As the wine industry continues to grow, wineries are looking for better marketing solutions to reach and engage more wine consumers. While traditional marketing still plays a big role, more and more wineries have started using digital marketing practices to gain greater visibility and grow direct-to-consumer wine sales. Let’s look at one of the most prominent services and how your winery can get the best results from it: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
FIRST, WHAT IS SEO?
Simply put, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of best practices designed to increase a website’s visibility and qualified traffic from search engine result pages. Which practices are included in SEO for winery websites:
- Competitive Analysis
- Keyword Research
- SEO Fundamentals
- Local SEO
- Link Building
- Conversion Rate Optimization
- Mobile Responsiveness
Before you even start working on your website’s optimization for search engines, a competitive analysis should be conducted to understand your industry’s web landscape and uncover any opportunities and threats that your web marketing efforts may encounter. While good SEO will help your website rankings, conducting keyword research will help you set realistic expectations and better track your return on investment.
While Search Engine Optimization is always evolving and getting away from ‘keyword stuffing’, search engines still require your website to communicate the content of its pages through several keyword-focused elements. For that reason, it is worth spending time to find the best keywords for your winery’s web pages to target. Using keywords that are specific and relevant will greatly increase your website’s optimization for search engines. Paying attention to the number of web searches for your targeted terms is strongly advised; the idea being to go after specific terms that are often searched but not too much (or competition for these keywords may be too strong). Note that keywords are free to use in search engine optimization.
SEO fundamentals comprise the more traditional aspects of search engine optimization. Simply put, these basic practices are technical website manipulations designed to ‘tell’ search engines what each web page is about, based on your keyword research. Such practices include:
URLs: the address of your web pages (i.e. https://newtimermarketing.com/seo-for-wineries-guide/)
Title Tags: the title of your web pages; for instance, this article’s title tag is “SEO For Winery Websites: How To Get The Best Results”. Title tags will be found in the tab at the top your page and in the search engine result pages. Writing compelling and relevant title tags is a key part of SEO.
Meta Descriptions: Found in the search engine result pages, meta descriptions are located below the title tag and URL. Although they are not directly taken into account by search engines, they are designed to compel users to click and access your website. Don’t neglect your meta descriptions!
There are other manipulations among SEO fundamentals that we set aside here for the sake of simplicity. Ultimately, the purpose behind these practices is to help search engines & users understand what your website pages are about.
For a winery to be successful with SEO it should be fully registered within search engines and all online directories (Google+, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.). Having your winery’s name, address, phone number, and other relevant contact information accurately registered will have a significant impact on your site’s visibility and reach. Local SEO marketing helps ensure that all of your winery information is correctly listed online and will be accurately served as a result of relevant customer searches. On the other hand, not having your information listed in local result pages simply means missed business opportunities and unmet customer expectations. Local SEO comprises more practices, such as customer reviews, schema markups, and more.
Link building is a fundamental aspect of SEO for wineries. There are two types of links, internal and external. Internal links are links within your website, helping search engines and visitors navigate your website easily. External links are links from other websites to your website pages; these links tend to give your web pages more authority and increase your rankings in search engines. Be mindful that not all links are equal and obtaining links from wine industry-related, authoritative websites will bring much better results.
CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION
More advanced in the wine sales funnel, Conversion Rate Optimization is a set of practices designed to improve your website’s user experience and, ultimately, its sales performance. If this service was not part of Search Engine Optimization a few years ago, it is now included in the process as Google and other search engines reward user experience with higher rankings in result pages. Generally speaking, search engines consider positive user experience to result from web pages that have certain attributes, including:
Quality content: to help your rankings in search engines, your web pages must provide unique and valuable content for your website visitors. Make sure that all the information they could be looking for is easy to find and clearly communicated.
Intuitive usability: users must be able to navigate intuitively through your website. Website visitors expect pages to load promptly and to find the information they want quickly. So make sure your website is ready to host visitors and helps turn those prospects into customers.
It has become common practice for all consumers on-the-go to use their phones to find wines, tasting rooms, and other winery information. Responsiveness to different screen sizes is a key aspect of usability and customer experience. Consequently, Google and other search engines are now rewarding winery websites that are mobile-friendly. For that reason alone your website should be optimized for its mobile visitors. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you can either 1) hire a web developer to adjust your website coding and improve mobile navigation (can be costly and complicated on large websites), or 2) invest in a new website for your winery (often the better option on websites 5 years or older).
As search engines develop to provide searchers with the most perfect suggestions, you should optimize your winery website for users, as well as for search engines. Whether you want your website visitors to visit your winery for a tasting, to join your wine club, to sign up for your newsletters, etc. optimizing your website around these goals will go a long way. Last but not least, if you plan on investing in SEO, partner up with a web marketing agency that offers custom solutions, as opposed to pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all ones. Avoid the cheap option just to “give it a try”. Web marketing is an investment that can yield amazing results if done properly and with substantial investment
Looking for more Wine Marketing articles? Read our Email Marketing for Wineries Guide