There’s no denying the appeal of a beautiful website in an aesthetic-driven industry. Elegant fonts, striking imagery, and pretty colors can certainly influence a visitor’s experience, but that can only happen if your website draws in qualified traffic. Otherwise, your site is more or less an attractive storefront with no patrons.
That’s why it’s essential to get a grasp on the brass tacks of a successful website: search engine optimization (SEO). SEO determines how well your site ranks on Google and other search engines, directly impacting your rate of traffic.
But SEO is more than squeezing the word “wedding” or “event” into as many sentences as possible. (Seriously, don’t do this!) Instead, it’s a three-pronged approach to increasing your online presence and producing valuable content for your audience.
Keep reading to learn the three areas of SEO and how you can improve each in 2023.
For many creatives, SEO seems like a technical exercise — yet in many ways, great SEO is driven by compelling content marketing. Step into your ideal client’s shoes to win the content game, and consider the keyword phrases you’d search to find your brand.
Get as specific as possible, stretching your keyword phrase to include five or six words. For example, it will be much easier (and effective) to rank for “San Diego Vineyard Wedding Planner” instead of a catch-all “Wedding Planner.”
If you’re unsure where to start, try using a keyword planner like Semrush, Ahrefs, or Keyword Finder. These platforms will reveal how difficult (or easy) it is to rank for a given keyword, letting you plan your content accordingly.
Pro tip: While it may seem lucrative to jump on a keyword with millions of searches per month, it will actually be more challenging to stand out in a large crowd. Instead, aim for easy or medium keywords with 100 to 2,000 searches per month.
Since Google aims to provide users with valuable information, start creating content around those keyword phrases. Write fresh blog posts and social media captions using those terms as naturally as possible. While ‘keyword stuffing’ was a common practice in the past, it’s now penalized as spam in favor of content with real value.
Of course, content is far more than what visitors see when they land on your website. Beyond keyword-laced copy, Google is also crawling metadata to learn more about the quality of your content. Here are a few starter tips for optimizing your metadata:
- Add alt text to all of your images. Initially created for people with visual impairments, alt text is a description coded into an image file that Google now uses heavily to determine search results.
- Structure your content with headings and subheadings. Formatting blog posts and website pages with H1, H2, H3, and H4 tags provides Google with an easy-to-understand outline. Be sure to include keyword phrases in these headings and subheadings!
- Leverage video content to your advantage. Google loves videos, so consider adding virtual tours, event highlight reels, and recorded testimonials to get a simple-but-effective SEO boost.
Think of offsite SEO as digital public relations — how can you appear on other websites and earn backlinks to your page? When another website (especially one with high domain authority) links to your website, Google sees it as third-party validation and increases the value of your website content.
Offsite SEO can come from wedding blogs, trade publications, industry directories, review sites, and other platforms that can reference your business and link to your website. So, if you’re looking to up your digital reputation, you might consider submitting more real weddings, signing up for a vendor directory, requesting more reviews, or contributing sponsored content to relevant media outlets.
Another way to increase offsite SEO is by offering guest posts to industry peers to publish on their blogs. While they may not have the domain authority of the New York Times or Martha Stewart Weddings, there’s no such thing as a bad backlink! Discuss a content partnership to trade blog posts that benefits every party involved.
Last but not least, technical SEO is all about how well your website performs. You’ve got the keywords down and are getting traffic from third-party sites, but you won’t see results if your page is broken or difficult to navigate. Use these questions to review your website’s ease of use:
- Can I easily access the main areas of the website?
- Is the navigation menu easy to see and use?
- Does the website load quickly and without issue?
- Is content structured for Google to understand?
Evaluate your website from both desktop and mobile modes, as Google continues to place a high value on a cohesive mobile experience. If possible, test your site on a smartphone and tablet to confirm everything is where it belongs. It can also help to ask a few friends to access the website from their phones and fill out a contact form. Then, discuss their experience and apply the feedback to your next batch of website updates.
A great way to do a full health check of your technical SEO is with PageSpeed Insights, a free tool that scores your website on a scale of 1-100 for desktop and mobile loading speeds. If you get a score of 50 or below, it’s a sure sign that your website needs help! Fortunately, PageSpeed Insights provides a diagnostic report of website issues, like oversized image files, lack of metadata, or poor navigation.
While SEO may not get the same fanfare as TikTok and other marketing trends, it is undoubtedly one of the most essential facets of effective, sustainable digital marketing. It’s virtually impossible to attract new customers if nobody knows about your business, so take advantage of your #1 business partner: Google.
Julie is the CEO and Co-Founder of PartySlate, a photo-rich website where leading event professionals share their work and build their brand. With over 20 years of digital marketing experience with some of the biggest brands in the world, Julie is excited to bring this expertise to the events industry. Since its founding in 2015, over 15,000 of the country’s top event professionals and venues have uploaded over 1 million event photos to their beautiful profile pages.