SEO For Wineries

SEO for Wineries

Your website is all set up and ready to go. Now you are just waiting for customer traffic to browse your products and access other information available on your winery’s website. But you are concerned; sales are not occurring at the pace you expected. Perhaps it is time to investigate SEO and how it can assist your winery’s growth.

SEO Strategies and Your Wineries

As the owner of a winery, it is important for you to have an understanding of how to effectively utilize the tools of the internet. There are thousands of other wineries with whom you are competing for online sales. Knowing what SEO is and how to employ its techniques will complement other aspects of your online and physical presence.

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. Whether on a smartphone or laptop, when customers are seeking information, they type a few words to initiate a search and Google will kick out results that its algorithm determines is most relevant to the terms they searched. Your website’s authority on the topic that is searched for will determine where your website will appear in the results. Know that about 90% of clicks happen on page one of search results.

Search engine companies have developed extensive algorithms to analyze searches and develop means to find resulting matches. Your first step in building search ranking is to determine the who’s and hows of your wineries SEO effort. Having a plan to build great content and understanding how search engines disseminate content is an important part of building meaningful traffic. 80 percent of consumers search online for products prior to engaging with a business and purchasing products. So, regardless of whether it is done in-house or outsourced, you need to be familiar with how effective website management impacts your business.

How People Search for Wine Online

Think of how a consumer might find your business through a search for products they’re interested in. For example, someone traveling to Walla Walla to visit wineries might search something like ‘walla walla wineries;’ or maybe they’re interested in a specific type of wine and type in, ‘rose walla walla.’ Maybe they want to view opinions for something like ‘who makes the best syrah in Walla Walla?’

Surprising no one, Google doesn’t actually know who has the best wine, but they are keenly aware of who’s website is most authoritative on the topic. Making a deliberate effort to rank for such terms is paramount to success in organic search, but most people set it aside because they don’t understand it.

While Google’s algorithm takes into account some factors that are uncontrollable from a site administrator’s point-of-view, many of the variables that determine a website’s authority and ultimately ranking, are well within grasp.

It’s also important to understand the difference between branded and unbranded search in improving your winery’s SEO.

Here’s an example of that: There are 600 people each month that search for “Nocking Point wine” and another 1,000 searches for “Leonetti wine.” As you might expect, each of those respective businesses ranks number 1 on Google for those search terms. Your winery should too.

Conversely, there are all sorts of terms that are up for grabs for each of these wineries including location-based terms (like “walla walla wineries”) or vintage and varietal-based ones that they both make like, “2022 Rosé.” On a much bigger scale, there are very general terms that require significant authority to rank for, but can represent hundreds of thousands of visits like, “Cabernet Sauvignon,” or “Syrah.”

So establishing a list of search terms that address your customers is a key starting point. From there, you can refine the list and set realistic and attainable goals and in doing so, unlock web traffic that otherwise would not exist for your site.

Off-Page SEO & Site Authority

Your website’s authority is not limited to content – the old adage, “Content is King” is a bit of a misnomer. If your content never gets viewed, or sits static on an unvisited website, your content is more like a jester, rather than king, and serves as little more than entertainment to you or whoever created it. Don’t get me wrong, content is critical – but in order for it to be regarded with any sort of favor by Google, you either have to have massive site authority in the wine industry, or your content should be specifically authoritative.

Backlinks are how authority is generated.

Effective links and backlinks are a credible means to improve the SEO for wineries. A backlink is a connection from one website to a page on a different website. These are also referred to as inbound links. Backlinks validate your website and offer the nod of approval from one site to another. If a well-regarded wine distributor connects to your website, that will enhance your site’s authority. The more authority, the more likely Google is to rank your site high for related search terms.

Search engines consider these links in their algorithms when they rank responses to a potential customer’s keyword search. Therefore, link building and earning links need to be part of your website development and continual growth. Not all links have the same value, so making connections to and from different sites must be thought through.

