Compared to Instagram, SEO can seem unattractive. Unlike social media marketing where you can gain user interaction, SEO has no instant gratification. As unsexy as SEO may initially appear, search engine traffic remains as the most prominent and effective ways for brides and grooms to find their wedding videographer.
As someone who filmed 4 weddings before calling it quits as a wedding videographer, I have an appreciation of what you do (and how difficult it is to market your services to the public). This is why I have put together a list of things you can implement to get more brides to find your services.
- What is SEO
- Why SEO should matter to you as a business owner
- Common SEO myths you should ignore; and
- The tools you will need to DIY SEO
I am going to assume that you have no technical issues that are preventing Google from crawling the contents of your website and indexing them against your competitors.
In this guide, you will find specific tactics and tips for videographers.
I will, however, cover the topic of keyword research and keyword selection as these are the foundations of your SEO strategy. Since it is such an integral part of SEO, let’s tackle keyword research first.
Keyword Research: What It Is, The Tools That You Will Need, And How To Do It Properly
The modern dynamics of Search is still based on queries based on keywords. That is, a user needs to know what they’re looking for (or at the very least, input at least one word to discover relevant search terms to solve their problem).
Keywords are not going away any time soon and when it comes to your website and webpages, keywords are critical to SEO.
At the beginning of their buyer’s journey, most brides (and grooms) will use a [service provider + major city] keyword. They may also input [service + major city]. That is, ‘wedding videographer Sydney’ or ‘wedding films Sydney’.
Some will also add modifiers into their query (e.g., best wedding videographer Sydney, affordable wedding videographer Sydney, wedding videographer near me).
Keyword research is an analytic approach to identifying business opportunities. When performed well and done right, keyword research gives you a strategic map of what your short term and long term SEO goals are. This is because some search queries are very competitive and will take considerable time, content and backlinks in order to move up in the rankings. At the same time, there are low competition keywords that you can quickly gain visibility for within days.
Therefore, keyword research helps you identify what keywords to target and in what order to target them.
The most efficient way to identify relevant keywords for your business is via a SaaS product called Ahrefs (from $990/year).
This is how you can export a list of all relevant keywords in less than a minute:
1. Run a Google search for your target keyword (e..g, wedding videographer Sydney).
2. Pick the first service provider that shows up in the SERP. In this example (see below), the first 2 organic search results are directory-style pages and should be ignored. The third result is the first wedding videographer website for this keyword.
3. Copy the URL and paste it into Ahref’s Site Explorer.
4. Click on Organic keywords on the left hand side menu to see all the keywords that the website ranks for. In this example, Lovereel has 164 organic keywords according to ahrefs. You will also see from this overview of the site metrics that they have 145 backlinks from 15 unique websites.
5. Click Export > Export to CSV. Ahrefs has the ability to show keywords per search region. This is because a webpage may rank well in one area of the world but have poorer visibility in another. In this instance (see below), ahrefs has correctly shown all the keywords that the site is ranking for for Australian-based searches. Make sure that the right geographical regions has been selected.
Now that you have a list of keywords that your competitor ranks for, what next?
Repeat the above process for all the wedding videographers who are displayed on the first page for your target keyword. Then collate and combine the data so that you can see the full gamut of what keywords exist for your business.
You will discover that there are hundreds if not thousands of keywords related to wedding videography. This is only half of keyword research. The next step is going through your list and using your own judgement to decide which keywords to keep and which ones to discard. No amount of automation and machine learning will replace what you as a business owner will know.
If you want to know what keywords your website is ranking for, copy your homepage URL and paste it into Ahref Site Explorer and follow steps #4-5.
Alternative, you can go into your Google Search Console dashboard to see what queries have been linked to your website.
The screenshot below is a keyword gap audit that I ran for a wedding videographer. It is based on a custom script that compares 5 competitors with your website.
Once you have 5-10 keywords you wish to target, you can start on the things that will push your website up in the rankings.
SEO For Wedding Videographers & Cinematographers
I didn’t fully grasp how much more labour intensive film-making was compared to photography until I did it myself. From scrubbing hours of footage, syncing audio from multiple clips to create multicam sequences, to the time it takes for rending and quality assurance – I can appreciate how time-poor wedding videographers are.
Therefore, you will find SEO recommendations on this page that will actually make a difference.
In the order of importance, these are the things you can do to improve your website’s visibility.
1. Do The Absolute Minimum For Optimal PageSpeed
You may have noticed that Google Search Console introduced a new tab in the dashboard. This signals that the future of Search will factor in how fast and slow a web page loads.
