Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SEO and User-Friendly Content

As an AYSO webmaster , you have your work cut out for you. Even to many seasoned webmasters, the dos and don’ts sometimes seem to be written by aliens in another language. You probably wear many hats and have many other tasks to perform as well, so making sure that your website is search engine friendly can sometimes fall by the wayside. Today we’re going to briefly discuss SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and how you can perform a few easy tasks in your day-to-day website upkeep to make sure your website stays code-modern and content-focused.

1. Get in the niche
We’re all about soccer! What does that mean for your website? Try to think about terms that folks will search for, and incorporate them into your content whenever possible. Phrases like “Local Game”, “Youth Soccer”, “Pick-Up Games”, these can be valuable for improving your search engine results. If there are ways to make your tour or activity even more specialized, then you might want to consider them. Perhaps you could mention your town, city, state, local fields where games are typically played? Providing a specialized offering means that the content you create for your website content in general will be more relevant to you, and therefore, your target audience.

TIP: As a specialized webmaster, you are the expert! Share your knowledge with good key words and phrases!

2. Use high-quality descriptions
Your activities are what people are looking for! Provide well-written descriptions of what families will experience in your Region. Rich, descriptive, highly-informative content not only tends to rank better in search engines than short descriptions, it makes for a more fulfilling user experience. Since you are taking the time to create a wonderful site for your customers, why not take the extra time to fully describe the events and services you offer.

TIP: What’s your ideal word count? Find a happy middle ground for your website articles and pages, and stick with it. Be informative, but keep the length comfortable!

3. Make a video of your activity
Even a fun cell phone video can add to the user experience. Do your kids bring their camera phones to the events? Perhaps hold a contest for the best video, and then share it with all of your users. Video can really give folks a sense for what they will experience at your games or Region events, and a cross-website linkup between your website and sites like YouTube and Vimeo can give your website extra attention and traffic.

TIP: Remember, home videos have a fun, friendly, family appeal. You needn’t be a pro video editor to have an excellent media experience for your website guests!

4. Write interesting topics
This may sound like a no-brainer, but there is a world of interesting soccer-related content that could spice up your website in addition to information about your local activities. Just imagine the kinds of things that you talk about with your fellow volunteers or AYSO parents when they are at an event with you and write about those experiences! Anything from how AYSO has enriched the lives of families and friends, to the history of the fields in your area, the history of the game, the activities of the volunteers, the list goes on.

TIP: Any time a writing idea comes up, toss it into a hat. Keep the hat for those days when ideas are running low, but never throw anything away. A not-so-great content idea today may inspire something great tomorrow!

5. Connect the dots
Inter-linking with your text can improve your search engine results, and also give users a fun and informative experience by helping them bop around your website easily and quickly. When you write those great new posts about your team or event or experience, don’t forget to link to your other pages! Are you writing about an event that happens annually? Link back to the news from the past, photos from the events, contact pages relevant to the events, etc.

TIP: Are you writing about your local volunteers who might have their own stories and things to say? Ask your volunteers to write about their experiences!

Consider these simple “good practices” for web maintenance, not just for the sake of SEO, but to keep your website as user-friendly, informative and fun as possible.

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