If you are like most yoga studio owners, you are new to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Search Engine Optimization is actively impacting the ranking of a website in a search engine’s organic results (organic means you are not paying for advertising). We have spent years learning and fine-tuning our SEO strategies. But like learning a new pose, you first must know some fundamentals.
We like to address two audiences when it comes to building websites for yoga studios: the user and the search engine. Many designers make the mistake of thinking that one has nothing to do with the other. You may already know that search engines look at a number of variables such as keywords, inbound links, content, site structure, etc. How, you might ask, can improved user experience help?
Naturally, user experience impacts how visitors perceive your website and the content it provides. Improved user experience creates a positive interaction which is more likely to lead to sharing, return visits and even inbound links (more on this later).
Inbound links are links that exist on other websites which point to yours. You might be curious as to why a search engine might care about how many links you have pointing back to your site. The answer is that an inbound link is a type of “endorsement” made by another website. As if saying, “hey, look at that website over there for…(fill in the blank).” The search engine is therefore interpreting this act as if the linking website considers you to be a good resource. The more inbound links you have, the better your website will rank. The search engine will also consider which websites are linking to yours.
For example, a link from the New York Time’s website would carry more weight than a link from from a small, private blog. This prevents companies from simply putting up thousands of websites with no real value and using them simply as linking sources (also known as link farms).
Everyone says content is king, so we just thought we would change it up a little. Be it king, queen, prince or court jester, content is super important. Search engines don’t see your website design, they don’t care about how pretty your photos are, or what your logo looks like. Search engines looks though your website for content. They then take the content they find on your website, along with many other variables, and decide how relevant they think your website is for a particular keyword or keyphrase.
Higher calculated relevance will equal higher rankings in search engine result pages (SERP).
In order to make it easier for the spider to find all of your website’s pages (as well as identify new ones), it’s a good practice to create a sitemap. A sitemap is a page that contains links to all of the other pages on your website. Most of the time, we sitemaps are not visible to your human visitors as they are designed specifically with a format supported by search engines.
There are several reasons for why responsive websites will help yoga studio SEO. First of all, Google loves responsive websites. Google actually favors mobile-optimized websites in it’s search engine result pages. From and SEO perspective, responsive website design is preferred over having a dedicated mobile website. Even in the best of scenarios, having a dedicated mobile website means that your HTML code, link structure, etc. are different for each version. Most dedicated mobile websites do not rank as well as their desktop counterparts.
Responsive websites also help reduce your bounce rate. Dedicated mobile website often offer less content which can result in high bounce rate (for more about bounce rate, please read Analytics You Should Be Measuring for your Yoga Studio Website). Providing all of your content with mobile-friendly presentation will help solve that problem. Finally, we already know that enhanced user experience plays a part in SEO. A responsive website ensures visitors traversing the internet on mobile devices will receive the type of experience they have come to expect on their desktops.
All the SEO in the world won’t help if your yoga studio website is not designed and built properly. The right way to SEO is to incorporate it into the structure and design of the website from the start, rather than trying to patch it in later. The truth is that poorly built websites will never rank well. Assuming the technical aspects are covered you can improve SEO with inbound links, optimized content and a dedicated sitemap. There are many more elements that contribute to the overall success of a yoga studio’s search engine optimization strategy.