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Today I’m going to tell you the one secret that could be holding you back from appearing on page 1 for your chosen keywords: backlinks.
I’ve seen well-known wedding planners who rank on page 1 who have done ZERO on-page optimisation but rank really well because of their backlinks.
What is a backlink?
Backlinks are simple to understand – it’s a link from another website back to yours. This is different from internal links which are links within your website.
Why are backlinks important to the wedding industry?
The theory is the more backlinks you have pointing to your website, the higher you will rank for your keywords. This leads us to believe that backlinks = authority.
The more links you have pointing to your website, the higher your Domain Authority (DA) is.
We believe that Google sometimes gives preference to pages on “strong” websites in the search results. But it’s tough to tell whether this is the result of a clear preference for high-authority sites on Google’s part, or whether there’s some other indirect cause—like a preference for results from well-known brands for some queries.
We believe in the effectiveness of internal linking for “strong” websites. In other words, we think that websites with “powerful” pages can funnel some of that “power” to other pages via internal links, thus helping them to rank higher in Google.
We believe that a page on a “weak” website will outrank one on a “strong” website if it has more high-quality backlinks in comparison.Ahrefs team, a leader SEO tool on the influence of “domain authority” on a page’s ranking position.
In plain English, this quote by Ahrefs explains why I often find wedding planners who have no SEO optimisation but are well-known in the industry and are often linked to from well-known industry blogs.
What makes a good link to your wedding website?
Before you start building 100s of links back to your website, it’s important to understand that not all links are created equally.
Getting one link from a well-known and high authority website like Rock My Wedding is going to be more valuable than getting a link from a new wedding photographer.
Google has also placed less importance on spammy link building techniques like:
- Dodgy link farms, where the whole webpage is a long list of website links
- Blog comment spam, where you leave comments on other websites in hopes it will boost your website authority
- Guest blogging, this technique was abused by SEOs so now has less weight than it previously did. While I think it can still be a powerful technique, I’d recommend doing it with a strategic plan in mind.
In 2012, Google released Penguin, an algorithm update that focused on decreasing rankings for websites that manipulated their website authority by creating unnatural links with spammy techniques.
How wedding suppliers should find authoritative backlinks
There are three different website types that wedding pros should consider when looking for links:
- Links from high authority blogs within the wedding industry like Style Me Pretty and Brides.
- Links from relevant industry blogs for your business. This could be The UKAWP for wedding planners, stylists, venues and other wedding suppliers.
- Links for local websites like your Chamber of Commerce can work really well to build your authority.
As a membership directory, we help our members lead generation by promoting them on our website. Not only do they get a directory listing with their website and social media links. We also actively include members in blog posts and will provide links to our directory BUT also direct to their website.
But interestingly I also get calls from couples checking the legitimacy of suppliers or planners before booking them. This is because couples view the credibility of the UKAWP. And in essence trust those we are promoting.Bernadette Chapman, the founder of The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, wedding industry consultant and trainer.
How to find the right backlinks for your wedding website
One of the easiest and fastest ways of finding links for your business is doing some competitive research. Your competitors will be working hard to increase their authority and you can piggie back off their success.
Here’s my step-by-step guide on finding their backlinks:
- Sign up for LinkMiner tool
- Enter your competitor’s domain name
- Export the results into a spreadsheet
- Continue and repeat with your top competitors
How to find authoritative backlinks
While it may seem complex at first, find the authority of a website is super simple and take a few minutes. In the video below, I’m going to show you exactly how you can download a Chrome extension and researching.
While I realise that this is an easy option, I know that you may not have the time to go through every single website you want to be featured on. To make life a little bit easier for you, I’ve created a cheat sheet on the best websites you’ll want linking to you.
Understanding follow and no follow
One important thing to mention about link building is the follow and no follow rule. Websites that ‘follow’ your website pass on some of their domain authority.
While ‘No follow’ links may not give us ‘link juice’, they can still bring you value by being featured in a highly respected website.
Quality over quantity
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s better to have 5 high-quality links than have 15 low-quality.
There are a number of elements that can influence the quality of a link including:
- How relevant is the link to your website
- What the linking text is, is it natural or does it look spammy
- Where the link is placed on the webpage
More backlink ideas for wedding pros
Once you’ve managed to build a decent number of backlinks to your website, you can start getting creative and look at digital PR as a way to get more links to your website.
Digital PR is as important as print PR if not more – in a digital rich world that we live in with most people consuming their day-to-day media from their preferred digital device, it’s imperative your business can be found on-line. Any good PR strategy should have a mix of traditional print and on-line coverage but I personally advise my clients to have a heavier steer towards on-line PR exposure. Having your wedding business presented digitally means you can be found on a global scale, opening up the realm of opportunities for international sales (great if you are an online business serving an international audience), digital PR is also measurable via tools such as Google Analytics, so you can quantify your on-line PR efforts and ensure you are getting your PR coverage in places on-line that is working and driving extra traffic to your website. Without an online presence in the form of PR, you are just scraping the tip of the iceberg!Nicola Russill-Roy from Propose PR and Propose PR Consultancy, the UK’s first PR agency representing brands in the wedding industry.
Other great ideas that you may want to have a look at:
- Use Twitter to find relevant reporter requests by searching for #HARO (help a reporter out)
- Set up a google alert for your keywords and industry so you are alerted for opportunities
- Create content that people will want to link to (like this one!) that includes lists, quizzes or infographics
- “How to” posts work really well and are often shared on social media
- Videos are a great way to get people to link to you
- Podcasts are a great way to build links and not enough of us are using them.
- Photographers can reverse image search for their images to make sure people are linking to their website
So there is my definitive guide to finding the best backlinks for your wedding website. I’d love to know what your plans are next to build your authority – let me know in the comments below.
Pri Kruijen is an award-winning SEO and the founder of Brilliantly Visible. With over 10-years experience as an SEO, Pri has worked for well-known brands like Notonthehighstreet and has been featured by the Rising Tide Society.
She is also the SEO expert for a number of leading communities like The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners and Small and Mighty Co.
When she’s not teaching SEO to small business owners, she loves to cook up a storm in her kitchen, travel to new destinations and watching Spanish movies on Netflix.