With 4.5 billion Google searches a day and 7.6 billion people on earth, there’s no doubt that the entire world has gone online!
Google is the first place we go to for information before we make most decisions. In fact, search is so central to people’s lives that it now drives over half of all website traffic worldwide.
Here are some stats you’ll find surprising. Out of 100% of all website traffic:
- Only 5% originates from social media sites
- Only 15% originates from online ads
- A more respectable 27% comes from people directly typing a URL on their browser (i.e. they know the brand) or clicking a website link sent to them by other people
- BUT a massive 53% comes from search engines alone!
Source: Search Engine Land
Here is another piece of info that is perhaps a little less surprising: Google commands a nearly 80% market share of global search.
If you figure out how to rank your club’s website high on Google search results, then you’ll be tapping straight into the engine that drives the most traffic to websites around the world — including yours!
The 7 Building Blocks Required to Rank High on Google Search
Now, I’ll be honest with you. There are a lot of moving parts to do this in one go so I’m going to break it up into 7 modules that are easy to digest.
I’ll publish each building block every two weeks to give you a chance to first find your feet, then take it all in and finally implement all the strategies you’ll need to rank your club’s website high on Google search results.
At some point, you may need to seek the help of some volunteers, maybe parents or friends who love to write, to collaborate with you on your content as you take on the more technical tasks.
Like in sports, this will be a team effort that, as an admin, you’ll have to coordinate. What you’ll never have to worry about is what to do, even if you’re a first timer, because I’ll be showing you every single step you need to take in order to succeed.
I’ll introduce below the 7 building blocks at a high level so you know what’s coming and what to expect. Now, the titles are written in geekish (is that a word?) so I’ve added the English translation for those who aren’t familiar with the tech lingo.
Let’s get started!
Module 1. Create Your Customer Avatar
(Translation: Know the needs and motivations of parents and athletes searching online for information about your club)
Behind every person searching online there’s a clear intent.
People do searches for lots of different reasons, and in order to figure this out you’ll need to first know very well who those people are. Once you nail this down, you’ll be able to connect with them at a much deeper level.
If, every time someone in your community does a search: 1) your site appears on the first page of results, 2) your content provides the information they're looking for, and 3) they feel a connection to your text, then you’ll get traffic coming your way.
The customer avatar exercise in this module will help you figure out who your searchers are, what they’re thinking in relation to sporting activities for their kids in your area, and more importantly, what they’re looking for from your club.
Module 2. Do Keyword Research
(Translation: Find the exact search terms people are using to find information about your club on Google)
Once you know who your audience is and their search intent, you’ll be able to embark on the next step on your journey to traffic generation: keyword research, or put in other words, the discovery of the specific search words and phrases your target audience is typing on Google.
If you know what information your audience is searching for, you’ll be able to give them exactly what they need every time — which, incidentally, is what I’m doing right now with you.
I know what you need, therefore this article (and all subsequent ones) will build on your desire to succeed as a club admin, which means to manage a club’s website that keeps popping up on search results for your target audience again and again.
And my job is to help you succeed by giving you all the strategies you need to get the job done so you don’t need to figure all of this out on your own, saving you lots of time and aggravation.
Remember, not unlike life, there are a thousand ways to do things that don’t end up working out and only a few ways that’ll get you the results you want. My job is to remove all the unknowns and show you the best path forward.
Module 3. Publish Content that Moves the Needle
(Translation: Find out what it takes to write content that gets top Google search results consistently)
The most valuable currency of the Internet is search (which, as you know generates 53% of all web traffic).
Your job as an admin then is to make sure that for every valuable keyword you identify in Module 2, you and your volunteer writers create content that targets it.
The more keywords that you identify, the more content you’ll want to create. And the more that your content matches what your audience is looking for, the more traffic you’re going to drive to your club’s website. It’s as simple as that.
In this module, you’ll learn what it takes to create content that moves the needle, and all the moving pieces that are necessary to connect with your audience in order to get eyeballs to come to your site.
Module 4. Learn On-Page SEO
(Translation: Learn Google’s “secret” requirements for ranking pages high on search results)
This is going to sound depressing but most content that’s published on the Internet never makes it to page one of search results (or pages 2 and 3 for that matter).
