There isn’t a wedding professional I’ve spoken to that wouldn’t like to have better rankings in Google. We all realize that the best possible time for brides and grooms to find you is when they are actively looking in search engines. It’s when they are in a true buying frame of mind and most likely to inquire. Still, navigating the technical and time-consuming waters of search engine marketing is a challenge, even for those of us that do it full time. So here are a few things to consider before you take the wedding seo leap and find yourself in over your head.
The Rule of 3
Nothing happens in business without the expense of time, energy or money. Regardless of whether you choose to invest your own time and energy to reach a goal or hire an expert to do it much more quickly, you are making some kind of an investment in that activity.
Search engine marketing is no different. Like any other tool in your marketing toolbox, such as social media, advertising, exhibiting or direct mail, it requires an investment. So before you can decide if this is a strategy you’d like to add to your marketing mix, you need to get honest with yourself as to whether you truly have the time, energy or finances to support it.
Good SEO vs. Bad SEO
Not all search engine activity is created equal. There are many SEO tactics that, while cheap, are working directly against Google and tempting small wedding business owners like you to fall victim to them. Low prices can be very hard to resist.
Unfortunately, most wedding professionals aren’t educated in search engine marketing and they have no idea that these types of practices can result in their site getting demoted or removed entirely from the search engine result pages. What’s more, many times these shady tactics can cause a short-term spike in rankings over a 6 month period, only to later disappear when Google discovers the scheme. In the end, you wind up with an empty wallet and short-lived results.
Before you jump on the wedding SEO bandwagon, ask yourself whether you’re willing to either take the time to understand the more labor-intensive, ethical and Google-friendly SEO strategies or invest the proper resources to hire an expert that will employ the same. If neither of those sounds like a viable option to you, then your best bet would be to skip the SEO and focus on other marketing strategies that may be beneficial to you.
The Playing Field
In all fairness, sometimes you just can’t know what you’re up against until you get into the thick of things. All good search engine marketing begins with solid research and analysis; there is just no getting around this. Still, before you can make a sound decision about whether SEO is a good fit for your bridal business, you need to know what you’re dealing with.
Many wedding professionals ask me how they can outrank their competition for specific terms on Google without first considering whether the competition is even beatable. You can’t expect to go head-to-head with Martha Stewart Weddings or Davids Bridal and come out on top. Not unless you have a killer budget, that is.
Prior to making a decision about whether to include SEO into your marketing plan, take the time to do the proper research and competitive analysis to find out if your niche has any opportunities for which you can truly compete. Then determine if they are worth going after.
This is a guest article by Kathy DalPra
Kathy is a former bridal-preneur turned wedding SEO and web design expert. She founded Bride Appeal to help other wedding professionals use their website to get found, followed and booked by more brides online through workshops, private coaching and web design services. For free tips on boosting traffic and turning more visitors into paying brides, subscribe to the Bride Appeal weekly ezine at http://brideappeal.com/ezine