Digital guru, Warren Knight, discusses how you can transform your online presence
In the January/February 2018 edition of Bridal Buyer, I spoke about how to build your website, structuring it and the benefits of creating an overall look and feel. The next step is considering your search engine optimisation (SEO), and how to implement this on your website.
SEO is somewhat of a taboo subject because algorithms are continuously evolving. You will also find that what worked last year, may not work now. Did you know that 50% of visitors are more likely to click a result if the brand appears multiple times in search engine results? SEO is all about making sure your online presence is visible to those who you most want to work with as a bridal business. With Google reaching over 1.2 trillion searches yearly, you need to stand out as a business, and one of the best ways to do this is by having a great SEO strategy in place.
On-site is optimisation within your website and includes domain name, meta description, ALT tags, web content, internal links, title tags and keywords, permalinks, outbound links, bounce rate and loading speed, to name just a few. You want to be at the top of the Google search engine as a result of using the right keywords. This is because the higher you are on the search list, the more likely you are to make a sale.
To continue telling the story, you need to make sure every page on your website is optimised from a search engine perspective, otherwise your website will lose potential sales. On-page SEO has always been a huge part of my SEO strategy as I understand how key this is. If you have great on-page SEO, you can get a first page Google Ranking, if done properly. On-page SEO can be broken down into four sections.
General: this covers everything from an XML sitemap, navigation, robots.txt and plugins (I use Yoast which is a wordpress plug-in) and xing the webmaster tools.
Optimising content: after you have gone through the process, you need to look at all of your existing website content. This is where you will make changes to your content. You should be looking at things like duplicate content, visual design, media usage, keywords, internal linking, bounce rate, CSS, outbound linking and new content.
Performance changes: You need to optimise your website to make sure it’s mobile friendly, with good loading speed and hosting. Use a tool like Google PageSpeed to help you with this.
URL optimisation: having a good URL structure will impact both your rankings, and how well your users will be able to recall your content. Aim for memorable, unique and keyword-rich URLs.
This is mostly about link building, which I will talk about later. There are, however, other important parts around off-site SEO to consider.
Content updates: regularly updated content is a sure way to rank high in the search engines and drive more traffic to your website.
Competitor analysis: there is no one better to learn from than your competitors. Analysing the way your competitors in the bridal industry are doing their SEO will help you learn a great deal about your own business.
Website code: coding constructs a website, and this is important to consider when doing your SEO. The better the layout of the website and the easier the code is to read, the higher Google will rank you in their search.
Analytics: you must monitor the performance of your website. Without doing this, you won’t be able to see how much traffic you’re getting and sales you’re receiving.
Link building is an important part of your off-site SEO. Here are my top tips for link building.
To make sure you’re building the right strategy, you need to either hire someone to help you, or learn from an expert and do it yourself. The best tool for your SEO research is Google Adwords Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to build a document based on keywords around your business and, based on monthly searches, see how influential those keywords will be.
As a bridal business, you need to look at your products. If, for example, you stock a number of dresses from different designers, in different styles, you need to create search terms based on this, and find out what keywords are going to get you the highest results for the least amount of competition. Because of all the latest updates from Google, the way you define your keywords has changed, and the two main differences are around using long-tail keywords (rather than just one word keywords) and understanding the way your customers think. If you want targeted and niche traffic in the bridal industry, this is the best route to go. Whilst you may see some of your traffic drop when changing your structure this will be because you are getting more targeted, and those who do visit your website are actually interested in your business. The next step is to take this information and define the metadata and on-page copy for every section of your website.
To make sure you are staying page specific, you must decide which four keywords you want to stay consistent with for Google (metadata) and the consumer (on-page copy). Once you’ve completed the all-important pages of your website in this format, you need to go and apply it to the rest of your website. Remember to go to Google Webmaster and inform Google you’ve made changes so it can crawl and index all your new keywords.
If you enjoyed this, make sure you read about Warren Knight’s social media advice here.