While there are many reasons why this is the case, the top reason is that people don't realize that their content needs to be addressed to not just one but two distinct audiences.
Now, most people write for humans (duh, who else would you write for?). Well, here’s the thing: before a human ever gets to see your online content, a machine will decide whether it’s worthy of their eyes or not.
If Google doesn’t “get” what your content is about, that is, if it’s not written for the human as well as the machine, then even the best written webpages will end up on page 7 of search results and no one will ever find them (have you ever scrolled past page 2?).
For your website content to work, you’ll have to give people what they want AND give the machine what it needs in order to “understand” that your content belongs on the first page of results.
Your job is to strike the right balance between human and machine. In this module you’ll learn how to do just that.
Module 5. Implement an Internal Linking Strategy
(Translation: Create a web of links in your content so your readers keep finding new stuff all the time — Google loves this!)
Now that we’re entering the home stretch and your content has been written, it’s time to get more of that Google love. Its search algorithm is wired to reward sites that are well designed from the ground up.
What they don’t like is a bunch of dissociated pages bunched together with no rhyme or reason. If your content is disorganized, Google will ignore your site even if each individual page is well put together.
How do you organize your site? By linking your content in ways that make sense to your readers.
Say, if you have content that lists the requirements for seven different sporting events your club holds throughout the year but you don’t interlink them in any way, readers that found information about one may not find the others.
Now, wouldn’t you agree that if you linked each one of the events to the others you’d be giving your readers more opportunities for discovery? Well, so does Google.
In fact, by using a smart internal linking strategy, you’ll be getting a lot of love from Google’s algorithm and that’ll help your club’s website rank higher.
Module 6. Implement an External Linking Strategy
(Translation: Solicits links from other websites to your awesome content — Google loves this even more!)
Now, once your website content begins to attract attention it’s time to reach out to other (non-competing) websites and develop relationships with them so that they link back to you.
Perhaps they’ll want to link to a great article on your site that’s perfect for their audience. Then, one day they’ll come knocking at your door asking you to link to, say, an event they’re promoting themselves.
The idea here is to help each other out and, in doing so, strengthen your community by offering the best information where it’s needed.
Google likes this too! They really like it when other websites link to your content because it counts as a vote of confidence, and they know that’ll enhance the quality of the results for their users.
Your job then is to use your connections and that of your club’s members to get other websites to link back to you (make sure they’re relevant, though.)
Now, don’t try to get links from websites that are totally unrelated to your site because Google will not appreciate it (this is what they call “unnatural links”).
They especially don’t like it when people try to game the system by adding a ton of unrelated links and they’re known for penalizing sites that do so harshly.
Module 7. Master the Google Search Console
(Translation: Look at Google search data about your site to figure out which pages rank the highest and then use that information to write more winning content)
You made it to the end, congrats! By this point you’ll have a thriving site with great interconnected articles that you and your volunteer writers will be very proud of (and even get a bit of fame in your community by showing up in Google searches!)
And in time, Google will begin to send traffic your way (now, there’s a bit of a “probation” period over the first few months — yes, even Google makes you pay your dues.)
So, your next job, after 2-4 months, is to start looking at your search data with a free tool called the Google Search Console in order to get insights into what’s working and what’s not.
For example, you may find that your club’s content on volunteering information is not getting much traction, but your content on scholarships is driving an insane amount of traffic.
So guess what you’re going to do after you discover this fact? You’ll begin to write more content about financial aid and scholarships!
We're in the traffic business here, and once your data tells you where the low-hanging fruit is, then your job is to double down. In this final module I’ll show you how to mine this data to plan your content for the year.
Wrapping Things Up
There you go, a search-optimized site is your path to riches (well... web traffic riches) and you will soon have the entire blueprint for website success at your fingertips!
Now, to set your expectations straight, there’s quite a bit of work ahead of you to make this happen.
But if you divide and conquer and just focus on one thing at a time, you’ll be able to take your club’s website traffic to the next level, and that’s something you will be super proud of!
I’ll see you around in a couple of weeks when we get started.
All the best,