How many times have we heard that optimizing SEO is essential for our business? Bridal Times is back with digital marketing expert Mike Ebrahimi, CEO of the U.S. based company SYVO, to break down SEO in simple terms and give us some tips on we can optimize it.
Can you break down SEO in simple terms, and how does it work?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the measures you can take to make your business’s website show up higher on Google Search Results.
To understand how it works, you have to put yourselves in the shoes of Google. What exactly are they trying to accomplish with their search engine?
Google wants people to be able to easily find the most quality result based on what the person is searching for.
So for Google to do this, they examine several key factors as related to your website. One of the biggest factors they look at is ‘User Experience’ — How easy is it for someone to navigate a site, and get the answers to their question. Specifically, Google will look at the following areas to provide a score on User Experience:
- Site Speed: Does the site load quickly and give the person the ability to easily navigate between pages?
- Site Security: Is the site secure? Is the person’s private data safe while browsing the site?
- Mobile: Is the person going to be able to easily browse the site on their phone or tablet?
Before you embark on a venture down the SEO rabbit hole, you have to start with the basics. If your site is slow, insecure, and not mobile compatible, then any other efforts you put forth would be ineffective. Google is going to penalize your ranking before you even get started.
Why should bridal retailers care about SEO?
Based on our analysis of over 300+ bridal shops’ websites, we have found Google to be the clear leader when it comes to appointments. That is to say that, most people use Google when they are actively searching for bridal shops in their local area.
SEO can help your store be very visible to brides that are actively searching for shops in their area.
What are some things bridal retailers can do today to improve SEO?
I’ll answer this question by giving you a list of the areas to focus on starting with the areas of most importance.
- Start by making sure your site is secure. You need to have an ‘SSL’ certificate installed on your domain. This is something you can ask of your webmaster, or your domain provider
- Next, make sure your site is mobile optimized. Have a member of your staff browse your website on a phone. They will be able to tell you if the site is functioning well on a mobile phone.
- Then, test your site’s speed. You can use this site: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-apac/feature/testmysite/ to get a full report of your site’s speed, and it will give you actionable items on where you need to improve.
Once these areas are complete, we can start thinking about the ‘content’ side of SEO. By this, I am referring to the actual words and imagery on the site that will be picked up by Google. What you want to do is maximize the number of pages on your site that have bridal related keywords. So how do we do that?
Add your collections to your website.
By adding a dedicated page on your website for each style that you carry, you are providing a significant amount of content to Google with bridal-related terms. Reach out to your designers, and request the imagery and line-sheets. Then, have someone on your team manually add each individual style, to its own page, with all of the style information.
This will accomplish two main areas: 1.) You will now be providing the brides what they want — The ability to view the dresses you have available at the store and 2.) Providing Google a significant amount of content related to Bridal.
Once you have all of your designers’ collections on your site, you can then focus on adding different categories of dresses. ‘A-Line Wedding Dresses, Plus Size Wedding Dresses, etc..’ Think to yourself, what do my brides constantly end up asking me for in store? Is there a certain style that is popular in your area? If so, great!
Now, there is certainly more advanced optimisation that you can do from here, but these items will give you a great head-start to building up your SEO.
Are there some things that should just be left up to our webmasters?
SEO certainly requires a level of technical expertise to do so at the highest levels, but with all of the resources available today you can at least narrow down what you will want to outsource, and what you can do internally. If you do not know how to accomplish the three main items I’ve suggested (site speed, site security, mobile friendliness), then it is worth having someone else do this for you.
You will see a significant return on your investment, and attract a higher quality bride by making sure the experience on your website is up to par.
How consistent do businesses have to be to achieve an optimal google ranking?
I’ll start by saying this — SEO is a process, not a project. The reason you see certain stores pushing out new Blog posts on a weekly basis is because they are constantly working on providing new content for Google to pick up on. You will need to approach your website’s SEO like a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure each month you are adding at least one form of content (a new category, a blog, a new description, a new page) so that Google sees your site as having up to date content.
Refresh your collections each season as this will provide you a significant amount of content to push out to Google each year. Don’t try to ‘complete’ your SEO in a day — This will be part of your online strategy forever moving forward, so get comfortable with using your website’s back-end to create content regularly.
Is there a fast-track way to achieve an optimal google ranking?
The short answer is no. There is a concept of ‘Site Authority’ when it comes to search ranking, which means Google has a slight preference to show sites that have ranked longer, first. This is a good and bad thing — It’s good because it means that once you reach a high rank on Google, no one will come in over night and take your position. It’s bad because it will take time for you to achieve a high ranking for different keywords.
You can use Google Ads to achieve an optimal Google ranking instantly, and this is actually part of our prescribed strategy with bridal shops. Although you’re having to pay each time someone clicks on your Google ad, the return on investment is still there. This might be a concept for another interview, but the best way to achieve an optimal google ranking it to stay relevant, stay consistent, and stay patient.
Engagement season is on the way. What is your digital marketing advice to get those brides in the door in January 2021?
There are several facets of the online side of the business that you need to get in order now. Bridal shops cannot wait until they don’t have appointments to start working on this. I recommend starting with their online reputation — Bridal Shops need to have 4.5 stars on Google. A great way for retailers to increase their rating is simply by reaching out to previous customers and asking them for a review.
Bridal Shops should then focus on their website, and social media. You do not have to reinvent the wheel with everything you do. Find a store with a significant social media following, and watch what types of content they’re posting. Look at the stores that rank highest on Google in your area, and see if you can get any ideas for the way they’re showcasing their content.
In order to see how a bridal-specific agency such as ourselves can help, I would like to shamelessly plug that we are currently offering a free trial of our services until the remainder of the year.
To find out more visit SYVO