wedding-search-engine-optimization

Sound familiar?

Believe me, I get.

I’ve worked with tons of wedding pros over the past 8 years, and in that time I’ve realized the #1 reason most wedding business owners haven’t invested in SEO services is because they simply can’t afford it.

Maybe you’ve just launched your brand new bridal business (yay!) and haven’t yet found your first client. Or, maybe you’ve recently invested in other areas of your business that has temporarily tied up funds for the next few months. A very common scenario among most wedding pros I know. Thankfully there are still lots of things you can do to improve your website SEO that won’t cost a cent.

Today I’m sharing a list of 21 free things you can do yourself to help strengthen your website SEO and build a foundation for better rankings.

All these SEO tips are 100% free to do. Let’s get started!

1. Install Google Analytics

OK, this one is a no-brainer. Google Analytics is a free service from Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Installing it is easy and once you do, you’ll unlock a wealth of information that you can use to help optimize your website. Below are just a few things you can find out:

• How many people visit my website?
• Which keywords are driving traffic?
• What websites send traffic to my website?
• Which pages on my website are the most popular?
• How many visitors have I converted into leads or customers?
• Where did my converting visitors come from and go on my website?
• What blog content do my visitors like the most?

Need help setting up Google Analytics for your website?
Check out this beginner article from Moz for a step-by-step walkthrough.

2. Optimize Your Top 3 Most Popular Articles

An effective way to increase the traffic to your website is to make your most popular pages more popular. Using data from your Google Analytics account, you can identify the top visited pages on your website and make a few tweaks to make them more search engine friendly. Check out which keywords are driving traffic and possibly edit the existing content on the page to add more keyword focus. There’s a lot that you can do with Google Analytics data, so keep your eyes open for a future blog post that covers this in more detail.

Oh, and if you’re not exactly getting great traffic to your website, you might want to start here.

3. Check Your Website for Broken Links

Having broken links on your website is bad for your visitors and bad for SEO. Use a tool like Online Broken Link Checker to run a free website crawl and uncover links that are no longer working correctly and should be fixed. I recommend doing this at least twice a year.

4. Add Internal Links

An internal link connects one page of a website to a different page on the same website.

When someone visits your website, you want to do your best to keep them engaged. One way to do that is by adding internal links to other pages or content on your website that could be of interest to them. Not only does this improve the user experience for website visitors, it also helps Google and other search engines understand your website better and crawl it more efficiently. Here’s a quick overview on getting started.

5. Blog More Often

Having an active blog gives you a direct communication channel with your audience that builds confidence, relationships and sales. It also gives you an opportunity to grow your brand’s personality and voice to position yourself as a subject area expert.

If that’s not enough to get you blogging, keep this in mind: Search engines reward websites that consistently provide valuable blog content.

I recommend creating an editorial calendar to make the entire blogging process easier and more enjoyable:

Every post you publish is a long-term asset that helps build brand awareness and promotes your expertise, products or services.

6. Inspect Your Existing Backlinks

A backlink is a link one website gets from another website.

The more authoritative backlinks your website has, the better your chances of ranking well in Google. Run your website URL through Majestic to see your current backlinks and confirm you have a solid foundation to compete for your target keywords.

7. Install Free WordPress Plugins

If your wedding website is built on WordPress, you can take advantage of some free plugins that will help optimize your website and strengthen your SEO. Here’s a few you might want to consider:

WordPress SEO by Yoast
JetPack by WordPress
W3 Total Cache
Google Analytics
Wordfence Security
Google XML Sitemaps

8. Check Your Page Title Lengths

The maximum length a page title should be is 155 characters. Any titles longer than that risk the chance of being truncated in Google search results, which could affect your website’s click through rate. Here’s an example of how that would look.

The Yoast SEO plugin has a nifty snippet preview tool that will let you see how your page title would look if it were live and published.

9. Pre-schedule Your Social Media

Automating your social media activity is a smart way to consistently engage with your target audience while strengthening your overall SEO foundation. Hootsuite and Buffer are two of my favorite tools for taking control of social media.

10. Create a Short Video

YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. Take advantage of this trend by creating short how-to videos that showcase your expertise to this growing mobile audience. Videos are also a great way to add some rich media content to your website. Check out this great video SEO tutorial from Backlinko.

11. Add Social Share Buttons

If you don’t already have social share buttons on your website, head on over to AddThis for a free set that you can add to any page of your website.

Social media is an extremely valuable tool for promoting your blog and brand.
More info can be found here: 4 Effective Ways to Boost Traffic by Adding Social Share Buttons

12. Perform a Quick Competitor Audit

Run competitor websites through an online tool like BuzzSumo to see their best content and what has been shared the most on social media networks. Use this newly gathered info to begin crafting similar blog posts that are more in-depth, more informative and more valuable to wedding planning couples.