Generally this linking effort is called Off-Page SEO and the term encompasses all in-bound links to your website. When you are first starting your webpage, this can feel overwhelming. Just as with all reputations, it does take time to earn one for your website. However, you can explore backlink profiles of websites similar and dissimilar to yours. This will provide ideas for websites to explore connecting with.

Websites without backlinks or spam-related links do not earn positive ranking attributes; actually, they might have lower scores. So, this is a key area to explore.

Using SEO Strategies to Increase Traffic

When it comes to translating organic site visits to actual dollars, it’s important to be both strategic and patient. Understand that unless you’re a newspaper, Google will take its sweet time working your content up the list of search results. This is why when posting on a blog, or writing content, you should be deliberate and thoughtful on what you want to rank for. Most importantly, be consistent.

Building content that is relevant and clear is of the utmost importance. Most wineries I’ve seen take a very honest approach to blog writing and write about things relevant to the winery, which is great. Keeping on eye on analytics will provide an idea as to how people are responding and what sort of traffic you’re gaining from the article.

Managing such content is referred to as on-page SEO. You need to consider all elements that a visitor to your website views. Each page of your website, all the images, all the verbiage – including blog posts and/or newsletters, and sales pages.

Your website is a direct extension of your brand and is an extension of your physical winery. Your website traffic is a direct reflection of website’s content, if you don’t write about it, you probably won’t rank for it. Once you begin ranking, you can begin measuring conversion rates for organic traffic. Typically, the more traffic, the more conversions.

Technical SEO

The last element of SEO strategy is assessing your technical component. Another part of the SEO measurement is the durability of your technology base.

One component of your SEO technology is the speed of your pages loading. If a potential customer is browsing with their keywords and accesses your site, but the pages take too long loading, the once potential customer clicks back out. This is called your bounce rate. People expect fast and reliable loading times when searching the internet. Irritated customers are not likely to return.

Page hierarchy is also super important. Having Page titles established, meta descriptions written, mark-up tags in the right place and diverse content like images properly titled will help Google understand the page’s purpose.

Page to page navigation is also part of the SEO process. This measurement expects speed and the establishment internal links. Customers want to move from page to page rapidly and accurately. Internal links also allow you to create your own reference library for various topics written on your winery website.

Seo Services for Small Businesses

I had a friend approach the other day and ask for my opinion on SEO services for small businesses. He read an article that proclaimed SEO was dead, and that small businesses should really focus their resources on building a social media presence, rather than, more or less, chasing unicorns.

Google has moved the target dozens, if not hundreds of times over the past two decades, and they aren’t always forthright about what the moves means for small business SEO efforts. For better or worse, it’s hard for small business owners to keep up with changes in SEO best-practices.

It’s hard, frankly, for marketers to keep up thus, all things tried and tired, are useless – “dead,” as they put it.

Plus, with all of Google’s updates and guidance, it’s still not exactly clear how their algorithm works and weighs varying rank-signals.

The personal opinion as I shared, was that businesses should use their financial and personnel resources on what works for them and that “continually improving their website, should be a part of that.”

I know, that’s a bit vague – let’s see if I can clear that up a bit.

For starters, “doing what works” should be measured objectively and done with some level of consistency – I wrote about that so am not going to spend a moment on that here.

“Improving a website,” also has a ring of uncertainty to it until we break down what that means.

Google does provide pretty decent guidance on the structure of a website, and I think a lot of business owners would do well in spending a half a day per month looking at their site with their team and figuring out ways to make seo services for small businesses more effective.

Today, let’s focus our attention on SEO services for small business websites.

On-Page SEO and Website Structure

When we structure a site for SEO purposes, it basically means we build each page in simple form – one page heading (h1) for your page title, a few subheadings (h2), some sub-sub-headings (h3-h6’s), some body text (p), images and/or videos that are properly named, titled and optimized.

There’s really not tons-more to it.

Google crawls your website and depending on a number of factors, it can take a few days to weeks to actually gather all of what it needs to index and delineate where your site fits in search. When it does crawl your site these markup tags guide its bot through the structure of the site and tells it the sequence of which information should be considered.

