Aug 23, 2011 by brian

Sports League Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

By now most sports league organizers should know something about SEO. Even if they do, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are effectively driving traffic to their website. There are some simple enhancements that can quickly improve search results to get a website as high up as possible in search results.

Here is why SEO is important for a sports league website.

Discovery – A perspective player interested in a local sports league will often search google by typing in their city/town and the sport. For example, a dude in Kansas City who wants to play flag football might search “Kansas City Flag Football”. They’ll often click on the first result. That should be your league!

Website Promotion and Communication – Even your existing members might not know the URL for your website. So they also will search Google to find the league. For example, a member of Rockville Athletic Sports League might type that into search. It’s important your league website shows up first so there is no confusion and your members can easily find the website.

Add in potential sponsors, marketing partners and local press that may also be trying to connect with local sports leagues and it’s essential to have a highly indexed website.

There is no need to hire consultants or high-priced SEO “gurus” to improve your search ranking. The real key is identifying keywords or phrases and properly implementing them into your website.

Keywords
Keywords are the search terms used by people who you want to find you league. The goal is to identify these keywords and optimize for them so when a potential customer does their search they will find your league. For most sports league websites, keywords will focus around the local town/city, the specific sport, and terms like “league”, “tournament”, “sport and social club”, etc. You can use a tool like Google Keyword Editor to help see popular searches.

Once you identify your top keywords there are a few simple steps to take that will improve your league website ranking.

1) Website URL
It’s great to have a domain, sub-domains and URL’s that include your keywords. Even if you already have a domain, make sure your new pages have search-engine friendly URL’s by using clear keywords. For example, if your website is wrecksports.com and you are creating a new dodgeball section a great url would be http://dodgeball.wrecksports.com or even http://wrecksports.com/newyorkcity-dodgeball

2) Page Titles
Every web page has a page title. It can usually be viewed at the top of your browser. Most people don’t even notice the page title so it’s real importance is how it influences search rankings. It’s essential to have a unique, keyword focused Title tag on every page. If you want to include your league name, put it at the end.

3) Page Content
The actual content (text) on your web pages is also indexed. Try to incorporate your keywords into the page headers (page title, h1, h2, h3 tags) as well as the body text in a clear, well-written structure. Also, be sure to add meta keywords and meta description into your coded pages. Your website developer or designer might need to help you here. Be sure to ask!

4) Inbound links or Backlinks
Perhaps the most important SEO concept is to get other highly ranked website to link to your website. Google uses links as an indicator of relevancy. Make sure all of your partners are linking to your website and try and find other websites, blog and social media platforms (Digg, Yelp, del.icio.us, Facebook, etc.) to link directly to your website. Linking to your website from your Sportsvite league profile is a great way to build “link juice”. Quality links are also the best way for your site “spidered” so that your pages are indexed and appear in Google.

With these few simple moves you should see an increase in your search traffic. There are more advanced SEO strategies as well. It will make a difference.

When Sportsvite created our league management platform LeagueApps we made sure to focus on optimizing SEO for our partners. You should be doing the same thing!

If you’re a league organizer, we’re happy to discuss SEO in more detail. Hit us up!