This blog comes with our Search Engine Optimization Checklist to ensure you are doing everything you can to improve your site's SEO.
Attract Prospective Members Using SEO
Creating a beautiful website to explain your value proposition to prospective members is important for any association, but getting those prospective members to find your website over your competitors is what matters!
When people perform internet searches in Google or another search engine, we want your association's websites to rise to the top! Websites with weak SEO get buried below the others, which significantly reduces the likely hood of being clicked on.
This blog is about using search engine optimizations strategies to create a steady stream of leads to your website.
From SEO To Member Lead Capture
Search engine optimization has been one of the most utilized digital marketing strategies used to drive long-term marketing results. By optimizing your content, images, links and metadata for search engine ranking, you can drive more relevant traffic to your site and turn more of those visitors into leads, members, sponsors and partners.
But how can we see who is visiting our site? Web users have their anonymity. We have to entice them to either contact us, or offer something of value that they would be willing to exchange for their contact information. This is called a lead magnet.
Lead magnets are easy to generate when you understand who your audience is and your association's value proposition. Use what you know about your membership to turn anonymous website visitors into leads by capturing their contact info. For help with this, download our Know your Membership Quick Guide & Worksheet.
Once you have built a solid foundation of content that begins to rank for relevant terms, you will develop trust with your prospects can and capture their info with lead magnets for future communication. Whether you are new to the SEO world or looking for some best practice tips, below is more information about SEO and 10 tips to get you started.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization". It increases the quality and quantity of website traffic, which keeps your brand and association's website at the top through non-paid search engine results.
Can SEO Be Improved?
There are several things you can do to bump up your website's standing in search engine results. If you want hands-on help with driving new prospects to your website, we invite you to a Marketing Roadmap Workshop. Keep reading for our top 10 easy tips you can take to stay at the top.
1. Enhance The User Experience
According to a study on ranking factors, the top four are website visits, time on site, pages per session and bounce rate. If your website is easy and enjoyable to use and offers valuable information, you’ll get more visitors, who will stay longer on your site and visit more pages, all of which improve your search ranking.
To achieve this, your website design should be user-friendly across all devices and easy to navigate for finding useful content. Read our blog, '7 Rules to Create a Great User Experience on Your Membership Site' to understand how improve the user experience on your association's site.
2. Publish Quality Content
Quality content is the number one driver of search engine rankings. That’s why content marketing is so popular. Quality content created specifically for your intended user increases site traffic and improves your site's authority and relevance.
New content should be published and updated on a regular basis, ensuring its quality and pertinence. Create your content relative to the target market. This means identifying your target clients and having your site's contents written based on what would be of interest and benefit to them. To learn more, watch our podcast episode 'Engaged Members Stay Members: Stop Chasing and Start Investing'.
3. Prioritize Backlinks
Backlinks are links from other websites to pages within your website. Importantly, these are one of the most heavily weighted Google ranking factors. Incoming links to your website's content from popular domains demonstrate your site’s authority, bring new traffic and improve your site’s search ranking.
There are a few things you can do to increase the number and quality of backlinks. First, publish keyword-rich articles on your site that others will want to read. Second, encourage visitors to your site to share your content on their own sites. Third, you can also send emails to reputable sites covering similar content requesting they use your content links in their site articles. Fourth, you can write joint articles with partners that can be posted on both your site and theirs, and each link to the other's sites. Watch our podcast episode 'How to Create Strategic Partnerships & Recruit Donors' to understand how partnerships allow associations to grow their membership by offering better value to their members.
4. Optimize Website Images
Optimizing your images is crucial to boost the speed of your site and to make it easier for Google to identify the images on your web pages. Make sure all your website images are compressed, have descriptive filenames, and include proper information, such as alternative text.
Whenever you use images, try to upload it in optimized image formats for the website — such as JPEG2000 or WebP — or you can use a plugin that will optimize your images automatically when uploaded.
5. Use H1 & H2 Header Tags
There is a strong correlation between a high Google search rank and the use of header tags in the body of your content. Header tags are also a great way to show the structure of content and emphasize key points, making it easier for the reader to find relevant information.
Make sure the main title of the content has an H1 tag. For example:
<h1>What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?</h1>
This <h1> represents what’s most important and easy to catch by search engines. Then use the H2 tag for sub-points in your content.
6. Use Title Metadata
The title metadata is responsible for the page titles displayed at the top of a browser window and works as a headline within search engine results. It is the most important metadata on the page. Make sure your content has a proper title that is at once complete and concise. Spend some time researching which words are best for your association and its website. The best practice is to aim for no more than 50–60 characters because that way Google displays it properly in its search results.
7. Place Keywords Strategically
The placement of keywords throughout the site is also an important SEO tactic. But don't overdo it. Make sure you don’t add ridiculous amounts of keywords — especially if they are unrelated to your core messaging — as this can lead to the site being flagged as spam. Search engine spiders are programmed to ignore keyword-stuffing. Create a list of important, relevant topics based on your business or industry and use these throughout your content in a contextually appropriate manner.
8. Use Description Metadata
Description metadata is the textual description that a browser may use in a page search return. A good meta description will typically contain two full sentences. The best metadata description length is between 50 and 160 characters.
9. Enhance Page Speed
Read our blog, 'How Responsive Web Design Helps Attract More Members' to understand how it can help enhance your page speed and improve the page load time.
10. Track Your Page Ranking
Keep track of your page ranking. Google Toolbar and Alexa are two popular tools you can use to monitor your page ranking. Other important tasks you can do are to check the referrer log so that you can monitor how visitors are coming to the site and the search terms they are using to find you (see "keywords" above for how to use these). We also recommend setting up Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager on your site. These make it easy to monitor the site on a regular basis.
The Importance of SEO
Search engine optimization is a continuous process. You need to keep an eye on it. If you don't stay on top of it, you might find your position in search engine rankings to be falling. Nothing can guarantee you the top position in search engine rankings, but a little hard work will greatly increase your chances. A few changes to your website can go a long way. We can help you identify these changes and turn your website into a marketing machine without doing a full redesign. We are happy to offer a Website Redesign Roadmap Workshop as a service to you.
Learn How To Improve Your Membership Site
Join an upcoming webinar or live podcast to learn more about member engagement, member retention and creating user journeys for your membership site!