Website speed is important but it is not the most mission-critical thing. This is because when it comes to wedding videography research, brides are prepared to wait for media to load.
GTmetrix is your friend here. Sign up for a free account in order to select a server location that is closest to you. By default, tests are run from Canadian servers.
If your website loads in less than 8-seconds, you have nothing to worry about. Obviously, the quicker the better but there are diminishing returns once you achieve the 5-seconds mark (i.e., there are better ways to spend your time/money to help your business grow).
Ways to optimise your pages for speed:
- Never self-host videos on your server
Even Netflix, a company worth in excess of 100 billion dollars, hosts the majority of their video libraries on AWS instead of relying on their own data centres. Most web hosting providers are not configured for video distribution (images and gifs are fine). Let the video compression and streaming professionals handle the video.
- Publish video content on YouTube
Of all the video platforms, YouTube (probably) has the best speed optimisations. Vimeo takes forever to load for some users whereas YouTube tends to pre-render and play much quicker. Plus, YouTube is owned by Google and there are ways you can leverage YouTube for your organic and local SEO.
- Lazy Load embedded iframes
Embedding YouTube iframes will inevitably negatively impact a page’s speed performance. And multiple embedded iframes will further push out loading times. Lazy Loading, otherwise known as on-demand loading, is an optimisation technique to load assets only when it is needed by a user. If you have a WordPress CMS site, try Lazy Load for Videos. WP Rocket offers a premium (paid) WordPress plugin that includes image and video lazy loading.
- Host your website on a premium webhost
You may have noticed that Facebook’s Pixel can add significant loading time to a website. But given how useful this tracking code is for advertising, it is well worth the website speed hit. Therefore, any pagespeed savings you can muster is worthwhile. This is where having a premium web host comes in handy. I recommend WPX Hosting, Kinsta, and WPEngine for managed WordPress providers. If you are on a shared hosting plan (e.g., Panthur, VentraIP, GoDaddy), I highly recommend that you consider migrating to a premium non-shared service.
- Use images on your homepages instead of videos
Images can quickly communicate a message within nanoseconds. Videos, on the other hand require interaction from a user (read: mental barrier) and takes a minimum of 3-seconds to communicate a message. What good is a 3-second video clip anyway? Since your homepage will be the most important page on your website, you will want to reduce the loading time as much as possible. It may seem counterintuitive at first to use images to sell a video service but test it out for yourself and make your own conclusion on what is best for you.
- Do not use background videos
Even the shortest video clips will be much larger in file size compared to a compressed image file. The latter will also be sharper and look more appealing compared to a video filled with compression artefacts.
2. Optimise Your Homepage With 1x H1 And At Least 1 Exact Match Keyword In Body Text
I cannot state how easy this tactic is to implement. Plus, it is super effective. My first private client is a wedding stylist in Sydney. One of the first things I implemented on her website was to change her homepage H1 from something creative and abstract to an exact match keyword ‘wedding stylist Sydney’.
I also inserted the exact match keyword into the homepage’s page title.
Within 4 months, she went from zero visibility on Google Search for ‘wedding stylist Sydney‘ to being top 5 on page one.
And this was on a Squarespace website (not my favourite, I prefer WordPress – see why here).
Wedding creatives tend to overcomplicate things by trying too hard to describe what they do on their website (I’m guilty of doing this in a previous career). Once you have your list of target keywords, assign the most important one to your homepage (e.g., wedding videographer Sydney) and do the following:
- Use the keyword as an H1 heading.
- Use only one instance of the H1 tag.
- Incorporate the keyword into the page title (not necessary for meta description).
- Use H2 headings for related keywords to support the topical relevance of the homepage to the main keyword (e.g., wedding films you will love, affordable wedding videos, non-intrusive wedding videographers).
- Incorporate the main keyword into the main body of the homepage.
- Link out to supporting pages (e.g., pricing, FAQs, venue information).
3. Give What Your Customers Want (And They Will Come)
This relates to your client acquisition strategy. After all, getting visibility and clicks from Google searches is just one channel of client acquisition.
I’m going to share with you an SEO strategy that I use for my existing clients. I’ve had success getting my own websites ranking with this strategy and my clients have not only reported an increase in enquiries but also actual wedding bookings as a result of this strategy.
What is the strategy?
It’s simple really – the strategy I am about to share involves giving what brides and grooms are searching for.
