Take Your Website to the Next Level with Off-Page Optimization

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!

Association Websites Thrive on Fresh Content, Strong Calls to Action

Website strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. You need a disciplined approach, a relentless plan, and a committed support team. But there’s no finish line. You have to keep earning points.

We’re building up to the 10 Steps to Retooling Your Website. Here are two more.

Step 7 Gather content

Refer to the tables introduced with Step 6 in Boost Your Association’s SEO with On-Page Optimization. Think about the basics you want on each page of your site and make a plan to gather or produce the required content. Content can include graphic elements, member testimonials, articles, videos, contact information, maps and directions, and calendar of events.

The Blogging Advantage

Relevant content is the best way to ensure a loyal following and secure the top spot, not only among your target audience, but also the search engines. A blog keeps your content fresh and dynamic. Google will reward you with more traffic.

“Blogging gives you an unfair advantage in Google’s search results, or SERPs,” says Association Hub Expert Jim Beretta. “Even if you have a mediocre blog, you will still outpace your competition, especially if they have no blog.”

Gated vs. Un-gated Content

Beretta says most associations struggle with whether or not to gate their content. Gated content requires contact information or a member ID and password to access it. Un-gated content is open to all site visitors and readily available for human consumption. More importantly, un-gated content is accessible to the search bots.

If you buy custom essay online you will not be able to choose a specific custom essay topic. This is no good if you need a term paper on a specific topic. Often these sites do not measure up. Online essays also may already been used by thousands of students. The last point is that many students have reported buying a online essays and getting failing grades!

You want to remain top of mind with your target audience. You want to be recognized as the thought leader in your industry. To be the go-to association, you have to earn it. So why hide your valuable resources under lock and key?

“That’s old fashioned thinking and short-sighted,” says Association Hub Expert Peter Wright. “Would you want content locked up for your members only, because that’s how you think you add value? Or would you rather have an unbelievable site that everyone in your practice area sees as an amazing resource?”

Don’t hold your content hostage. You’re retooling your website to be found. Membership recruitment, retention and engagement depend on it.

“Your content is a great asset, but monetize your association or website through another method,” says Beretta. “Whether it’s to attract membership or brand credibility, your content should be available to everyone. But be sure to include strong calls to action on each page.”

Step 8 Make detailed layout (conversion-focused) decisions

Calls to action drive conversions. This is when you convert engagement to measurable results. Decide what action you want your site visitors to take on every page and adjust your content and layout accordingly. Do you want them to look at your product list? Do you want them to call you? Do you want them to place an order or register for an event?

Create a call to action on every page.

“You have to earn your audience,” says Wright. “Then you have to be clear on what you want them to do.”

Wright and Beretta will bring clarity to website strategy and SEO. Learn more at their April 23 workshop. Don’t miss the last two steps in our next post.

Boost your association’s SEO with on-page optimization

Website strategy and SEO are not a dark art. But they do take discipline and attention to detail. Critical details that keep you top of mind with your association members.

Our previous post introduced the first three of 10 Steps to Retooling Your Website. Now we’ll cover the next three.

Step 4 Choose a look and feel

Consider what colors and shades best represent your association, and how words and images work together to deliver your message. For ideas, visit a site that sells website design templates or browse sites in your industry. Bookmark several that catch your eye. Then list the changes you would make to improve these templates. This will give your website developer a better understanding of what you envision for your site.

Step 5 Start measuring stats on your current site

Even though you will be retooling your website, you need a baseline of statistics from your current site to compare with your retooled site, so you can identify areas for additional improvement. Sites such as gooble.com/analytics and statcounter.com can help.

Step 6 Create detailed page tables

Now you will create page tables detailing all the changes you need to make to your retooled site. The key is to make your association’s website appealing to search engines, but without making it incomprehensible to humans. Using a template, you will create a table for every page on your site.

This vital step covers on-page optimization and is where you get an initial boost in your search engine rankings by addressing low-hanging fruit. Those all-important primary and secondary keywords you identified in Step 2 will be given priority and proper emphasis. Your h1 and h2 header tags should contain your primary keyword pairs created in Step 3. You will also tag (label) each image with a description, plus the keywords for that page, so the search engine spiders can properly identify and catalog them.

Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Association Hub Experts Peter Wright and Jim Beretta will walk you through the entire process during their April 23 workshop. An on-page optimization template will be provided to all participants. Every page of your new website will be optimized for the SERPs.

“Do not skip this step,” urges Wright. “Take the time now to define each page. This will ensure your web developer does exactly what you want, and it will save considerable time and confusion overall. By following the template, you will translate your keywords into website traffic.”

Remember, on the Web if you’re not relevant to Google, you’re irrelevant.

In our next posts we’ll discuss content, call to action and off-page optimization.

Retooling your association website starts with keywords and power pages

Most associations recognize that their website is in dire need of improvement. They just don’t know where to begin.

“In every strategy session I’ve ever done with associations, and I’ve probably done 50 of them in the last five years, website overhaul always comes up as one of the biggest priorities, and obstacles,” says Peter Wright. “In terms of SEO, most associations don’t know how to do it and they don’t put any effort into it.”

Association Hub Experts Peter Wright and Jim Beretta will take the “magic” out of search engine optimization and provide associations with the tools needed to embark on a clear strategy for maximizing website reach and effectiveness. Their April 23 workshop will walk association staff through the strategic process and the 10 Steps to Retooling Your Website step-by-step.

Step 1 Audit your site

In this step you will assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current site, making sure to identify broken links and other errors as you progress through the audit process. Various tools are available on the Web, such as whois.domaintools.com where you can check your SEO score. Wright and Beretta will review additional tools during the workshop.

As noted in previous posts, a successful association website requires a strong SEO strategy to keep you top of mind with your audience. To do that, you must understand what your target audience is looking for when they search the Web. You must identify those critical keywords.

Step 2 Choose your primary and secondary keywords

This is the single most important step in retooling your website. You want a list of at least 12 primary keywords that are most important and account for the highest traffic. Then you want up to 30 secondary keywords.

“If you’re a hotel located in Ontario, then you better have ‘Ontario hotel’ on your home page (and several other pages), because that’s what people will be searching for,” says Wright.

By the end of the workshop, your association staff will leave with your relevant keywords in hand. You will also learn how to build a Power Page.

“People always focus on only getting their home page ranked higher on the search engines,” explains Wright. “But most association websites have at least twenty if not hundreds and thousands of pages. We want to get as many pages returning results on Google as possible. We’re not only trying to build power on the overall site. We’re trying to build power across all the pages on a site, so that we’re seen as the thought leader for all things that pertain to our industry or practice area.”

Step 3 Choose your preliminary site pages

Each page should be based on two to three keywords that make sense together. For example, ‘strategic planning consulting’ and ‘business planning consulting’ work well together.

“We take a pair of each of those primary keywords that make sense together and build a Power Page around each pair,” says Wright. “At the end of this step you should have a written list of pages with the name of each page, the primary keywords, and the URL.”

Avoid the temptation to retool your site with hundreds of new pages all at once. Google rewards ongoing improvements to your site. Build a strong foundation first. Then add new pages over time.

In our next post we’ll preview steps 4-6, including on-page optimization. Stay tuned.