This is called a 10x content strategy.

13. Check Your Site Speed

Having a fast website in 2016 is crucial for organic SEO rankings. Visit Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see recommendations directly from Google for optimizing and increasing your site speed.

If you’re looking for a more technical and comprehensive analysis head on over to GTMetrix.

14. Set Up Google Alerts

Many of today’s wedding business owners are utilizing Google Alerts (free) to enhance their SEO strategies. I’ve used them for years and highly recommend each of our clients set them up for monitoring reputation management. Most commonly, Google Alerts allow you to:

• Track what people are saying about you.
• Track what people are saying about your competitors.
• Track what people say about the specific service you provide.
• Track if other bloggers begin creating content about your subject of expertise.

Get started with Google Alerts here.

15. Optimize Your Homepage

The most important page on your website is probably your homepage, so it definitely makes sense that it should be well-optimized and polished as possible for SEO. This blog post 9 ways you can improve your homepage will give you a great foundation for improving this very important webpage.

16. Make Sure You Are Targeting the Right Keywords

The secret of great SEO is knowing the proper set of keywords you should be going after.

I created a short video that goes into detail on choosing the right wedding keywords and how to get start ranking for those. The video is only 6 minutes long and can truly change your entire online strategy for the better.

17. Check Your Domain Expiration

When does your domain name expire? Did you register it for 1 or 2 years? Thankfully it’s easy to use an online service like Who.is to see your domain registration information and renew if needed. The last thing you want is to lose your domain because you forgot to renew it!

18. Check for Duplicate Content

Copyscape is a free service that lets you easily identify sites that have copied your content without permission, which could cause duplicate content issues for your SEO. In a matter of seconds, Copyscape will scan the web for instances of your content, and if they find anything, you will alert you and show you the offending URL. I recommend scanning your website on a quarterly basis.

It’s also useful for finding those who are quoting your site, but might not be linking back.

19. Sign up for Google My Business

When people search for your business online, does your phone number show up? Is the right address and website listed? Does is show your correct business hours? Control how you appear on Google Search and Google Maps — for free. Really.

Get your free business listing from Google My Business and join millions of other business owners who are verified and showing up in organic listings.

20. Optimize Your Images

Optimizing your images is THE no.1 way of reducing your site’s loading times, and thus making the experience smoother for your visitors, as well as Google. Some of the basic things to do would be:

• Use a relevant image that matches your text
• Pick the right file name for your image
• Make sure image dimension match the image size as displayed
• Reduce file size for faster loading
• Use an image alt text, title text is optional
• Add OpenGraph and Twitter Card tags for the image
• Use images in your XML sitemaps

These are just a few simple things you can do to help optimize all the images on your website. There are also a few popular WordPress plugins that makes this process automated and easy:

WP Smush Image Optimizer
EWWW Image Optimizer
Imsanity
SEO Friendly Images
Short Pixel Image Optimizer

21. Gain More Backlinks

There are lots of great SEO articles that go into detail how to earn more wedding backlinks to your website, so I’ll instead share one of my favorites strategies that I often recommend to clients :

Guest Blogging – Bloggers need good content. By being a good guest blogger and adding value to someone else’s blog, you’re going to build relationships with other bloggers in the wedding industry. Start by reaching out to other wedding business pros and ask if they accept guest blog posts. Keep in mind that when looking for places to guest post, your main goal is to find sites relevant to the wedding industry. You might be surprised just how many people take you up on your offer.

You are looking for blogs that fit the following criteria:

• Their content is mostly focused on the wedding niche.
• The audience of the blog will be interested in your products/services.
• The blog has engaged readership that regularly shares on social channels or provides comments.
• The blog owner is active on social media (so you know that they will be promoting your work on their site).

Every time you do a guest post, you’re given a little space in the post for a biography, with a link (as well as a few in-post links) that can direct readers back to your company website. Take advantage of this by linking back to other relevant articles on your website that your new audience would find helpful and useful.

For instance, if you are a wedding planner who just created a guest blog post on a DIY wedding blog, consider using your biography link to direct visitors to DIY tutorials or videos you currently have on your website. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

In Summary

Whew – that’s a lot of info! If you’ve read this far down the page, you are obviously serious about improving your wedding SEO and willing to do whatever is needed to make that happen. Having a business website that ranks well in Google should be a priority since a majority of today’s brides & grooms are using the internet to find their wedding vendors and bridal services.

Your website is the first point of contact with your wedding audience online. It can generate leads, qualify prospects and attract potential new customers, partners or investors. But unless people can find it, your website is not doing its intended job. SEO plays an invaluable role here and that’s why I feel it is important that all wedding business owners aim to strengthen their website SEO, even if they cannot currently afford to invest in professional services. Hopefully you’ve found this post helpful.

Good luck and get started!

author

Rudy