quickly find what they’re looking for
- Engaging content, like gorgeous images, informative articles and entertaining video
- Clean, simple design free of distractions
- Large fonts that are easy to read
- Typography elements that make webpages easier to digest in chunks
- Mobile-friendly design that looks great and works well on smaller screens
How to Get Started: Ask a handful of people to visit your website, both on desktop and from various mobile devices. Have them jot down their feedback about anything that was frustrating to use, difficult to understand or lacking in value. Use this feedback to start addressing your website’s overall experience one page at a time.
Promote Your Content: While I’d love to tell you that getting your website ranked in 2017 is simply a matter of posting great content, that’s just the beginning.
The fact is, search engines have a very tough job to figure out which content is the best among thousands of articles, videos and images that all cover the same subject matter. To tackle this challenge, they use other factors to help them figure this puzzle out, such as how well content is received by others online. For instance, if a certain blog post is shared frequently on social media, mentioned by other bloggers or linked to as a resource by other websites, it sends the message to search engines that this is a valuable piece of content. On the other hand, if no one is talking about a given article online via social media, website mentions and linking, it does not appear to be that valuable.
So...what’s that mean for you? If you want that awesome blog post you just spent two days creating to rank in search engines, you need to build some buzz around it.
How to Get Started: Spend twice as much time promoting your content as you do creating it. Build buzz by sharing on social media and tagging any vendors or parties mentioned in your piece. Contact peers and influencers who you think will have a direct interest in your content and let them know when it’s published so they can spread the word too.
Kathy DalPra takes the overwhelm out of SEO and sales so wedding businesses can turn more curious visitors into paying clients. Connect with Kathy at http://brideappeal.com.