It is widely reported that more than 80 percent of prospective health club customers are using the Internet in some fashion prior to making a club visit or buying decision. So if you’re not at the top of the Internet search heap, then you’re not visible to prospective customers.
The majority of traffic your website receives is from search engines. A prospective customer inputs what they’re looking for, and a search engine delivers the answer. If the search engine cannot find your website, they’ll refer the user to a website they can find. Search queries — what a prospective customer uses to search — are what you should be designing your website around. You want a user to input keywords that direct them to your website. You also want the search engine to refer those users to your site, and not your competitors.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is your website’s way of speaking to the search engines, and ultimately how Internet users find your website. The objective of SEO is to create and organize content that is valuable to your customers with the ultimate purpose of increasing the number of visitors — and potential customers — to your website. SEO isn’t difficult to understand in concept, especially once you learn the basic strategies involved in optimizing the content on your website.
SEO Strategies and Myths
SEO is commonly confused with simple keywords. Yes, you use keywords in your content as part of SEO, but keywords are not the only aspect of SEO. And no, you can’t use the headline ‘Best Health Club’ and expect that alone to drive traffic from the search engines. Sometimes, effective SEO is as simple as reorganizing the pages on your website, while other times it is more complex and requires a complete rewrite of your content.
Before you implement a SEO strategy, it’s important to understand and avoid some common mistakes. Most of these myths were indeed true at the turn of the 21st century. But today, Google and other search engines have become significantly more sophisticated with the algorithms they use to ‘rank’ websites. Let’s take a look at three of the more popular myths.
#1: Keyword Density is Critical to Your Ranking
While keywords are important and density is a factor, it’s neither critical nor a silver bullet. Instead of worrying about how many times you’re posting a keyword on your website, just use them naturally in your content.
#2: Meta-Tags Are Crucial for Your Ranking
Your meta-tag is the brief snippet that makes Internet users want to click on your link. You can incorporate keywords if you want, but it’s more important to make that small amount of text pop to the reader — not the search engine.
#3: The More Links, The Higher Your Rank
Inbound links have lost their power. Search engines have made it clear that their emphasis is on quality, not quantity. Get links that are relevant to your services, products, industry and website. Any links you do put on your website must be surrounded by content relevant to your business too.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Cost-effective SEO is complex, and getting more complex every year. While it’s easy to understand the basics, which might be all your website needs to get started, you might need to enlist the help of an expert. Experts can help optimize your content and keep your website up-to-date on the latest search engine algorithm changes.
Tim Rohner is the VP of Sales and Marketing for Mpell Promotions, “Compelling Promotions for the Fitness Industry.”