Many wedding planners I've chatted with over the years have the best of intentions to finally implement SEO into their website, but one obstacle stops them:
They don't have the time.
Which is why I want to lay out a wedding planner SEO daily routine that's so simple, you can implement it in just 10 minutes.
How It Works
Each day you'll isolate one webpage or blog post to optimize in 10 minutes; around whatever keyword phrase you're trying to rank that page.
The step-by-step guide below is by no means exhaustive, as there are numerous other ways you can optimize your website as a whole. However, my goal here isn't perfectionism, but sensibility. I want to give you something quick and practical that you will actually execute.
With that said, let's lay it out...
Meta Data - 2 Minutes
Traditionally, meta data is the language of the search engines and it's what they'll "read" to find out what your pages and posts are about. What is it? Meta data are bits of code that describe the content of a webpage.
The "title tag", as its commonly called, is the most essential piece of meta data because search engines reference it to find out the primary topic of the webpage. In code, it appears as such:
When someone types a search query into Google, the title tag serves as the linked heading for each organic website listing:
Follow these tips to create your meta title tag:
You don't have to mess with code to add a meta title to your page or blog post.
Simply write up your title tag using the tips that follow and give them to your web developer to add to the html of your webpage.
Don't have a developer? It's time to get one. You're a wedding planner, not a programmer. There are numerous reputable freelance websites where you can find highly rated, affordable programmers to help you with little tasks like this.
Search Google yourself or check out some of these resources:
There is a limitation as to the number of characters that will show up in Google's organic search results and this limit is different depending on whether users are searching from a desktop computer or mobile device.
- On a desktop, a good rule of thumb is to stick with 60 characters or less for your title tag if you don't want it to get truncated. Yes, as of this writing, Google is experimenting with title tags as long as 71 characters, but this could just be a test that doesn't last. Also, it looks like Google is adding brand names to the end of the title tag if one doesn't already exist, so that could limit the number of characters you have to work with as well.
- For mobile devices, the character guideline used to be around 50 but seems to have recently increased to as much as 78 characters.
If you don't feel like opening up your computer's word processor, there are a number of free online character count tools you can use to monitor your length. When I'm optimizing a website, I like to keep one of these tools open in a separate browser tab so I can quickly switch back and forth.
Your meta title tag should contain your primary keywords that you're targeting on that page or post, ideally toward the beginning, and describe the overall takeaway of the page or post. Like this:
Every page and post in your website should have a totally unique title tag.
Why? Because duplicate title tags will signal to Google that these pages are all about the same topic and, therefore, only one of them will be appear in search results for the keyword phrase you're targeting.
By creating unique title tags for every single page in your site, not only will you give each page a better chance of ranking (which brings in more traffic), you'll also multiply the number of keyword phrases you could potentially rank for, thereby, multiplying your traffic opportunities.
In other words, every title tag will include a unique keyword phrase and be written in a unique way. For instance:
Your title tag should accurately reflect the true topic of that page or post. Search engines and users alike dislike bait-and-switch tactics.
Search engines will have a much easier time determining the topic of your page if your meta data and content match. This will help you rank for your target keyword phrase faster.
Users will be much happier if your title tag is accurate, leading them to a page that answers their question. As a result, they won't click the back button and they'll spend more time on your site; both signals that can help you rank better in both Google and Bing.
Remember, real people will see your title tag displayed as a headline in search engine results pages and use it to decide whether to click or not so you want to write them for humans, but format them for search engines.
Here are a few examples of descriptive, clickable title tags for blog posts or webpages:
- Wedding Planning Tips: Plan Your Wedding Like a Pro
- Waco Wedding Planning Service for Stylish Couples | X Events
- ABC Planning Co. Reviews - Real Client Testimonials
The "description tag" is placed after the meta title tag in your webpage's header code. It summarizes the content of the page for search engines.
When someone types a search query into a search engine, the description tag typically serves as the webpage summary that appears underneath the title tag heading in each organic website listing, as shown below. While the search engines may elect to use a snippet from your webpage content as the organic listing description, they usually defer to the meta description.
Follow the below tips to create your meta description tag:
Once again, you don't have to put on a programming hat to execute this SEO feature. Hit up your web developer for assistance. This update will take them mere seconds to make.
Like the title tag, the meta description tag will have an optimum number of characters if you don't want it to get cut off when displayed in search engine results pages.
- Traditionally, the desktop meta description displayed 150-160 characters across two lines. As of May 2016, Google is allowing up to three lines for the description tag, which equates to roughly 300 characters. However, until it's certain that this change is the new standard and not just an experiment, I'd suggest keeping descriptions under 160 for now. Once this change is permanent, it would be wise to increase meta descriptions because it will give your organic listings more real estate.
- I've also seen some big changes in the description tag space in mobile devices as well. While Google seems to still be truncating some description tags at just two lines, other organic listings are displaying up to 305 characters
When possible, your description tag should contain your primary keywords toward the beginning of the text. Above all, the description should be written for people first, even if it means that the keywords appear a bit later in the text.
