Doesn’t the idea of showing up first in Google for important searches sound wonderful?
And doesn’t the idea of someone else making that happen for you sound even better?
I get it! Hiring an SEO consultant can take a lot of the scary out of search engines. But I’m here to tell you that not every website is ready for SEO help.
I don’t try to sell SEO services to everyone who contacts me, because not every website has the basics it takes to rank well on Google. I want my clients to be happy after we work together, so I’ve developed the parameters below to figure out which sites have what they need for SEO success.
Are you ready for SEO?
In my What is SEO? post, I talk a lot about how the search engines’ goal is to find the most helpful, relevant websites to show in search results.
In order for your website to look helpful to Google, it needs to be more than basic. It is very, very rare that a website with only a few pages and blog posts can rank for a competitive keyword like “Wedding planner in Atlanta” or “Wedding photographer in Boston.”
You need content. And you need authority.
Without getting a few basics going, you just won’t have enough on your website to rank for your top keywords. Even if you hired the best SEO consultant on the planet, they can’t magically, instantly make a small unknown website rank on page 1.
That is why I only take on select clients for my SEO services who I really believe I can make a difference for. They have put the work in to create content on their website, and they need specialized SEO advice to tweak the content to appeal to search engines.
5 Things You Need to Have Before You Consider Hiring an SEO Consultant
SEO service providers need something to work with and optimize. Below are 5 must-haves that I require before taking on a wedding SEO client.
At least one year of domain history
Brand new websites are really hard to rank. Google isn’t sure if new websites are quick sites just created for spam links or actual, long-standing, honest businesses. For this reason, I require that my clients’ websites have been online for at least a year before we work together.
At least 10 helpful blog posts
Again, Google loves content. Without it, your SEO consultant will have nothing to tweak and rank in search engines.
Before a client hires me, I ask that they have written and posted at least 10 blog posts. Ideally, some of these would be featured weddings they’ve worked on and some of them would be helpful advice articles and how-to’s. Here are a few blog post ideas.
A quality website on WordPress, Squarespace, or Showit
Technical issues can make or break a website’s ability to rank. If a website has a lot of technical problems, search engines may struggle to crawl the content.
It’s also important that we can optimize the site and that we can edit meta titles, meta descriptions, and other search engine settings. Some platforms are better for this than others.
This is why I only work on websites built on WordPress, Squarespace, or Showit as their platform.
Past work shown on your website
If you haven’t actually worked on a wedding before and written about it on your website, we’re going to struggle to rank you as a “wedding planner” or “wedding photographer” or “wedding florist.”
If you want to improve your website’s SEO, make sure you have at least 5 examples of your work and real weddings posted on your website.
Active social media accounts for your business
In 2019 and beyond, social media is a major ranking factor for search engines.
If you want your website to rank in search results, it’s important that you:
- Have social media accounts set up for your business (especially Facebook)
- Have your website URL listed in the bio or “website URL” section of those social media accounts
- Have at least 100 followers on those accounts
- Actively post on Facebook and encourage likes, comments, and shares
Other Basics that are “Nice to Haves” Before Starting SEO Work
The items below are some “nice to haves” that can improve your chances of ranking in Google and help make an SEO consultant’s work quicker and more effective.
- Some publication history on wedding blogs or magazines
- A few links to your website from other vendors you’ve worked with
- Profiles and reviews on WeddingWire and the Knot
For me, these are not deal-breakers (I have strategies to help clients get links, press, and reviews through our work together), but I’ve seen the most success when clients come to me with some history of press and links before we start working together.
The bottom line is that SEO just doesn’t work without some work. Taking the time to make sure your website has the basics for success means that you’ll actually see results when you hire SEO help.
If you do have these basics and feel like you need an SEO geek in your corner, let’s talk about your options. Contact me today.