Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of strategically modifying the content on your summer camp Web site so that search engines can find and present your site to its users. For example, if you operate a basketball camp in New York, using SEO techniques will help parents who do a general search on Google for "basketball summer camps in New York" to find your specific camp among the top search results.
Simple SEO Changes
You can make simple changes to your site to make it more visible to parents who are using search engines to find camps. Here are six easy steps for getting started with SEO:
- Determine what keywords or key phrases parents will use to find camps like yours. Think of all the ways someone would describe your camp without referencing the name directly. Your list of keywords will likely include the type of camp you operate (horseback riding, robotics, ice hockey etc.), your audience (boys, teenagers, dancers, etc.), and regional descriptors (Nashville, Twin Cities, Cohocton Valley, etc.).
- Include at least 3-5 of your top keywords or key phrases on each page of your camp Web site. Focus on headlines and the first few sentences of any descriptions. Don't rely on images or graphics alone to tell parents they're looking at a sailing camp in Maryland. Make sure the key phrases "sailing camp" and "Maryland" can be found among the text at the top of your home page.
- Use your keywords and camp name in the anchor text of your site links. Search engines like finding relevant links on your site that they can share with their users. For example, a link that says "Click here to register for the 2011 Crawford Teen Ballet Camp" is better than a link that only says "Click here to register."
- Make sure your page titles are descriptive and include your camp name. Page titles are the words that display at the very top of the Web browser window. Rather than giving a simple description like "Directions," adding your camp name and expanding the title to "Driving Directions to Stanford Kids Day Camp" will help search engines find you.
- Submit your URL to Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Registering your camp Web site with each search engine tells them your site exists and should be included in search results. You should also register with the local sections of Google, Yahoo! and Bing so your camp shows up on local maps and directories.
- Don't overdo it! Search engines are getting smarter and smarter, so they'll recognize tricks like overloading your site with keywords or using keywords that aren't relevant to your content. Stick with the basics, evaluate your keyword usage from time to time, and focus on contextualizing & describing your content for viewers.
Guest author Phillip Gilbreth is the Camps Sales Manager for MySummerCamps.com and KidsCamps.com, the leading online camp directories for connecting parents with kids and teen summer camps in the United States, Canada and worldwide. Contact Phillip at firstname.lastname@example.org
(MySummerCamps and KidsCamps appear among the top search results because of our robust SEO techniques. Yet another reason why listing your camp in our comprehensive camp directories should always be part of your marketing strategy!)