How to Optimize Your School Basketball Team’s Website to Recruit Top Players:
Part 2

If you missed the first article, click here: Part One

This two part series is designed to give school basketball teams an advantage by incorporating better Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While private schools or universities may benefit the most from these ideas, any team that wants to grow and recruit top-notch players will benefit from this series. The implementation of effective SEO will also help drive audience attendance at games, and boost community involvement and fundraising efforts. Part one of this series covered the importance of good SEO, included some search friendly website design tips, and concluded with a guide to keyword choice. 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

Choosing the right keywords is only the first step to keyword optimization. Strategic placement of keywords within a website is equally important.

  1. 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.
  2. Incorporate the rest of your important keywords in to the headline.
  3. Keywords placed in the body text should focus on to 2-3 specific keywords per page.
  4. Meta tags are bits of data embedded in HTML code that provide information on any given web page. Meta tags should target prospective basketball players, 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 basketball programs, and will increase the chance that a prospective member that randomly stumbles upon your team’s site will actually visit it.
  5. Place keywords toward the top of the page rather than further down.

Links, Links, and More Links

Getting other highly ranked sites with content that is somewhat topically related to your team’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 team 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 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 team blog 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 fundraising, and game 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 team’s page. A forum is great for site visitors, faculty, team members, and SEO efforts alike. Another great option is to post podcasts or video feeds on your site. You might consider posting game highlights as videos or podcasts. 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 team will begin to obtain the players and recognition it deserves.

Lance Trebesch and Colt Lapham
lance@TicketPrinting.com
clapham@ticketprinting.com
www.TicketPrinting.com

Thank you for reading part two of “How to Optimize Your School Basketball Team’s Website to Recruit Top Players.” If you missed the first article, click here: Part One