Case Study: How we increase Mountain House Estate’s website traffic through SEO.
First, let’s define SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. Basically, you want people who are searching for your product or service to find your website right at the top of Google and click to your website. SEO makes this happen.
Mountain House Estate, located in Cloverdale, CA, wanted more wedding couples to find their website on Google organically. After testing for a number of years, we decided that organic SEO/direct traffic outperformed paid listings on The Knot and WeddingWire. And when you think about it, it makes total sense; brides are bombarded with venues on both The Knot and WeddingWire, but if they are directly searching for “wedding venues near me” or “Northern California wedding venues,” and find Mountain House Estate, they are only focused on them.
Your website probably won’t outrank The Knot or WeddingWire. They spend thousands of dollars a month to place at the top of Google. But, you can outperform them and outrank with your local Google listing because they are not local businesses. This is where SEO comes in; if you optimize your website consistently and make improvements and add relevant content, you will get more relevant website traffic.
Why? It’s simple. Google shows your website to people who are actively searching for wedding venues. So when Mountain House Estate decided to invest in a monthly retainer with us ($1,500 per month), we kicked into action and began adding cornerstone content pieces to their website.
What is cornerstone content? It consists of the best, most important articles on your site; the pages or posts you want to rank highest in the search engines. We don’t write about dated topics such as “top wedding dress color trends” or “what to put on your reception tables.” We feel that anyone can write about this sort of content and can easily be found on The Knot, WeddingWire, or any other wedding planning website.
We only focus on writing content that is relevant to your wedding venue. Mountain House Estate, as an example, is located in wine country but does not offer overnight accommodations. So we’ve written articles about why it’s best to spend the night off-site, top activities in the area to plan around your wedding, why Napa wedding venues aren’t the best bang for your buck, and horror stories about wedding couples who chose to have a DIY backyard wedding in Northern California.
Our top-performing article defines a “local destination wedding,” that is – a destination that is within a day’s drive of where you live. We wrote this article geared toward San Francisco wedding couples as a benefit to hosting their wedding at Mountain House Estate instead of picking a wedding venue in San Francisco or the Bay Area– and how you can really turn your wedding into an experience if you choose Mountain House Estate.
In April 2020, Mountain House Estate received 1,100 visitors per month, In April 2021, they are receiving 18,900 visitors per month. However, we don’t focus on website traffic as much as we focus on conversions from that website traffic.
Above you can see that almost 50% of Mountain House Estate’s conversions come from organic search. The above graph is from Google Analytic’s latest project: Attribution – we won’t overexplain it, but in short, it attributes where your conversions come from (Google Ads, Pinterest Ads, Facebook Ads, The Knot, WeddingWire, Social Media Profiles). You have to create a Goal for that conversion in order to track the medium all the way to the filled-out contact form. For Mountain House Estate and most wedding venues that I work with, I create a “Thank You” page that visitors are redirected to after they fill out the contact form as the Goal. This allows me to see what mediums (Google Ads, Pinterest Ads, Facebook Ads, The Knot, WeddingWire, Social Media Profiles) ultimately perform the best. Over time, we’ve determined that SEO and Google Ads are the best way to go by analyzing this Goal. Note: the “Referral” in the above graph refers to 17Hats, which is the CRM they use and what they use for a contact form.
But not all wedding venues can have the same game plan. That is because your demographic is different depending on the region your wedding venue is in. We never make “cookie-cutter” plans because each venue is distinct and therefore the marketing and writing have to be adjusted. Some venues have much less competition like wedding venues in Sioux Falls or Columbus, Ohio wedding venues. In the case of Mountain House Estate, they have a lot of fierce competition, but (in my opinion) is the most beautiful venue in the area. Your blogs and writing need to focus on pain points, your top benefits (wedding couples will let you know this), and empathy/insights for their planning journey (how to plan a wedding during Covid).
Basically, you need to position yourself as the leader in your region. You can achieve this through gorgeous, mobile-optimized web design, cornerstone content pieces, optimized page speed, and a number of other tactics to help you not only place highest on Google, but lt your website resonate with the wedding couple and encourage them to schedule a tour. Hope you found this helpful :)