Search Engine Optimization For LeagueApps Websites
By Brian Litvack
August 21, 2011
The sabermetrics of local rec sports is SEO. It’s the secret ingredient that can give an organization the edge over its competition.
SEO should be a key focus of your website strategy. By ranking highly in search results, a sports league website is easier to find for both perspective and current members. It will reap new players and teams. It can also help potential sponsors, marketing partners and local media find discover your organization.
LeagueApps is SEO friendly and allows league partners to optimize their website for search. We’ve coded our platform specifically to allow for optimization. The rest is up to you. The first step is to choose relevant keywords. Keywords are the search terms used by people who you want to find you league. You can use a tool like Google Keyword Editor to help see popular searches. Once you identify your top keywords there are a few simple steps to take that will improve your league website ranking.
Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure you are fully utilizing these SEO features.
CUSTOM DOMAIN NAME
LeagueAppps allows an account to have its own custom domain name. When choosing a domain it’s natural to first think about branding. But Google tends to give weight to keywords in the domain so there is also an SEO opportunity. Pick a domain name that is catchy so that other websites can easily link to your website (learn about inbound links below). Also, consider using a sub-domain or .org domain if the .com URL is unavailable.
For example, the domain for the LeagueApps demo website is http://leagueappsdemo.com. Try googling “LeagueApps demo” and guess what result is listed first!
HOW TO: A custom domain can be set up in “Settings” once you have acquired a domain (Check out GoDaddy to purchase a domain). Hit us up if you need any help.
Even if an organization already has an existing domain it can still optimize its URL’s for custom pages. The second part of a URL is the filename. Including keywords in the file name can help optimize specific web pages. If you want to use multiple keywords separate them with a dash.
HOW TO: In the Content section click to edit a custom page or create a new page. Edit the Internal URL field to update the file name and page URL.
PAGE TITLE and META DATA
Including keywords in the page title and meta data fields can further optimize your website. Every web page has a page title. It is usually displayed at the top of a web browser. Most web visitors don’t notice the page title so it’s real value is how it influences search rankings. It’s essential to have a unique, keyword focused Title tag on every page. If you want to include your league name, put it at the end.
Meta data is hidden within the code and not even visable to web visitors yet it is crucial for SEO. Meta data is the information that helps search engines to best recognize and index your web pages. The meta data descriptions are often used on the search results page. Include as many keywords as possible!
HOW TO: In the Content section click to edit a page or create a new page. Click on the Advanced Properties tab and add keywords to the Head Include, Meta Description and Meta Keyword.
Content is still king when it comes to SEO. Actual text content on webpages influence search engine rankings. The content should be well written and easy to read for both search engines and human beings. Although it takes a bit more effort to consider SEO, it’s well worth the effort. Beware of repeating keywords unnecessarily. This is know as “keyword stuffing” and search engines consider it spam.
HOW TO: Be sure to use content or copy that includes keywords on the homepage, for program details and anywhere you use the text editor or add custom HTML.
Perhaps the most important SEO concept is to get other highly ranked website to link to your website. These are called backlinks. Google uses backlinks as an indicator of relevancy, popularity and importance of a website. It’s fairly easy to modify a webpage for SEO but it takes more effort to influence other websites and get them to link to your website. This is why search engines regard backlinks as an important factor.
Make sure all of your partners are linking to your website and try and find other websites, blog and social media platforms (Digg, Yelp, del.icio.us, Facebook, etc.) to link website. Linking to your website from your Sportsvite league profile is a great way to build “link juice”. Quality links are also the best way for your site to be “spidered” so that your pages are indexed and appear in Google.
Hopefully, these tips will help you fully optimize your LeagueApps website. If you are using a web developer or designer to help you setup your LeagueApps site be sure to share this blog post with them. Shoot us a note if you have any questions or want to discuss SEO strategy.