Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website and overall Internet marketing presence in order to enhance visibility and rankings at Google and other search engines. The goal of SEO is to get long-term top rankings on a Google search engine results page (SERP) for a given search.
When you rank well at Google, you will get more high-quality website traffic and better inquiries and, as a result, book more weddings.
I would argue that Google traffic is better quality traffic and more likely to turn into an inquiry and sale than traffic from WeddingWire or The Knot, where couples are often price shopping.
While there is a lot to a comprehensive SEO strategy, understanding and implementing the basics is a critical first step in the process. In my opinion, these basics make up about 90% of SEO.
Google ranks RELEVANCY. Google wants to show someone using their search engine the most relevant pages based on the search performed. This is one of the reasons people use Google – because it returns the best results.
In addition to other ranking variables, Google uses the words it finds at your website to determine this relevancy. Without these “keywords,” Google really has nothing to use to figure out what a page and website is about.
Put another way, if a competitor uses basic SEO and uses targeted keywords throughout their website, and you do not, they will always rank higher than you at Google. I talk to people in the wedding business all the time who tell me:
“That guy hasn’t been in business for 24 months, we’ve been in business 20 years and his website ALWAYS shows up above us at Google.”
Why does this happen? Because Google does not rank years in business or even company reputation – it ranks RELEVANCY to a search.
Without basic SEO in place at your website, there is very little chance your website will rank for more than your company name and most couples are not searching at Google for your company name. Sure, they might be, but if they do not know about you yet, then they are probably searching more broadly.
Here are some examples of how engaged couples typically search:
- best wedding venues in Northern New Jersey
- prices for wedding venues in Northern New Jersey
- live bands for Cape Cod weddings
- wedding dress cleaners in Long Beach
- wedding dress cleaners near me
There are dozens of ranking variables, but the three things Google will look for at your website first, to initially determine relevancy, are your: (1) page title tags, (2) description tags, and (3) page body content. Trust me, without these, you are not even in the game!
Page title tags and description tags are behind-the-scenes coding. Each page at your website should have a unique page title tag and unique description tag that include your targeted keywords. Body content refers to the words that people see and read when they visit your website. Google looks at and reads the same words – all of them! Your body content should contain some of the same targeted keywords used in your page title tag and description tags. When these things all match, you have given Google basic relevancy. When they do not match, Google does not have much to work with and this will negatively impact your page visibility and any rankings at Google.
There you have it, you understand BASIC search engine optimization!
- Create a list of targeted keyword phrases. Your list should have the keyword phrases brides and grooms are likely to be searching for. Remember geographical keywords!
- Check the page title tags and description tags for EACH PAGE at your website. Also, review your page content. Do they all contain the keywords that match what brides and grooms use when they search for your services in your geographical marketplace? Do they help to create the RELEVANCY that Google is looking for and will reward? To check this information, you will need to look at the PAGE SOURCE CODE of each page at your website. Here is a helpful resource: https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-to-read-source-code/
- Check the current rankings for your targeted keywords/phrases using the 14-day free trial at SerpBook. http://serpbook.com
Certainly, there is a lot more to SEO than what is discussed here. But this is an important fundamental step and the same thing an SEO consultant/expert would (or should) first review. I have optimized title tags, description tags, and page content at websites and moved them from page three to page one at Google in less than 45 days – multiple times.
Yes, there are search engines other than Google, but Google controls 70% of the search market. Additionally, based on my experience, if you optimize for Google you will also rank well at other search engines.