SEO Titles and Meta Data

SEO titles probably fall into the same category of “structure,” and you could make a case for the next point I’m about to make too, regarding keywords, but there’s a bit of a nuance to each of these.

If the sequence the bot follows is guided by markup tags like “h1,” then the actual material or content itself, is shared with the bot via markdown and meta data.

You’ll see on most site builders, or SEO plugins in WordPress, will have room for optimizing titles and meta descriptions – do it. These are important.

While Titles are an important ranking factor for SEO, they essentially tell Google bots what the page should be about and provide a clue to what can be expected in forthcoming text.

Meta descriptions, however, are not necessarily required ranking, but would likely be included in SEO services for small businesses or any other size of business. Meta descriptions are the preview text you see in Google Search results. While they don’t have a direct effect on your site’s ranking, they may help users determine the relevance of and article or page they seeing in search results – so they’re good to manage.

We’ll discuss what makes up a good meta description in another post.

Are Keywords An Important Part SEO Services for Small Businesses

One of the most well-known initiatives a small business can take on for improving the SEO of their website is though the use of keywords. Keyword ranking is at the core of Google becoming the single most valuable connection created on the internet.

It was also the source of the most abuse.

I think when Google made corrections – yes, corrections – to their algorithm in (2010) to crack down on “black hat” SEO techniques, the average layperson, who’d found ranking online easy prior, found ranking on the search engine much harder.

Many previous marketers who built an entire industry around search ranking, quit. “SEO’s” were quick to dismiss the practice as being “dead,” after.

Earlier, small businesses could compete at-scale for highly searched keywords because basically all that was necessary to rank high on search engines was an adequate keyword distribution.

Keyword Stuffing, as it was called, was all-of-the-sudden not-so-effective.

That, however, is not to say that a small business can’t compete.

Building Quality Content Around Highly-searched Terms

We wrote an article making the case for content as a primary means of growing ranking.

I still stand by this, and I think as we move further and further down the road, we’ll find that search will get smarter and smarter – thus making content more and more important.

Google’s objective after all, is to connect its search users to information that they are after – which in essence means “relevant” search results.

It’s so easy today to publish garbage content – you find a low competition keyword, do a bunch of research, then publish 10th grade-level writing that regurgitates something you found on the web, then point a bunch of links to it. The result with todays algorithm is generally speaking, a move into search rankings.

It seems at every turn and for every topic, people have found a way to circumvent the intended purpose of ranking factors.

It’s my belief that Google will eventually sort out what it means to produce “quality content” that is well-written and informative.

Link building for Small Business SEO

Link-building is (roughly) the process of having “authoritative” sites, link to your site as a means of earning online credibility.

So, if I ran a baseball blog and had ESPN and MLB linked to it as a form of reference, they’d pass along their authority to me – telling Google that my site is legit.

If my site is authoritative, I will generally rank higher for what I say on my website. Higher ranking = more traffic…. you get the drift.

There is an entire economy built on backlinks – not necessarily monetarily, though there is some of that. Folks from foreign countries for example, essentially figured they could build a website, crowdsource a bunch of content from desperate American SEO’s, while simultaneously passing authority back and forth to their millions of sites.

This strategy can work, but it’s not a welcome approach by Google and it’s not necessarily reliable over time if those foreign site’s get dinged down the road.

Mostly, good SEO’s work at capturing meaningful backlinks – which are actually difficult to come by. Good backlinks pass good and meaningful authority, which give them value – like getting a personal reference from an industry expert.

The difficulty here, is that we once again return to a haves and have-nots. People who operate higher-end sites have the resources to perform tasks like genuine outreach. They can also maybe hire expert writers, and possibly have relationships that are difficult to generate in the startup phase for a small business or website.

This is why sometimes it’s sometimes easier to outsource SEO to a company that can do a lot of this for you. If complete services aren’t affordable and you have someone on staff that’s able to create solid content, there may be some efficiencies you can find that make the services both effective and affordable.

At the very least, focus on frequent, quality content on the spine of a rock-solid website. While Google tries to build a smarter search engine, SEO for your small businesses can position your website for future growth in building better authority and ranking.

