SEO For Florists Part 1: The Basics
FloristWare doesn't do websites. Instead we focus on providing the best possible integrations with the best floral website providers so that our florist clients can choose what works best for them. We don't get into SEO either – there are a lot of self-proclaimed SEO experts out there but you won't here any such claims from us. We believe in leaving SEO to the experts.
Having said that we can offer florists some very solid, very basic advice on finding, hiring and working with experts.
Hire an Expert
SEO, particularly for florists, is really hard and you need expert help to come up with a solid foundation and a plan for the future.
Of course an informed customer is always better. You would probably rather deal with customers that know at least a little about flowers, their care, etc., and you should try and understand the very basics of SEO basics so you are a more informed consumer.
But that is very different than trying to do it all yourself. You would discourage a customer who wanted to prepare the casket spray for a loved one wouldn't you? There is just too much background knowledge and experience that goes into making something like that for it to be practical for a 'civilian' to learn.
So too it is with SEO. It is an incredibly complicated and always-changing field. Staying truly on top of it is a full-time proposition, not something you can do on a part time basis. Save that energy for blogging – it may be less glamorous but it is incredibly important. More on that later.
Hire a Real Expert
SEO is so complicated that anyone explaining even long outdated and debunked SEO concepts with confidence can seem like an oracle. Look for references and examples of real long term success.
Use Your Blog
If a true SEO expert has laid a good foundation for you it will almost certainly include a blog on your own site (the site that you want to perform well in search).
Use it. Often. This will be key to your success in search and it's up to you, not the SEO consultant, to provide it. It's hard but try and create meaningful content that would be of interest to your customers.
Be Patient and Keep At It
Everybody wants florist SEO to be a one time thing - pay somebody once and stay at the top of the rankings forever. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that.
There is a lot of competition for the few positions at the top of the search results. The rankings will go to the websites that have a solid SEO foundation coupled with an ongoing commitment to good content. That last part is up to you, not the SEO consultant. A lot of this is like anything else - the winner is the one that works the hardest.
Don't Get Distracted
The blog has to come first.
Unfortunately creating good, meaningful content for your blog is hard. Facebook on the other hand is enjoyable and, if you aren't careful, you can spend far more time "working" on Facebook than your blog.
Take a "no pain, no gain" approach. How often is something delicious good for you? How often is a fun, easy exercise really effective? How often does something you enjoy really help your business?
Put the blog first and make a little Facebook time your reward for writing a solid blog post. Or consider Facebook primarily a social activity for evenings and weekends and use your working hours to focus on your blog.
Don't Assume The Search Results You See Are What Anyone Else Sees
Almost all of us have tried searching for ourselves, our businesses, etc. but your results are very likely to differ from what others see. You may not be doing as well (or as poorly) in search as you think.
Search engines filter your results based on things like your location and past behavior. Conducting your own searches is, for the most part, not a reliable way of evaluating your search performance unless you know some specific browser tricks. If you are evaluating your search performance by conducting your own basic searches it is unfortunate but you probably aren't ranking as well in the real world as you think.
Avoid Buying Links
I have seen florists with websites that already performed well in search really suffer because they chose to buy a big collection of shady links. They ended up worse off than when they started!
Buying links can seem a quick and easy fix but it is really a ticking time bomb that eventually leaves the business owner desperately using the Google disavow tool to try and undo the damage. If your SEO consultant suggests this you should proceed very, very cautiously.
If you are in Tiny Little Town Nebraska improving your standings in search may be relatively easy because there isn't much competition. But being a top three result for a search almost nobody makes is not going to do much to increase clicks or sales. SEO can't generate traffic from searches that don't take place.
Alternatively climbing to the top for "Chicago Florist" or "New York Flower Shop" will be harder. If it was easy anyone could do it.
Hire an Expert!
This one is worth repeating! Before spending all that time writing all those great blog posts talk to a real expert and make sure your site is optimized to take full advantage of all your efforts.