My incredibly complex SEO strategy #Marketing & PR#Wedding industry advice#seo June 13 | Ariel Meadow Stallings offbeatbride Of Offbeat Bride's 500,000 unique monthly users ("unique users" being an analytics term, although my users ARE very unique in a more general sense), almost half come to the site from a search engine. The site is a top result for pretty common, non-offbeat searches like "wedding invitation wording," "wedding readings," "father daughter dance songs" and "first dance songs" and that's how about 15,000 people find Offbeat Bride every day. So the question then becomes, what incredibly brilliant SEO strategy did I use to get traffic like this? Here's my answer: Consistently produce original content people can't find elsewhere, and don't be shady. Really, that's it. I mean, there are a few other things I do, but I don't think they have nearly as much impact as simply consistently producing original content that hasn't already been published all over the web. "Curating" is for Pinterest. For Google (and people!) to like your blog, you need to do more than paste a bunch of photos you found on other people's websites. There's an entire industry that's built up around SEO marketing and consulting and for the most part, 90% of it is scammy. Google's algorithms are smart, and they reward sites that consistently produce original content and aren't shady. I do have a few other tips, but they're small potatoes: Use WordPress Use literal, descriptive titles (If you need to be clever, use colons: Clever title: literal descriptor. For instance: The unplugged wedding: couples tell guests to put down their devices) Follow this permalink formula: [location]-[descriptor]-wedding. For example: http://offbeatbride.com/2012/06/belize-ruins-wedding and http://offbeatbride.com/2012/06/arizona-nerd-wedding In picture posts, always make sure you describe what's in the photos with text But seriously? That's about it. Consistently produce original content people can't find elsewhere, and don't be shady. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Meadow Stallings Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives, loves, and dorks out hard in Seattle, WA. @offbeatariel @offbeatbride PREVIOUS My Pinterest drinking game NEXT The social psychology of the Share bar Show/Hide comments [ 13 ] In the first paragraph: "about come to the site from a search engine". About what? Reply About 45%. Reply I'm curious about using WordPress, and how using a certain platform helps with SEO more than over, for example, Blogger, which is Google's own platform? After reading further I realized I haven't been able to figure out how to alter my permalink in Blogger, but that can't be the only reason. I also agree about alt-text being super important and it's something I need to go back and fix on all my older posts. I really love this behind the scenes stuff, thanks! Reply Lots of discussion on this issue: http://ibuildbranding.hubpages.com/hub/best-blogging-platforms-for-seo http://www.kimoftheworld.com/12/wordpress-vs-blogger-and-their-pro-blogging-seo-and-social-media-advantages.html A WordPress install (not wordpress.com hosted blog, but a WordPress CMS install on your own server) simply gives you way more control over everything. Also, I think a self-hosted domain like offbeatbride.com is always going to be preferable to a hosted subdomain like offbeatbride.blogspot.com. I have no idea if it helps SEO, but I certainly think it gives your site more authority and credibility. 2 agree Reply I agree about the credibility of a "real" domain. It's a small investment that makes a huge difference. Thanks for the links! Reply I'm an SEO (I swear, I'm part of the 10% non-shady!) and I can definitely say that your own domain is vastly superior to a blogspot subdomain for SEO purposes. Reply I really appreciate that you all are GENUINE here, and NOT spammy, as opposed to…most other wedding sites. That is what will keep me reading here, even long after my wedding in a few months. Long live OBB! 😀 4 agree Reply I love this because it's true and it's not evil. In my job I am so tired of hearing about the brilliance of whatever super-awesome-marketing-guru-evangelist-of-seo a given client is working with. If I feel confident in my relationship with the client, I always tell them that all they're likely paying for are lame black-hate techniques that are shady and won't do much anyway. My big question is, how do you generate so much original content? Where do the story ideas come from? I know you have meetings and whatnot, but do you have any techniques for thinking up new stories? (I ask because the OBE, more than any other blogs I can think of, consistently produces original content). Reply Crowd-sourcing, baby! On Offbeat Bride, most of our ideas come submissions (real weddings) or the Offbeat Bride Tribe, where we see brides dealing with wedding challenges day after day after day. When we see issues come up enough times for enough people, we know it's time to crank out a post about the subject (or ask Tribe members if we can publish their work as a main blog guestpost). On Offbeat Mama, most of the content is reader guestpost subsmissions. We get a TON of submissions over there. On Offbeat Home (which doesn't have a forum OR many reader submissions) the ideas come from a mix of places… our RSS feeds, Pinterest, comments, our own homes, etc. 1 agrees Reply Secrets of SEO: 1.) Don't suck. 2.) Have good things. 10 agree Reply Thanks for this Ariel – very helpful, concise info! 1 agrees Reply This is actually amazing! I love to hear about the behind the scenes of the empire. Another thing that drew me to your blog is the focus on photos. Every new post has at least one photo, but beyond that there is a good mix of credited private photos, amazing "Ariel edits", reader submissions and creative commons photos. 1 agrees Reply A huge part of why I come here every day, multiple times a day, is that the comments are often just as helpful as the original content. Thank you so much for taking the time to moderate the comments and even respond to them! It really makes all the difference! 1 agrees Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Participate in this conversation via email No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. 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