As a sports club admin, you’re always looking for ways to generate more signups. That’s why you’ve spent so much time and energy on getting your website up and running smoothly.
But, it can be frustrating when all of that work doesn’t translate into as many visitors as you were hoping for. In this article, I'll show you how to turn that around by doing keyword research.
The Importance of Keyword Research
We established in our overview article that search engine success hinges on making sure your website matches what your target audience is searching for online — that is, the search terms or keywords that they use to find out about a club like yours.
However, not all keywords will land your site on page one.
Why? Competition. If dozens, or worse yet, hundreds of sites happen to be targeting the same keywords you are, the competition for page one will just be too intense for you to break through.
So, your job is not to target every relevant keyword your audience types in Google, but only those that share the following 3 characteristics:
- Your keywords have to have the right search intent — in your case, the intent to sign up
- Your keywords have to have a low keyword difficulty score — that is, very few websites must be competing for them
- Your keywords have to have a high monthly search volume — that is, a lot of people must be searching for them
How do you find these gems? By following the five steps outlined below
5 Steps to Find Keywords that Will Rank Your Site High on Google
Let's now look at the sequence of steps required to find the keywords that are most likely to land your site on page one of Google search results:
Step 1: Identify Your “Seed” Search Terms
To kick off the process of keyword research, you have to make a list of the various types of sports available in your club. These are going to be the “seed” terms that you’ll use to identify the best keywords ideas to target.
Here’s a sample list:
- Floor hockey
You’re going to use these terms in step 2 to generate the actual keywords you’re going to base your content on.
Step 2: Enter Your Seed Terms into a Keyword Research Tool
In order to find the right keywords to target, you’ll need an assist from a keyword research tool. These tools are constantly crawling the internet cataloguing the keywords different webpages rank for.
For this article I’m going to use the Ahrefs keyword research tool because it has the largest keyword database in the industry. Other popular tools are Semrush, Moz and KWFinder.
Unfortunately, these tools tend to be expensive. However, most offer free or low cost trials that can last anywhere from a week to a month, which is all you really need to do this work.
So, let’s take “swimming” from the list above and enter it into Ahrefs as a seed keyword. The tool will use its algorithm to generate the following keyword ideas:
So far so good. Now the question is, which of the above keywords should we focus on? We’ll answer this question in steps 3-5 below.
Step 3: Look for Search Intent
While the object of keyword research is to target those search terms that are the most likely to drive traffic to your club's website, not all traffic is necessarily good traffic.
Why? Because, if you drive traffic to your site that’s not interested in signing up for your club’s programs, then you’re not going to achieve your growth goals.
The question is, what determines whether the traffic you’re getting is good for your club or not? The answer? Search Intent.
For example, if you look at the keywords in the above example, you’ll see that “usa swimming” has a significant amount of monthly search volume, but the search intent of that keyword isn’t specific to a sports club.
“Swimming lessons,” on the other hand, sounds a lot more promising. Its search intent is much more closely aligned with your club’s goals. This is the work you need to do to sift through the different keyword ideas to find the ones that have the best chance of driving traffic that converts.
Having said that, if you find the perfect search intent but the keyword difficulty is too high (40 or more,) then it’ll be difficult for you to rank well for that keyword, even with great content.
So, what you need to do is to look for keywords with the right search intent and a low keyword difficulty score (30 or below), as shown in step 4.
Step 4: Look for Low Keyword Difficulty Terms
Going back to Ahrefs, let's sort the keyword ideas by keyword difficulty, from low to high score:
Now, you’re getting closer! So, say you choose to target “swimming for kids” as your keyword and plan to write a page of content about all the swimming programs for kids that your club offers.
With a difficulty score of only 14, if you were to create good content around this keyword you will likely end up on page one (once you complete all 7 modules in this series, that is.) Yet, you’ll be spending all that effort for a mere 150 searches per month.
Why not pick “swimming lessons for kids near me” with 900 monthly searches instead? Now you’re talking about almost 11,000 searches per year!
So, all you need to do to find your sweet spot is to identify those keyword ideas with the right search intent, low-keyword difficulty and a high monthly search volume, as shown in step 5.
Step 5: Find High Search Volume Keywords
You’re almost done. The final step in your keyword research process is to sort your list by search volume in decreasing order.
Let’s go back to the Ahrefs example
By looking at our list from this new perspective, it becomes immediately obvious that the clear winner is:
swimming lessons near me
(keyword difficulty = 3, monthly search volume = 11,000)
With 11,000 monthly searches, or 132,000 annual searches, we're talking big traffic!
Your job now is to devote an entire page on your site to address this keyword, for example, by describing the different swimming lessons offered by your club for different age groups, levels of skill, recreational and competitive programs, etc.
And keep in mind that this keyword idea is just for a single sport. Once you repeat this process for all your club’s sports, you’ll have a solid number of high quality keywords to rank for, which will make your website traffic skyrocket!
In module 3, we’ll cover content creation: how to craft the content for your chosen keywords in order to maximize your chances of landing on page one of search results!