If there's room and it doesn't detract from the user-friendliness of the description, you can also add in related keyword terms as well. Like this:
To avoid confusing potential visitors and search engines, create unique meta descriptions for every page.
Not only should they target keywords just for that page, the writing should compel searchers to want to visit that webpage and read on.
To maximize your ranking potential, make sure your meta description accurately summarizes the content of the page or post, utilizing appropriate keywords.
Like the title tag, searchers will read your meta description when your website pops up in search results. With even more characters to work with, the description tag really allows you to inspire searchers to click on your organic listing. Here's how:
- Tease searchers with results-focused language. What is the takeaway of this page? What will they learn? What results can your services help them achieve? What's in it for them; why should they bother visiting this page?
- Stand out. Type your target keyword into Google and read some of the other listings' descriptions. How can you write yours to sound different and get attention?
- Add a brief call to action. One of the easiest ways to inspire searchers to click on your Google listing is to give them the next step. Even I am guilty of forgetting to do this, so learn from my mistake! Your call to action can be simple, such as "click to read more", "visit this post to learn how", "click to get started now" or "visit our site to see how we can help"
Here is an example of a clickable description tag that includes the target keyword "Austin wedding planners" and related term "wedding planning" and sticks within the 160 character limit (which may increase if Google's recent changes stick):
"Take back control of your wedding planning and revive your social life too, with Austin wedding planners at XYZ Co. Click to find out exactly how we can help."
It's been years since the meta keyword tag has had any value. If you want the cleanest optimization, I'd avoid it. Here's what it looks like your website code:
And here's what the top two search engines say about it:
Google has been clear since 2009 that it "doesn't use the "keywords" meta tag in our web search ranking."
When interviewed about the significance of the keyword tag, Duane Forrester of Bing stated "the scenario I describe is more of a spam signal, which ultimately leads to rankings (or not, as the case may be)."
The fact is, this meta tag was largely abused by spammy SEOs in the earlier years of the Internet and, thus, has become more of a spam signal than a positive ranking signal.
Yet, I'm sad to admit that I consistently find this meta tag being utilized (and in the most suspicious way) by new clients who've come to me in desperation after having gotten zero results from a previous SEO service. I've spent more time than I care to admit deleting this bad code.
The reality is that many developers who also claim to be versed in SEO, are not. The rules change daily and what worked 5 years ago simply doesn't today.
Don't let archaic keyword meta data sit on your site unchecked. To be on the safe side, just remove it altogether.
Content - 7 Minutes
All of the content on your webpage or blog post reinforces your meta data. For search engines to take your meta tags seriously, your content needs to match up with their preview.
"Header tags" serve two main purposes.
- To further establish the topic of the page to search engines.
- To create a more readable webpage design by breaking up copy with headings and subheadings that utilize different typography, such as font sizes and styles.
There can be multiple header tags on a page, such as the "h1" tag, "h2" tag and so forth. They are used throughout an entire website, so you can utilize them on any page or post. The code looks like this:
For SEO purposes, the most critical heading tag is the "h1" header. This heading should definitely contain your primary, targeted keywords if possible. It will heavily reinforce how relevant your webpage is to the keyword you're targeting, which helps with ranking.
The "h2" tag would be secondary in importance to the "h1" tag and continue to support the overall meaning of the page. If you can work in related keyword terms, great! However, try to write for readers first even if it means that your H2 headers don't always contain targeted keyword phrases.
H3 Tag etc.
As you proceed with h3, h4 and h5 tags, these will mostly be used to create a better design and user-experience with your page or post. While the words used in these subheadings can still demonstrate the overall topic of the page, they are less significant than the others.
Follow these tips to keep the main body of your page content fully optimized:
- Your page and post content should deliver 100% on the topic you're targeting with your keyword. If not, users will be turned off and search engines will see your content as not valuable which will result in lower rankings.
- Try to include your primary, target keyword phrase in the first sentence, or at least the first 100 words, of your content.
- Throughout the copywriting include a variety of synonyms and related words that further enhance the overall meaning of the page instead of repeating your target keyword over and over. Not only is this a more natural way of writing, which Google loves, it will help your page rank for alternative, related terms too. (This is related to the concept of Latent Semantic Indexing, if you want to get technical.)
- Where appropriate, and without going overboard, utilize bold and italicized text styles to highlight important statements that also conveniently contain related keywords. Search engines typically view emphasized words as more important than their normal counterparts.
- Rich content is key. The more valuable visitors seem to find your content, the better it will rank. Search engines are in the business of keeping searchers happy with great organic results, so they are bias toward any webpages and blog posts that users value. They'll know if searchers like your content or not by whether they click, stay on your website and how long they stay; among other potential signals.
- Length can be a strong asset. Lately, studies have revealed that Google favors longer content. While shorter content at 300-500 words can certainly perform well too for a variety of reasons I won't expand on here, longer pages have a greater chance of engaging visitors and keeping them on your site. If you have multiple pages or posts on similar topics, you might consider consolidating them into one much more robust piece of content.