After the saying ‘YES’ to a marriage proposal, most brides will begin their wedding planning process. And what is the first thing most brides will search for?
A wedding venue.
Many couples will not set a date for their wedding until they have locked in a reception venue. This is because the reception venue is the most costly part of the wedding day. Averaging $140 per head in most metropolitan areas of Australia, the wedding reception can easily cost north of $15,000.
Due to the financial significance of the reception, you can begin to understand why the wedding venue is the first thing couples want to seek out.
I didn’t know fully comprehend how difficult and frustrating it was to find information on wedding venues until I started doing my own research. Because of this, I knew I was onto something.
A bride may use visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to shortlist wedding venue candidates. But in order to secure a wedding venue, she will have to manually find certain details.
These details will always involve:
- Pricing – how much does it cost to have a wedding at said venue (e.g., cost per head, seasonal discounts, minimum spend etc).
- Capacity- how many guests can the venue cater for (seated/theatre/cocktail configuration)
- Independent reviews
And this is exactly the information that you will provide for them.
This is what you can do:
- Manually call venues up and ask them for this exact information.
- Present this information on a venue-specific page on your website.
- Do a site visit of the venue and do a video walkthrough of the venue (film and edit it as you would a wedding teaser/highlight).
- Explain why the venue is a good fit for them (in words).
You can even go one step further and provide recommendations on nearby photo locations. If you’re comfortable in front of the camera, you can even do talking-head style videos to complement the writing on the page.
As you can see, this strategy does not require you to have filmed a real wedding at said venue. This is because you’re not marketing wedding videography to the bride, but instead, giving her reasons why she should proceed with a venue of her choice.
By including video walkthroughs of the venue, she can get a sense of your video skills.
In essence, you’re selling yourself without coming off as being salesy.
This strategy works because you put yourself in front of customers before they even realise that they are your customers. By adding value to solve their problem, you demonstrate your knowledge and authority in the wedding field and do not have to compete on your videography portfolio and pricing.
You may have tried blogging individual weddings in the past with the hope of ranking for [venue + wedding] keyword. Due to the competitiveness of the SERPs, there is very little chance that you can rank by blogging individual posts that centre around one wedding. This is because the venue page will typically rank for its own brand name as will other venue-focused websites such as wedding directories.
The strategy I have outlined here solves this problem.
I’m sure you have questions on how to execute this strategy. I provide this type of in-depth consultation for my private clients only. Get in touch if this is something you would like to invest in.
PS – as an added benefit, you can reach out to the venue and let the know that you have created a helpful resource that links to their business. They may be open to linking to your page via a social mention or even better yet, on their website.
4. Map Out Your Site Structure To Maximise Keyword Salience
Every page on your website should serve a purpose.
Your homepage will naturally acquire the most number of links, and thus, be the most authoritative page on your site. Other pages on your website should add topical relevance to the homepage.
With the 5 to 10 keywords that you extracted from your keyword research, you can then assign one primary keyword for an individual page.
The above screenshot is a sitemap that I prepared for a client. We have since made a few changes to the page title template and silo structure but it should give you an indication of what to go for.
5. Repeat Step #2 With Other Keywords On Other Pages Of Your Website Using Clearscope, POP, CORA or SURFER
To recap the progress you have made so far:
- You have carried out keyword research based on ranking competitors. This has given you hundreds of keyword ideas.
- You have whittled down the keyword list into 5 to 10 primary keywords that are relevant to your business.
- You have removed instances of background videos on your website and replaced them with web-sized still images.
- You have implemented lazy loading for your videos.
- You have built out a map of pages you will create (each targeting a single primary keyword).
- Your homepage page title and H1 tag is an exact match [wedding videographer + city] keyword.
- Your homepage has at least 2-3 H2 tags that support your main keyword.
- You have identified 3 wedding venues that you want to film more weddings at.
- You have collected pricing and capacity information for these 3 wedding venues.
- You have created videos that highlight the features and benefits of these 3 wedding venues.
The next stage is to write the content so that Google can better understand why it should promote you over your competitors. For this, you will need either Clearscope, Page Optimizer Pro (POP), CORA or SURFER.
Yes, they’re all premium tools that give you recommendations on ways to improve your on-page content (with Clearscope being the most expensive).
At the end of the day, Google needs to see and crawl written words on a web page in order to understand what the content is about. It will then use this and compare it to other pages on the internet. Tools such as Clearscope, Page POP, CORA and SURFER provide tips on how you can add words and subtract words to help you get better visibility in the SERPs.
