Martial Arts Webmasters: Time to Optimize Your Site!
A few months ago I was looking through the search engines to see if my website was even found for certain keywords. Well it wasn't. I knew something needed to be done, because I was losing potential customers to my Martial Art and Self Defense Classes. As the Internet grows exponentially, the important of a web presence is important.
After reading countless articles, spending hours optimizing every aspect of my site, I finally started to see the results. Targeted geographical keywords hit # 1 in Google. The name of my company has over 9 million references on keyword searches for that name and My url is currently number 7 out of 9 million. Not bad huh?
Well lets take a minute to discuss the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Search engines like Google, MSN, and Yahoo use spider-web crawlers to seek out text content of WebPages. Spiders also follow links both internal to a site and external of the site to gather their information. The information they gather is used and to create the information you see when you do a search in a search engine. A complex logarithm based upon textual content, keyword density, inbound and outbound links, alt text, meta tags, etc are used to determine the SERP's (Search Engine Results).
Step one to Optimize is reviewing your Meta Tags. Meta tags tell the search engines spiders what information to report, rather than the spider guessing. Review your meta tags for Title, Description & Keywords.
Your Title should be somewhat descriptive of you website or product, rather than jus the name of the company. Instead of Joe's Dojo as the title of the site, it should be something like Joe's Martial Arts Dojo in XYZ, USA. This title will also act as a "keyword" to match a search engine inquiry for "Martial Arts XYZ USA".
The Meta Description should also use significant words to describe your style, geographical location, as well as the name of your website. This description also acts as "keywords" to match a search engine request.
Keywords are words that you wish your site would be referenced when someone does an Internet search engine inquiry. Your keywords should phrases that include geographical locations. Instead of Self Defense as a Keyword, the phrase "Self Defense Your city" will be more effective an appropriate. People 1000's of miles away form your location will not be taking classes at your location. Your goal is to maximize and be # 1 for your geographical area. Regardless if you have no direct local competition, search engines will create competition for you if in the real world none exist.
Once the Meta tags are optimized it time to review the content of your page. Website with tons of picture and graphics and smaller amounts of text content, may look nice, but are not search engine friendly. If you have java scripts, tons of graphics, and few words then you need to re-design your page. The more words the better, the more KEYWORDS that you can naturally included in your content even better. Spread the graphics to other pages. Your homepage should be content rich, graphic light, and summarize your "product".
Once you have a well written, keyword friendly content on your site, must make sure the internal linking and navigation is optimized. The entire website should have a site map, that is linkable from each page. Additional WebPages should have natural linking between topics and links back to the homepage. These Internal Links should be descriptive. Instead of classes, it should be "self defense classes" etc. Links and the wording of the links are the most important aspect in order to achieve your goals.
Finally after your web page is internally optimized, your focus must shift to external sources to improve your results via search engines. Here are several Key steps
1)Submit to DMOZ (Open Directory Project). Submit only once. It may take 6-9 months before you get listed, but wait 6 months before submitting again.
2)Submit to "free search engines", do this manually rather than the "submit to 10K for X $"
3)Look for link exchange partners to do reciprocal links.
4)Write and submit articles.
5)Use signature tags in all emails, Forum post etc that include your URL.
6)Keep updating content, adding new pages, and getting links.
If you follow these basics, do additional research on the term SEO, then your Martial Arts website will be seen in the search engines, increase your web traffic and your website could bring you customers to your Martial Arts Location.
Eric has been in the Martial Arts business for over 15 years and operates several websites.
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