5 ways to fail or nail SEO in 2018
If you’ve set up a wedding website for your wedding business, you’re in the SEO game.
And with the search landscape guaranteed to become more competitive throughout 2018 you need to make sure that you aren’t ruining your chances of ever ranking well; regardless of how much time and effort you want to spend on developing your website ranking right now.
Ensuring that brides and grooms can actually find you is pretty darn important and being able to rank highly without having to pay for the privilege is an art. However it’s a logical and systematic art form that is actually pretty easy to nail – if you know the basics. Here are some simple things you can do – or not do – to improve your chances of becoming a major player in the SEO sphere and to reduce your chances of sabotaging your wedding business (eek)…
1. Choose your keywords wisely
There’s a place for broad keyword phrases but your main focus in 2018 has to be local keywords.
Broad keywords are classed as general words or phrases, such as “weddings” or “wedding venue”, and they’re highly competitive. Yes, it’s good to include these generic phrases in body content but you should set your primary keyword phrase for each page as something specific and where possible, local.
An example of local keywords could be: “wedding venue Ware, Hertfordshire”. This local term should be set as your H1 or H2 (depending on how your website is tiered). These are the first and second headings on the page you’re choosing to edit and they will signal to crawlers what your page is about and the specific keywords that relate to your topic.
People are more search savvy than ever before and they’ll type highly specific requests into Google and other search engines. Think about it; when do you ever search for the phrase “restaurants”. You’d have a job sifting through your options unless you searched for “restaurants near me” or “restaurants in Soho, London”.
Head to this previous Bridebook article for tips on developing a local SEO strategy.
2. Meta data matters
Meta data is the ‘language of search engines’ and it’s what Google-bots will read to find out what your pages and posts are about.
Meta data is essentially just keyword phrases and words describing the contents of each page on your website, and each page should have its own unique title tags, meta tags and page description.
Your images rank alongside your content so you also have to make sure that you include Alt tags so that images are fully optimised.
If you’re using a content management system like WordPress, you’ll have access to this information and will be able to formulate and input your own tags and descriptions. However if you’ve created your website via a developer using a custom built CMS, you’ll need to contact them to request unique meta data on each of your website pages.
3. Anchor text ensures that internal links don’t drift from the core topic
One of the easiest ways to improve your SEO is to use anchor text wisely.
Links to other pages on your website or external pages should be optimised so that Google knows why they’re being referred to another source. Inconsistencies in subject matter and links that don’t flow between relatable topics signal to Google that there’s dodgy link business happening on your website.For example, we might choose to send our readers to a related SEO post, so I’d include an anchor text link in this phrase: find out more about the latest SEO techniques for wedding pro’s in an earlier Bridebook post.
We’ve told Google and our readers what the page is about before we’ve sent anyone anywhere.
Top tip: broken links harm SEO efforts. Regularly check all site links to make sure you’re not harming your website ranking over something so easily solvable.
4. Don’t run before your website is crawled
In order for Google to rank your website in the search engines or update your ranking after you make improvements, Google bots need to “crawl” your website. In simple terms, they need to find and scan your content before they can index it (or add it into search) so that it can be discovered by potential clients.
To ensure that your website is regularly crawled, check that you’ve created a sitemap and that your sitemap is submitted to Google Webmaster Tools.
By default, every WordPress post and page is indexed so once again, you’ll only have to request the above are completed manually if you’re not using WordPress CMS.
5. Keep up the (good) content
So you already know the importance of website content. Not just any content but regular, informative, keyword rich and user friendly content.
It’s getting competitive out there in the big wide world of wedding websites but you can still make a big impact on your sector by leading the way with rich content.
Boring, badly written content is picked up by Google bots and they can detect spelling mistakes, bad grammar and poor syntax which is bad news for your website and will harm rankings.
Approach wedding website SEO improvements with determination (but patience) this year
SEO is a long term (in fact, lifelong) strategy and you won’t experience instant results; even if you made every possible positive change today.
Sure, you’ll see some results quickly but others may take months or even years – quite simply because we’re all dependent on search engines and the process of crawling, indexing and ranking.
Are you interested in finding out more about the advanced SEO predictions of 2018?
Whether you’re an SEO expert, are brand new to the search engine game or would rate yourself somewhere in the middle, you should know that Moz is a fantastic reference site.
And Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin has a new year tradition which is to predict SEO trends for the coming year. And he’s more often than not correct (or at least not entirely wrong) with his predictions which is no mean feat in the unpredictable landscape that is search engine optimisation.
We’re going to leave the more enthusiastic SEO-ers with 9 Predictions for SEO in 2018.