SEO for Wineries and Vineyards: Increasing Wine Sales and Driving Tasting Room Traffic
September 8, 2023
Before getting into SEO, many wineries we worked with had tried other digital marketing and advertising campaigns to increase growth, such as running pay-per-click ads. But they couldn’t advertise their products exactly as they wanted on Google search or social media.
When you’re running online ads for wineries, you’re subject to more strict rules about what you can and can’t say if you’re advertising alcoholic products. This limits the control you have over your brand and your messaging – which can make your campaigns less effective.
SEO solves these problems by increasing organic traffic to your site (where you have complete control over your content and messaging) and focusing on local search queries to drive local foot traffic to your winery.
At Cove, we have executed full-service SEO-focused eCommerce growth for several types of wineries - from boutique wineries to estate wineries. In this article, we'll guide you through a step-by-step process of how we handle SEO for wineries, including:
- Our technical SEO process: Finding and fixing technical SEO issues on your winery site, optimizing site architecture for usability, and improving crawling and indexing. Fixing these technical SEO issues alone can often lead to a significant improvement in your site’s visibility on search engines.
- How we develop and execute content marketing: This involves everything from keyword research to actual content production. At Cove, we use target keywords with high buying intent and use an interview-based research process that helps us write authoritative content in your niche.
- How we use local SEO to drive local traffic to your winery: For most wineries, increasing your site’s visibility in local searches is key. This is how you get local business and community engagement (with tours, wine tastings, and other events). We can increase your site’s local visibility and drive foot traffic by optimizing your for local search queries and managing your business listings.
- Our link building strategies: We have several different link-building strategies that build authority and boost your website’s rankings. This includes everything from finding guest blogging opportunities to creating high-quality, shareable content (such as data-driven reports and polls/surveys about the wine industry).
To see how Cove can help your winery reach its specific goals, contact us for a consultation.
Technical SEO for Wineries
Step One: An SEO Audit
In our experience, many wineries outsourced their website development and were unaware if SEO best practices were being followed.
Everything about website development, starting with the eCommerce platform you use to host your site, matters when it comes to SEO. But unless your dev and website design team is part of an SEO agency (which isn’t common), you can’t trust that your website development will be done with a good SEO strategy in mind.
That’s why the first thing we will do for your winery is a full SEO audit.
Here’s a list of some of the common problems we find in an audit and how we fix them.
- Broken links: We identify and fix any broken links (404 errors) on your website. We either redirect these links to the most relevant page or replace them with functioning links.
- Duplicate content: We find duplicate content (which can confuse search engines and may lead to a drop in rankings) and fix it using the best solution, which could be: setting up 301 redirects, using canonical tags, re-writing existing content, etc.
- Bad user experience for mobile users: Google uses mobile-first indexing, so we will make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
- Missing meta tags: We will make sure all relevant pages have unique, descriptive, and SEO-specific titles and meta descriptions
You’ll likely see a boost in your site’s visibility just by fixing the technical SEO issues we found in our audit. And fixing those issues is a good first step before spending significant time and money developing and implementing future SEO strategies and content strategies.
But you don’t want to just quickly fix these issues without first having a good SEO strategy in place. Doing so won’t help maximize growth.
For example, let’s take a closer look at how we handle duplicate content found on your site.
Duplicate content can occur on a website due to various reasons (poorly set up URL parameters, copy and pasted product descriptions, website mirrors, etc). While duplicate content doesn't always result in penalties, it can hurt the visibility and rankings of pages that have duplicate content.
At Cove, we will address each occasion of duplicate individually and decide the best solution, whether it’s setting up canonical URLs or re-writing content, or re-directing URLs. We will make these decisions based on how they’ll help improve your overall site visibility and key metrics.
Curious on your site would score on an audit? Request an SEO audit from Cove.
We do an in-depth SEO audit of your site and provide you with a detailed report that shows how you can improve your site’s visibility by fixing technical SEO issues.
Step Two: We Optimize Your Site Architecture
Search engines need to be able to efficiently read your winery’s website site and categorize it – that way, they can recommend it to the right search queries.
We optimize your site’s architecture by looking at:
- Your site’s URL Structure: We audit URLs to make sure they’re SEO-friendly. We take a look at an example of good URL structure below.
- Your site’s navigation: Your website should be easy for search engines to navigate, with a logical and clear hierarchy. This is helpful for both users and search engines.
- How you use internal Linking: Internal linking helps create site structure and also helps your domain distribute page authority across your website. We conduct an internal link auditing, making sure that you're using internal links effectively and strategically.
An Example of a Good URL Structure
Here's an example of a good URL structure for SEO that can be applied to winery websites, including home pages, landing pages, product pages, and the blog:
Home Page: URL: examplewinery.com
A clean and simple URL structure for the home page is preferred, without any unnecessary subdirectories or parameters.
