This two part series is designed to give school bands an advantage by incorporating better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for their websites. While private schools or universities may benefit the most from these ideas, any school band that wants to grow and recruit more top-notch players will benefit from this series. The implementation of effective SEO will also help drive audience attendance at concerts, and boost fundraising efforts. Part one of the series covered the importance of good SEO, includes some search friendly website design tips, and a guide to keyword choice. Part two (this article) focuses on tips, tools, and techniques for better keyword choice and placement, as well as link building strategies.
5 Tips for Better Keyword Placement
- The title tag of a website is the best place to put top keywords. Make sure that the title for each page in the site does a good job of describing the actual content on that site, but also targets specific web surfers.
- Incorporate the rest of your important keywords in to the headline.
- Keywords placed in the body text should focus on to 2-3 specific keywords per page.
- Meta tags are bits of data embedded in HTML code that provide information on any given web page. Meta tags should target prospective band members, be individualized, and be placed on each page of the site. Doing this will ensure that search engines will recognize your site as being relevant for top notch music education, and will increase the chance that a prospective member that randomly stumbles upon your band's site will actually visit it.
- Place keywords toward the top of the page rather than further down.
Search Engine Optimization is the practice of designing a website to include popular keywords and strategic linking structure in order to rank highly among search engines and drive traffic to a site. There is no point in having a great web page if no one is able to find it. The main components of SEO include, search friendly web site design, keyword selection and placement, and link building.
Links, Links, and More Links
Getting other highly ranked sites with content that is somewhat topically related to your band's site is critical to making your page rank highly among search engines. There is no shortcut to achieving this type of linking structure. It simply takes a significant amount of effort. The good news is you probably have a lot of entities willing to link to your site already. The following are the different type of links and linking strategies.
Inbound Links - A good place to start would be to contact anyone affiliated with your school or band and ask if they want to place a link on their site that directs web surfers back to yours. This type of link is called an inbound link. For more inbound link ideas, check out other school's websites and band pages and see who is linked to them.
Achieving a linking structure that appears natural to search engines will help achieve greater results. Getting highly ranked, topically relevant pages to link to your site is ideal. But, if links are obtained from sites not boasting these characteristics, it is likely to only help and not hurt your rankings. In general, the more inbound links you can obtain the better.
Reciprocal Linking - Some entities may only want to trade links. This is called reciprocal linking. Establishing a reciprocal link entails placing a link on your site directing visitors to another site in exchange for that site providing a link on their site back to yours. Search engines do not value reciprocal links very highly, but a few reciprocal links is not a bad thing as it will help achieve a more natural looking link structure. This idea also holds true with lower ranking sites. While you don't want to have a lot of low ranking site links, a few will usually provide a slight boost in your website's rankings, and also help achieve a more natural appearing link structure.
Anchor Text - Another factor that is pivotal to achieving a natural linking structure is establishing varied, keyword rich anchor text for each link obtained. Anchor text is the text displayed in the link on another page linking back to yours. If websites linking to your site are willing to accept suggestions for the anchor text, make sure each one varies and includes common keywords.
Website Content - One of the best ways to generate inbound links is to incorporate valuable content into your webpage. Other websites will be more likely to link to your site if it has content that is useful to them or their website's visitors. Hosting a blog for you band is a great way to attract inbound links, and search engines love them because they are constantly updated. In addition, blogs are also excellent tools for marketing, fundraising, and event promotion.
Blogs are also a great place to put keywords, as long as this is done tactfully. When incorporating keywords into the blog's text, be sure to look at the content from the users' point of view first, and strike a balance between the user and the search engine (priority always goes to the user). For information on how to optimize your blog for search engines read www.problogger.net. For more information on creating valuable blog content, visit http://www.buildabetterblog.com.
Similarly, consider creating a forum for your school's website or band page. A forum is great for site visitors, faculty, band members, and SEO efforts alike. Another great option is to post podcasts or video feeds on your site. For Example, if a respected music educator or performer speaks or performs at your school, post it as a video or podcast. Any of the above options are good alternatives for creating valuable content on your web page, a characteristic that attracts inbound links.
Effective planning and implementation of the components discussed in parts one and two of this series will certainly end in pleasing results. The payoff from focused SEO will be greater than most any other website centric effort. In due time your school band will begin to obtain the players and recognition it deserves.
Lance Trebesch (lance@TicketPrinting.com)
by Lance Trebesch and Colt Lapham
TicketPrinting.com is the leader in affordable online ticket printing for small-to-medium size organizations, companies, venues, non-profits, schools, associations, and clubs. Over the past 10 years, TicketPrinting.com has designed and printed millions of tickets for thousands of events, fundraisers, performances, concerts, plays, sporting events, raffles, parties and more.
Lance Trebesch, CEO of TicketPrinting.com, has a successful 18 year track record of technology and early-stage experience.
Colt Lapham, Education Segment Manager of TicketPrinting.com, is a marketing graduate from Montana State University, a former music major, and working musician in the Bozeman MT area.