Optimize Your Martial Arts School Website Using SEO for More Qualified Traffic
If you’ve got a website for your martial arts school, getting your site ranked to the top of the search results is your next order of business. Ranking in the top 10 isn’t easy. But with a little help, you can start to get crawl your way up the results. The process of getting higher rankings is called search engine optimization.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization, or SEO as it is often called, is the process of getting more qualified traffic to your martial arts schools website from the search engines using targeted keywords. The goal is to get to the number one spot for those targeted terms as that is where the most amount of people click.
You can sit around waiting for Google to index you page for the right key terms or you can try and help them derive relevancy from your site. Relevancy in search engine rankings is everything, particularly in Google.
The search engines send out automated bots called “spiders” to crawl your martial arts website to review it’s content, title tags, how many sites link to it, keywords used, linking structure, and more.
Think of a spider as a reviewer of your site that comes in, takes a look around, then tells the search engines what it found. If it didn’t like what it found, you don’t tend to rank well in the search results.
Why SEO Is Important to Your Martial Arts School
The greater majority of my student base originally found me online. The rest are referrals that came as a result of the getting students from my website after ranking well for the search terms I discovered people were using to find my martial arts schools website.
Why should you care? I now have over 100 people on a waiting list. Believe me, this works and can help get more people than you can handle if you do it right.
SEO Factors & Influencer’s
Here are some of the primary factors that can influence your rankings in the search engines:
3. Meta Description
5. Body Copy
6. Be Bold
7. Internal Linking
9. Site map
10. Inbound Links
Keywords are individual or grouped terms that you use to attract a targeted audience. They help influence your rankings in the search results pages.
Your ultimate goal should be to get higher rankings on terms that bring highly targeted and qualified people to your website.
Ranking for terms that are too general (”martial arts”) won’t bring in more students; particular if you are one martial arts school owner in say the middle of Utah.
It would be far better to rank for the keyword phrase “Salt Lake City Utah Martial Arts” as people who are typing this search phrase likely live in that city and are looking for martial arts lessons for themselves or their children. Talk about a qualified search!
QUICK TEST: Open up Google.com and type in “Martial arts <insert your city + state>” and see where you rank. If you’re not on the first page, and are not #1, 2 0r 3, you need to print this article and get to work!
One of the best things you can do is have each page target a particular keyword or keyword set to maximize your coverage in the search engines.
Title tags are the phrases that are at the browser window. For example, this page uses a title tag of “Top 10 SEO Tips for Martial Arts School Websites.”
This is on the of most important items on your page because this is the first place the search engines look to determine if the content on your page matches a particular search query. If the keywords in the title match the search query that was entered, then the search engines think that page must be relevant.
In addition, the title tag also becomes the link in the search results pages so it’s important to structure this appropriately. They should be keyword rich and describe accurately what is found on the page.
Keep your title tag to 60 characters in length to keep visible in the search results to avoid being automatically truncated. They have limits on what they’ll display so be sure to keep this in mind.
These aren’t visible on page but are rather embedded in the HTML code of your page and are placed in the “HEAD” tag of each page.
While this doesn’t directly impact your rankings, it does help to provide context as to what can be found on the page to help influence people to click on the link after performing the search.
Each and every page should have its own, unique description that accurately describes the pages content. It should also use the keywords you are targeting that can also be found in your title tag.
Keep these between 150-200 characters, otherwise, they too will be automatically truncated by the search engines.
A headline helps a page’s content stand out and should accurately describes what can be found on that page.
It should be keyword rich whenever possible and should also use the HTML code <H1> to give it weight for the search engines.
Each page should have it’s own unique keyword rich headline and entice people to read further and pique their interest.
What you write on each page is important. Therefore, writing good quality, high value content is one of the best investments in SEO you can make. It should be unique, detail rich that uses keywords you’ve selected for each page.
You should be adding new content to your site every month to train the search engines to come back often and re-spider your site. The more content you produce more frequently, the faster the spiders come back to your site.
In general, I would shoot for about 300-500 words in length on each page.
Once you have each page written, go through each page and start to bold the most important keyword phrases. Don’t over do this tactics as it makes nothing stand out and reduces the potency of the items you are trying to emphasize. This tells the search engines you place more emphasis on those words than all others. You can also use italics to accomplish this. I recommend using both methods for best results.
Go through your site page by page again and now look for ways to add links from your content to other pages on your site.
For example, you can add a link every time the name of the martial arts system you teach appears on a page then link it to a page that talks specifically about your art.
This serves two purposes, it helps the spidering of your martial arts website from the search engines and it also helps users when they don’t what your system is all about. It also helps give a little link juice to those pages as how many times a page is linked from within a site gives it importance to the search engines.
Be sure to link using targeted keywords and to be judicious in the keywords you use as the anchor text of the link. Don’t over do this as it can reduce link potency as well as make the page hard to read.
Related to internal linking, your navigation is one of the main factors the search engines use to determine how important your pages are. If it’s in the navigation, the search engines think it must be important.
Shallow navigation means that you have a ton of links in your navigation and there are no silos – primary links with several sub pages underneath it. More links in the top navigation usually means fewer sub pages can be found in each category.
Having a deep navigation structure means there are only a select few top-level links/silos in the primary navigation. Using this method, there are several sub pages that fall into each silo.
- About Us
- Our History
- Instructor Bios
- Our Facility
By having fewer links in the navigation, you’re telling the search engines they are the most important pages. Therefore, I recommend using a “deep” versus “shallow” navigation structure.
Once you have your content all done and optimized, you’ll want to create a page called a “site map” that links to every single page on your website.
It not only helps the spridering process, it also helps you to once again use keywords to describe a page and give it more chances to get ranked better in the search engines.
Once your site is optimized using tips 1-9, you can’t have enough high quality links from other websites pointing to it.
Aside from producing high quality content each month, you should try and work to get links pointed to your site at the same rate.
The search engines look to see how many links are pointed to your site to determine how “good” it is. If there aren’t any links pointing to it, it must not be a good or trustworthy site. In contrast, if a lot of links point to it, it must be good as people are endorsing it by linking to it.
Always try to get links from websites like the chamber of commerce, martial arts associations and other trustworthy martial arts related websites. Avoid getting links from unrelated sites as the search engines factor this into your rankings.
Hopefully this begins to give a better idea of what search engine optimization is and how it can help you get higher rankings.
What other tips would you give regarding SEO or search engine optimization?