Industry news

09 May 2018 Andy

5 things you can do today to boost your membership website's SEO

Your membership website, whether new or long-established, might not rank well for phrases that you want to attract traffic for. These phrases might be general phrases to attract potential members, enticing them to join, or to get current members to book onto an event or download a resource.

The plus side of improving your search engine ranking of your own website is that often the changes also aid users of your website, so it’s a win-win scenario.

To rank well in search engines like Google and Bing, a combination of things you do on your website, and things you do off your website are considered. Today we are concentrating on 5 things you can do on your website to improve your standing in search engines. The tips don’t require too much technical knowledge or search experience.

So without further ado, here are the tips:

1) Improve your speed

Namely the load time of a page, speed is an important part of the search engine equation. A search engine would rather not direct users to pages that are slow to load as it would reflect badly on them. One issue that crops up often with slow websites is the size of images, meaning the dimensions of the image and the file size of the image. The larger the image, the longer it takes to load the page.

Tip: Reducing image sizes means faster page loads for visitors, meaning happier visitors, and also points gained in the eyes of search engines. Before adding images to your website, aim to shrink them to a sensible size and then compress the file size using a service like TinyPNG. If you have images on key pages of your website that are too large, consider replacing them with optimised versions.

2) Add fresh content

No doubt you are adding new content like news and events to your membership website anyway, but perhaps consider a different kind of content to add. New content appeals to users as it adds value to membership, and also can have positive effects in search.

Tip: One great benefit of writing new content is that it can get linked to from other websites. This is great for your search presence as links to your website are (usually) seen as a positive by search engines.

Instead of simply writing a new news article, which may have a small element of interest to current members, consider some high value, open content. This should not be hidden behind a membership area and should offer some useful advice, facts and opinions thus enticing people to read and consider joining but also link to it.

3) Fix broken links

Especially with established websites, links around a website or to external websites can end up broken due to content being moved or deleted.  This is not a great situation for search or visitors and can often be an intimidating task to start.

Tip: Whilst doing this manually, using a tool like Dead Link Checker can speed things up. Either fix broken links from your webpages to others or if there is no new version of the link then redirect the link to somewhere relevant.

4) Link around your site

Again, this one helps users and search engines. Linking from the body copy of your page can help guide users around your website and also help search engines discover and better understand your content.

Tip: If you have a good opportunity to do so, link from your body copy to another page. Ensure the link makes sense alone, without the need to read around it, and you’ll find it works well for search and visitors.

5) Check your titles

Every webpage has a title. It is what shows as the blue link in a search engine results page. It is also shown as the name of the tab on your browser. As well as showing up in these two places, it is used as a factor when deciding how to rank a page. If you’re titles read as something quite general like “home” or “about us” then you could be missing out on search traffic.

Tip: Ensure that your titles are useful and enticing when they show up in search engines. As well as this, consider putting a small phrase - something you wish to rank for – in your title. So, for our website here at Senior, we might avoid using a title such as “service - website design” and instead use something like “Web design for membership associations” – it’s more attractive in search results and is something that is relevant to the page.

Now, put all the tips into practice

All of the tips above should be possible to action in one day, depending on the size of your website. One main takeaway with the tips here is that if something is good for your users, chances are it is good for search.

If this article has inspired you to start thinking more about search in your website efforts then great! If you work for a membership organisation and think a new website or some search consultancy would help then by all means get in touch and we can talk about the options you have.

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