The above screenshot is an output from SURFER. For this particular example, I compared how In A Maze could improve their ranking for the keyword ‘wedding videographer Sydney’.
As you can see, SURFER is suggesting to remove the use of the word ‘wedding’ 4-7 times to match ranking pages. It also recommends adding the word ‘videographer’ at least 1 more time.
When I use SURFER for on-page content analysis, I will work my way down from 100% relevance down to 80%.
Have you ever wondered how many words you should write per page?
SURFER can help give you an answer to this question.
From the above graphic, SURFER is recommending us to add 1,293 to 3,022 words to our homepage. This is because the first 2 ranking pages (both easyweddings.com.au) have a lot of words on their pages.
This is where you need to apply your own critical thinking – should the 2 ranking pages from easyweddings.com.au be included in this analysis?
Let’s look at the actual SERP (see below).
Clearly you can see that the first page is a listicle. The heavy word count comes from individual summaries for each of the 25 wedding video providers that Easy Weddings has included in their document.
The second page is a directory listing page.
Every other organic search result on the page 1 for ‘wedding videographer Sydney’ are actual wedding film providers. What this means is that the two pages from easyweddings.com.au are statistical outliers.
Google has served these two pages for a number of reasons.
Easyweddings.com.au is an authority site in the wedding niche. Tens of thousands of visitors use it every month to help them plan their wedding. I wouldn’t be surprised if the website has millions of visitors per year.
One way it has achieved Authority, Relevance and Trust (which are the pillars of organic SEO) is through 492,000 backlinks from 3,710 unique websites.
Easy Weddings offers searchers with many options that help them find an answer to their query ‘wedding videographer Sydney’.
Google may understand that people searching for ‘wedding videographer Sydney’ are actually wanting to find an individual business but it cannot ignore the fact that Easy Weddings provides all the necessary video providers on one neat web page.
This is why it will serve the pages from easyweddings.com.au and there is very little chance that you can outrank them.
What you can do, however, is try to be the first wedding videography service provider after easyweddings.com.au and on-page SEO using Clearscope, Page POP, CORA or SURFER will make it a whole lot easier.
Let me show you the difference your on-page SEO recommendations will look like when you exclude the outliers.
Scroll up and compare the image above and below with the ones I previously shared.
As you can see, by excluding the statistical outliers, the recommendations seem to make far more sense. That is, instead of adding 1,293 to 3,022 words to the homepage, the recommended range is now an additional 780-1986 words.
Learning to use tools like Clearscope, Page POP, CORA or SURFER requires extensive practice. If you want to succeed over your competitors, I highly recommend that you invest the time into doing so.
Alternatively, I offer on-page SEO copywriting so get in touch if you want to gain the upper hand over competing wedding videographers.
6. Get Your Local SEO In Order
Given that most of you reading this will want to rank for [wedding videographer + major city], it would make sense to integrate geolocation into your SEO foundation, even if your ‘office’ is 20kms away from the major city.
For my own data, most couples in Sydney will search Sydney as their geolocation modifier even though they live in Parramatta, Camden, Chatswood, or Oatley.
If you do not have a studio and work from home, you can still leverage Google My Business (GMB) to your advantage.
Recommended reading: 8 Steps To Rank Your GMB Over Your Competitors
If you do not mind disclosing your home address, you can add it to the footer of your website in the following format:
[name of business] [street address, suburb, postcode] [telephone number] [business hours]
This template is what we in the industry refer to as N.A.P.
Make sure that your N.A.P is exactly as how it is written and formatted as per your GMB.
The theory behind this is that consistent N.A.P across your GMB, your website, Facebook Page, and business directories help strengthen your local SEO prominence.
7. Add Relevant Structured Data To Your Website
Building upon your N.A.P from the previous point, you can inject structured data on your homepage and selected pages that help strengthen your N.A.P.
You will need this to generate the relevant JSON-LD script and a way to insert it onto your website.
- For WordPress sites, I’ve had no issues with SOGO Add Script to Individual Pages Header Footer.
- For Squarespace sites, refer to this blog post I wrote.
Congratulations on making it all the way to the end.
Search engine optimisation is a marathon – don’t let the amount of work required get in the way of actually getting the work done.
The best thing about SEO is that it builds upon itself. The stronger the foundation you have built, the better your results will be in the future. Therefore, don’t skip on doing your keyword and competitor analysis properly. It is well worth spending a whole week on it.
FYI, it takes me 4 to 7 hours to carry out in-depth keyword research.