In our last three posts we’ve been previewing the 10 Steps to Retooling Your Association Website. Before we reveal the last two, let’s recap.
1. Audit your site
2. Choose your primary and secondary keywords
3. Choose your preliminary site pages
4. Choose a look and feel
5. Start measuring stats on your current site
6. Create detailed page tables
7. Gather content
8. Make detailed layout (conversion-focused) decisions
Step 9 Make early off-page decisions
Off-page optimization has dozens of components, but almost all are related to the number, quality, relevance, and importance of inbound links to your website. Off-page should be an essential part of your website strategy, but only after you execute a solid on-page strategy in Step 6 (see Boost Your Association’s SEO with On-Page Optimization).
Google’s algorithms track which sites link to your website to determine your rank on the SERPs. Links from other sites with higher status, traffic, or relevance are gold.
Off-page is a bit of a popularity contest. One way you can win admirers is by creating quality, evergreen content that other sites want to share with their audiences (Step 7 – The Blogging Advantage). Hint: Reciprocal linking benefits both parties.
Links can come from referrals and mentions in other sites’ articles, blogs and wikis. Does your association have a Wikipedia page? Links can also come from photos and other graphics on your site cataloged by Google images. Hint: Tag your images so the search bots can find them.
Association Hub Experts Peter Wright and Jim Beretta will cover all the ins and outs of off-page optimization during their April 23 workshop. If you missed it, just respond to this post and we will email you a simple template.
Beware the perils of black hat SEO tactics. On the Web, if it seems too good to be true, it is. If somebody says you can buy a thousand links for 50 bucks, walk away.
“You shouldn’t try to fool Mother Nature or Google,” says Wright. “You could be severely penalized to the point where your site is D-listed and you’ll never be found. Google considers it a real mark of excellence to have links from high-quality websites.”
Wright also cautions against keyword stuffing and multiple websites for the same content.
Step 10 Develop (code) your website
Finally, it’s time to actually code your site. If you love one of the design templates you collected in Step 4, buy it and ask your website developer to use it as a starting point. Provide the detailed page tables and all the content you created in earlier steps.
Follow the 10 Steps to ensure your association’s website development is done correctly and efficiently. It should also be cheaper, because the bulk of the hard work is already done.
Once your retooled site is live, review your stats on a regular basis. Make changes, updates, and add new pages as often as possible. To stay top of mind, you have to earn it and stick with it.
There’s only one way to the top of the SERPs. Start climbing!