Landing Pages: URL: examplewinery.com/landing-page
Utilize descriptive words in the URL to represent the purpose or topic of the landing page. Keep the URL concise and relevant to the content.
Product Pages: URL: examplewinery.com/products/wine-name
Include a "products" subdirectory followed by the specific wine name in the URL. This structure provides clear categorization and helps search engines understand the purpose of the page.
Blog: URL: examplewinery.com/blog/post-title
Incorporate a "blog" subdirectory followed by the post title in the URL. This structure makes the blog section easily distinguishable and allows for concise and descriptive URLs for individual blog posts.
Step Three: We Improve Crawling and Indexing
We also make sure that your site is being indexed properly so we know it’s being read and registered by search engines.
To do this, we:
- Create and submit an XML Sitemap: This helps search engine bots understand the structure of your website and index it accordingly.
- Check your Robots.txt: We check to make sure your robots.txt is not blocking search engines from indexing important pages.
- Implement Schema markup: Schema markup is structured data. By implementing it on your site, we help search engines understand your pages better.
Step Four: We Monitor Your Site Performance
SEO is an ongoing process, and your winery likely has many moving parts in terms of content, web, and design development.
- We will help guarantee that changes to your site (design and content) are set up without creating new technical SEO issues.
- We will help keep your site updated and competitive as search engines update their algorithms.
If you’re interested in having your site audited to look for architectural navigational errors, contact us. Or, keep reading to learn how we help all types of wineries see an increase in rankings and sales by developing a winning content strategy, creating link-building opportunities, and optimizing their local pages for local search.
Improve Your Local Winery’s Sales with Local SEO
Local SEO is a major aspect of your winery’s business. Local search queries are almost always high-buying intent – with prospective customers looking for products within their area.
We’ve helped several wineries improve their local visibility. Below we cover just some of the strategies we use to get this done.
Google My Business Optimization
We will optimize your winery's Google My Business (GMB) profile, ensuring accurate and consistent information such as name, address, phone number, and operating hours. We will also optimize the description, select appropriate categories, and upload appealing images to improve the visibility of the GMB listing in local search results.
Doing this – and remaining active on your GMB listing – can help your winery move up in local Google search results.
Plus, ensure your business information is also in all relevant local citations and directory listings
In addition to setting up your Google business profile, we will build and optimize local citations and directory listings for your winery across relevant platforms. We will ensure consistent and accurate NAP (name, address, phone number) information is provided, helping search engines associate the winery with its specific location.
Location-Specific Content Optimization
We will also optimize your winery's website content, including landing pages, blog posts, and event listings, with location-specific keywords, such as “san diego wineries.”
We make sure these local pages are optimized using content optimization tools, along with the best practices of on-page SEO, including keywords in headings and meta descriptions.
We will also ensure that the website contains relevant information about the winery's local area, such as nearby attractions, events, and travel tips, to appeal to local visitors and enhance local relevance.
Implement Schema Markup
Implementing schema markup on your winery's website helps search engines understand the specific details of the business, such as location, contact information, opening hours, and customer reviews.
This markup enhances the website's visibility and appearance in search engine results, including local search features like rich snippets, maps, and reviews.
Focus on Local Links/Citation Building
In addition to the link-building efforts we listed above, we can also develop a local link-building strategy to acquire high-quality backlinks from local businesses, winery associations, tourism websites, and other relevant local sources. These links help establish the winery's authority and improve its visibility in local search results.
Some of the local link-building strategies we’ve used with past clients:
- Get their winery added to local business directories: This helps build local citations and improves your winery's visibility in local search results.
- Publish local media and press releases: We developed relationships with local journalists, bloggers, and media outlets. This lets us publish press releases about new wine releases, winery events, or notable achievements (such as winning awards and wine tastings). If your winery gets featured in local news articles or press releases, it can result in valuable backlinks and increased exposure.
- Collaborate with food bloggers and restaurants: We’ve also forged partnerships with food bloggers, culinary influencers, and local restaurants. For example, your winery can offer wine pairings for their recipes or collaborate on food and wine-related content or exclusive, invite-only tastings in your tasting room. This cross-over results in mutual promotion, cross-linking, and increased visibility for both parties.
By implementing these strategies, we can help a winery improve its local search engine rankings, attract local customers, and increase foot traffic to the winery's physical location.
Developing a Content Strategy (with a Focus on Conversions)
The number one mistake we see wineries make when developing an eCommerce content strategy is focusing on increasing traffic, not on increasing sales.
But when you focus on increasing traffic, you spend significant time and money on strategies that may or may not bring you any extra revenue.
At Cove, we develop content strategies for wineries with a focus on generating conversions.
- First, we work with your team to understand your target audience. We want to know who your best customers are. We want to know how they find your winery and what they love about your service and product.
