For any business, having a blog is the ideal way to succeed in content marketing. As a caterer or event planner, you have tons of expertise to share, and sharing that knowledge on catering blogs can help build your client base. But sharing your blog posts on social media isn’t enough to broaden your reach. In order for blogs to get more clients, you need to show up in online search results.
There are several ways for food blogs to get the attention of search engines. You can build your blog posts around search engine optimization (SEO) and keywords relevant to your specialty. Also, regularly post content on your blog to keep it active and appealing to search engines, and to hold the interest of those who already follow you. And of course, focus your posts on topics that customers looking for catering and event services will be interested in reading.
What is SEO and Why Do I Need It?
Search engine optimization of blog posts is just that: you optimize your posts to make them findable by search engines. Sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. use an internet bot referred to as a “web crawler” or “spider” to scan websites and analyze their worth. If the crawler sees that you have quality, searchable keywords, fresh content, and a site that is easy to navigate, the search engine will index it and make it available to users of their platform. If you’re not indexed, you won’t be found.
There are two approaches to SEO that businesses can take in order to be noticed: black hat and white hat SEO. One is used for getting quick results but comes with highly likely negative outcomes, and another takes more time and effort to build but has a long-term payoff. As a caterer or event planner, you want a successful, long-term business, therefore your SEO should follow the same path.
Black hat SEO consists of sneaky tactics that focus solely on increasing the ranking of the website or blog in the search results. One tactic is stuffing too many keywords into a post or having a large block of text consisting of keywords irrelevant to the post itself. A caterer using black hat SEO might put a list of cities and states they want to market to in a block of text on their blog post.
This text does nothing for the person reading the post other than to distract them from the actual content, but it boosts rankings in search results. Following this and other black hat tactics can get your site banned from search engines, ruining your chances of increasing your client base with SEO at all.
White hat SEO is the good stuff, where hard work pays off over time. It takes a lot of effort to write quality content while weaving relevant keywords in your posts, but by giving your customers and potential customers something interesting to read and engage in, you can earn the trust of not only your readers but of search engines as well. Let’s examine some finer points of good SEO practices.
Consistent Content Creation is Critical
One of the things that search engines look at when crawling web pages is how fresh your content is. If you don’t post regularly or neglect your blog for a long time, search engines won’t see your content as being of value to users. Even if you posted some amazing cooking advice to your chef blog a year ago, if you haven’t posted anything since then, that advice may not be considered relevant by search engines anymore.
For some, one of the difficulties of keeping a blog is having a steady stream of topics to write about. But as a caterer or event planner, you have a variety of expertise to tap into. For example, wedding blogs can have posts about different styles of weddings, and since so many couples are straying from the traditional, formal wedding, writing a post about each style you’ve worked with can give you tons of possibilities.
Just like with social media, post frequency is important to consider. Freshness is crucial to SEO, but that doesn’t mean you have to post every day. When considering how often to post, also consider what content you are sharing. If you post long articles every day, readers might get burnt out and either stop reading or unfollow you entirely. If you post short articles once every week or two, you won’t have enough content to get the attention of search engines or the engagement of readers.
Food blogs that do a daily post of a recipe or quick cooking tips would do just fine, and catering blogs telling stories about types of events or more in-depth suggestions on event planning would do great on a weekly basis.
Using keywords in your posts is one of the easiest ways to achieve SEO success. Start by asking yourself, “What would people search for that I can help with?” and fit those words or phrases into your post. Remember to stay away from the black hat SEO tactic of overloading the keywords; place them strategically so they fit in with the flow of the content, making it a natural read for the customer and making it appealing to search engines.
Building on my wedding blog example from earlier, wedding planners can come up with keywords as simple as “wedding ideas” or as specific as “rustic weddings” or “DIY wedding décor.” The first example can be used by wedding blogs for nearly any topic, whereas the others are for more specialized posts. Using a combination of basic keywords and topic-specific ones give your posts a well-rounded SEO boost.
In addition to adding your keywords to the text of the post, add those keywords to the names of any images you use within your post. For example, if your post on DIY wedding décor includes pictures of finished products, add the keywords “DIY wedding décor” to the name. This way, when web crawlers scan your posts, it can easily index your photos so that they may show up in an image search, further increasing your reach.
Blog Writing Pro Tips
Now that you have some solid SEO knowledge, here are some tips on making your blog even more successful:
Make it mobile friendly. Google has started giving precedence to websites with mobile capabilities, so making sure your blog—and website—are easily viewed on mobile devices can score you points with search engines.
Keep a balanced length-to-frequency ratio. As I discussed earlier, long posts too often or short posts too infrequently can have negative effects. If you plan to post daily, keep the posts short, around 500 words. When posting weekly, aim for 1,000 words or more.
Write for your ICA. Consider your ideal customer avatar and create content specifically for them. As a caterer or event planner, you know your ideal customer and what they want from you. Provide them with content that answers common questions they have or offers ideas and suggestions on how to best use your services.
Aim to be featured in a Google Snippet. If you’ve done Google searches recently, you’ve likely noticed that often times there is a box that highlights a specific page and its answer to your query. Being featured in a snippet drastically increases traffic to your blog. But in order to get that recognition, you need to focus on building your general search engine rankings with good SEO, as blogs and websites need to be in the top ten results to have the best chance at getting featured.
Use links. Linking to other pages on your blog helps web crawlers learn about your site and see how easy it is to navigate. Those links are easy gateways for readers to view additional content, which makes your blog even more useful and likable by search engines. Additionally, backlinking, or having links to your blog from other places on the web. Be careful not to venture into black hat SEO territory with this. Posting links on websites can be considered spamming, so it's best to have colleagues and other bloggers willingly link to your posts.
Add keywords to sub-headings within your posts. Using section sub-headings within your posts makes them easier for readers to scan through for the information they are looking for, but adding your selected keywords to those headings has an even bigger impact than using them in the text alone. Search engines see the headings as indicators of what your posts and site are about, and seeing relevant keywords there makes it easy for crawlers to index your pages.
Content marketing by blogging is an excellent way to build your customer base, and following good SEO practices and strategically implementing those practices can bring great success to your catering and event business. By choosing useful keywords that customers and potential customers will search for, posting relevant topics regularly to keep your site content fresh and up to date, and making your site easy to navigate, your blog has a great chance to end up high in search engine results.