Establishing Your Company Voice

In marketing it’s not just about what you say; how you say it makes all the difference. It’s important for every company to consider their company marketing “voice” as they’re building a brand. Word choice plays a large role in what type of feeling you get from the content. For example, an article that uses words like “Wonderboy Creative” and “our market” gives the reader a much different feeling than the alternatives of “we” and “you.” Depending on what type of business you are, one voice might be better than the other.

Here are some helpful things to remember as you embark on this part of your marketing journey.

How do I determine what kind of voice my company should have?

As a company your ultimate goal is to connect with your customers. What you say and how you say it to them is important – do you want to be playful, snarky, professional, sarcastic? As you work to navigate this decision, first think about what your company does. Are you a Fortune 500 company with staff that wears 3 piece suits to work every day? A professional sports organization that gets to cheer on a team with 50,000 fans? The customer base for these companies is likely different and their voice should be too.

Second, does your business exists in a field with a wide array of competitors? Think about what makes your company unique so that you can use these traits in choosing your voice. Ultimately, this will help you stand out from your competition. Part of this process might include a deep dive into your company mission statement. Identify key words (again you want them to be unique to your company) and evaluate what kind of voice they support.

Third, spend time thinking about who your customers are. If you’re a sports franchise, your customers are first and foremost fans. Games are fun, fans love games, so consider interacting with them in a playful manner that also gets your message across. You want your customers to feel comfortable interacting with you so select a voice that allows you to truly connect. People are usually pretty good at spotting fake or disingenuous attempts to connect, so avoid that altogether and find something that really resonates with your base. If you’re in doubt about choosing a voice, consider creating a test group and running your material past them to see what type of reaction you get.

Use your voice everywhere

One mistake that can be easy to make is to use your company voice only in the most obvious of locations. Of course having your voice on your website and Facebook page is important, but think about the less obvious locations too. For example, what about your 404 Web Page? In browsing a religious website I stumbled across their error page, and got a pretty good chuckle. In keeping with their company voice they referenced Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. Very clever and, as you can see, memorable. Don’t skip the small things – you never know who might stumble upon them.

Why Hiring a Social Media Agency Makes Sense

Over the last ten years, social media has become an incredible force in the business world. When used properly, it can help you create a connection with your existing customers and reach new ones to grow your company and provide a multitude of opportunities for businesses to connect with consumers.

The constant evolution of the social media landscape means that maintaining an active presence on various platforms can become a strain for businesses large and small. Businesses in general, but especially small businesses, have a limited number of employees responsible for a large volume of work. This is where social media and marketing agencies can play a vital role for your business. Companies can now hire experts who will help keep their brand active and make sure they’re getting the most out of their marketing campaigns.

Many companies find themselves wondering, “why should I hire a media agency?” There are a number of reasons why it makes sense to outsource this a vital part of your marketing process.

Cost Savings
Social media is a necessary aspect of the business world, and not having and maintaining a presence is not an option. Which means there’s a choice to make – hire an agency or just hire another employee to manage the social media accounts for your company. An employee might know your company better, but it’s roughly three times more expensive to hire an employee than an agency.

Employee Responsibilities
Businesses often add the task of managing social media to a current employee. In reality, the individual given this additional responsibility already has a lot on their plate. This typically means that social media duties fall to the bottom of the to-do list; they’re frequently skipped over for other tasks which creates inconsistencies in posting schedules. Social media is a great tool for building your brand so you want to make sure it receives the right amount of attention.

Social media agencies often have far more experience in this area than an employee who hasn’t made a years-long career out of social media and marketing.

Agencies are more results driven. Their performance is graded on their ability to show your company positive results, so they have plenty of motivation to put forward their best effort.

Social media isn’t just a numbers game anymore. It can provide a real opportunity to engage with your customer base. Hiring an agency will ensure someone is always monitoring your accounts. This allows you an opportunity to build relationships with your consumers while establishing trust, ensuring loyalty, and resolving issues before they become problems. Providing good content on a regular basis, responding to inquiries in a timely fashion, and engaging with followers are all-important to ensuring success.