- Then we come up with content ideas. We take the information we learned from your team and come up with topics. For example, if we learn most of your customer base came from people wanting to learn more about wine, then we’d come up with buyer’s guides to help that target that audience. If, on the other hand, most of your customers are actually already very knowledgeable about wine and were more looking for deals, then we’d come up with topics around finding specific wine brands at the best price.
- Then we find corresponding keywords. We find high-intent, buying keywords that correspond to the topics we came up with. These are keywords that are much more likely to find you new customers.
Here are some examples of high-buying intent keywords for a winery. Keep in mind these are hypotheticals, and the keywords we find for your winery will depend on your business model and target audience.
- Best type keywords, including “best price for Riesling,” “best organic wines,” “best wine subscription services,” “best low calorie wine,” etc.
- Alternative type keywords, including “best alternatives to moscato,” “best alternatives to expensive wine,” and “alternatives to merlot.”
- Comparison keywords, including “Riesling vs Chardonnay,” “Merlot vs Pinot Noir,” etc.
- How to / educational posts, such as “Where to buy affordable wine,” “How to get into wine,” “How much to spend on wine,” and “How to save money on wine.”
- Local keywords (if your winery has a local component), such as “best wineries in [city name]”, “best merlot in [city name],” “where to buy wine in [city name], etc.
Producing Authorative and SEO-Rich Content
Another big challenge for wineries is writing highly authoritative content that represents their industry and business while still being optimized to rank in search engines.
Usually, wineries take one of two approaches:
- Approach #1: They use an in-house team to write content. The problem is two-fold.
- First, their in-house team is usually stuck juggling other content and marketing tasks, so they can’t write content fast enough to see growth.
- Second, their in-house team isn’t writing with an SEO-led strategy. So while they’re writing informative content about wine, it isn’t ranking in the SERP (search engine results pages). And if a piece of content doesn’t rank, it can’t convert.
- Approach #2: They outsource content writing to an agency or contractors. The problem here is that outside writers don’t know your company and niche. They may have a basic understanding of SEO, but they’ll turn in content your editors need to spend a lot of time editing and revising.
At Cove, we solve this problem in two ways.
- First, we find writers with experience in your space. We use content writers who have written for businesses like yours before. This makes it easier for them to understand your products, business model, and messaging.
- Second, we use an interview-backed research process. Once we have our topics, we talk to members of your winery team to get the most helpful information about the topic.
With this interview-backed process, we can produce highly optimized content that follows the best practices in on-page SEO while making sure that content accurately reflects your winery’s core products and services.
Linkbuilding (Outreach + Campaigns)
Wineries have a lot of great opportunities when it comes to linkbuilding, thanks to the broadness of the winery niche and its global appeal.
Here are some of the strategies we’ve used before to increase link building for wineries.
- Reach out to wine associations and organizations: Join relevant wine associations, organizations, and industry groups. Many of these associations have websites with member directories or resource pages where you can get a link to your winery's website. Participating in industry events and networking opportunities can also lead to valuable link building opportunities.
- Guest blogging: Reach out to wine-related blogs, magazines, and websites and offer to write guest articles or contribute to their content. This allows you to showcase your expertise and include a link back to your winery's website in your author bio or within the content itself.
- Wine reviews and influencer collaborations: Send your wines to wine bloggers, influencers, and reviewers for consideration. Positive reviews or mentions can lead to backlinks to your website as they share their experiences or write about your wines.
- Winery events and sponsorships: Host or sponsor wine-related events, festivals, or charity fundraisers. Event websites or promotional materials often provide opportunities for sponsors to be featured with backlinks to their websites.
- Wine tourism and travel websites: Connect with travel websites that feature winery tours, wine trails, or wine tourism content. Request to be included in their listings or write informative pieces about wine tourism in your region with a link back to your winery.
- Social media engagement: Engage with wine enthusiasts, influencers, and wine-related communities on social media platforms. Meaningful interactions and sharing valuable content can lead to natural backlinks and increased visibility for your winery.
- Data-driven reports: We can do in-depth data-driven reports around wine, such as how it's consumed across the US. What states consume more wine than beer? Is white wine more popular than red? What’s the most an average person would spend on a glass of wine or an entire bottle?
Next Steps: Get Started with the Best Winery SEO Strategies
Above, we looked at how we have helped wineries with their SEO efforts.
Specifically, how we tailor our SEO marketing strategies to get you both:
- improved site visibility, and
- increased sales by targeting potential customers
Our SEO strategies are comprehensive – starting with a full-site technical SEO audit. We also develop content strategies to help grow your site’s organic traffic and optimize your site for local search queries.
For more information on our SEO services and how we can help your winery grow its business, reach out today.
Naman is the founder of Cove. He has 10+ years of experience executing SEO and growth for eCommerce and SaaS companies.
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