It's always a great idea to have at least one link, if not more, on every page and post in your website for two reasons:
- Both internal and external links send positive SEO signals, when utilized strategically.
- Internal links keep visitors on your website longer, providing more value and better engagement. In other words, it helps you convert visitors into potential leads.
What are internal links?
This is when you link to another page within your own website. Internal links give search engines a hint as to which pages and blog posts in your website you consider the most important. Because of this, they help those pages rank higher.
For this reason, try to link to another key page within your own website on every webpage and blog post you publish:
- The internal page you link to should relate to your page or post topic, either expanding on it, providing other resources or showing them the next step they should take.
- When linking to an internal page, try to link with anchor text that is the keyword for the page you're linking to. Don't overdo it. If you link to this page from several other pages in your site, use different words in your anchor text every time.
- Be strategic about which pages and posts you link to. Try to show preference for pages and posts that truly are important and for which you feel help you build authority and leads because these are the pages Google will view as more important to rank.
What are external links?
An external link is created when you link to an outside website that uses a different domain. If someone were to click on that link, it would take them off your website and onto a separate website.
When you link to other valuable resources outside of your own website, search engines align your content with those other authority sources in a positive way, which can make your content appear more credible and rank-worthy.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind with external links:
- Whenever linking to a third party website or even a website you own that uses a different domain, set up the link to open in a new browser tab or window so that your website isn't replaced when someone clicks that link. Otherwise, the visitor may leave and forget all about you.
- Only link to authoritative, reputable websites. If you link to shady or spammy websites, especially those that are part of link networks where they all link to each other, it could hurt your rankings.
- It's best to link to websites that are closely related to the topic on your page. So, for instance, if you have a blog post on this year's trending wedding flowers, it would make sense to link to a local florist or a Pinterest board showing trending floral arrangements.
- If the page you're optimizing is a sales or reputation page, such as your Services or About page, I don't recommend linking to any external websites. This will only drive visitors away from your website and create sales leaks in your conversion process.
- In blog posts, it's certainly acceptable to link to several external resources when it provides value to the reader.
Images are often the most overlooked optimizable content on a webpage or blog post, yet they can have great influence on establishing the topic of your page and can even rank on their own, bringing in even more isolated search engine traffic.
At the very minimum, the two most important steps you should follow to properly optimize images for search engines are:
1. Use your target keywords and other related phrases in the image file name of all the images used on a given page or post.
For example, if your page is on the topic of winter wedding fashion, then your first and best header image should be named winter-wedding-fashion.jpg and other images could be named snowflake-wedding-jewelry.jpg, winter-bridal-styles.jpg and winter-wedding-gowns.jpg.
Complete this step before uploading the image to your website server because search engines will read the file name to help them determine the content of the image.
2. Since search engines can't see images, they use text to determine their content; specifically the image Alt Tag.
This is a tag within the image code where you can place your target keywords. To make life easy, simply use the same keywords you chose for the image file name.
URL - 1 minute
The URL is the direct link to your page or post.
In addition to appearing in the browser address bar, your URL also shows up in Google's organic search listings:
Recent studies have shown that shorter URLs tend to rank higher and this seems to be supported by Google:
In an interview, Matt Cutts of Google said "If you have got a three, four or five words in your URL, that can be perfectly normal. As it gets a little longer, then it starts to look a little worse. Now, our algorithms typically will just weight those words less and just not give you as much credit."
If getting it straight from the horse's mouth doesn't make a strong enough case, here are a few more reasons to create shorter URLs:
- Shorter URLs are easier for searchers to quickly scan in search engine results listings
- Shorter URLs that only target your specific keyword will seem like a better match to a person searching for that keyword, making them more likely to click it
- Shorter URLs are easier for visitors to remember, making return traffic more likely
When creating the your webpage or blog post URL, keep it short.
A good rule of thumb would be to limit your URLs to no more than 5 words and make those words your target keyword.
This also means eliminating extraneous characters and numbers that don't add value to the URL. For example:
- Do This: http://myweddingbusiness.com/blog/my-keywords-here
- Not This: http://myweddingbusiness.com/post/10/20/16/cat=weddings/these-are-our-favorite-weddings-of-the-summer-season
- Not This: http://myweddingbusiness.com/p=62502789%
How to Get It Done in 10 Minutes
While this is a long, thorough guide, the steps in this optimization routine truly can be done in just 10 minutes.
Yes, it's a slight learning curve in the beginning. But if you just take a little time initially to practice these steps on a page or two of your website, you'll get the hang of it in no time and can easily make this a 10-minute-per-day routine!
Oh, and to make the process even simpler, I've created a scaled down checklist you can use every time you sit down to optimize a page or post in your website. Here you go...
Ready to give it a try?
Now I want to hear from you: What do you think of this 10-minute SEO routine? Think you could give it a try, with the help of my checklist?
Leave a quick comment below and let me know your thoughts or questions.