Whether you run one small course, a large club, or multiple facilities, hopefully you know that, if you don’t have a dominant presence on the internet, you might as well not exist as far as new customers are concerned.
Having a website is only the beginning; you still need to get noticed by search engines once the site goes live online, or no one will ever see it. Then, setting yourself apart from the competition is the key to your success.
Sure, your golf course may occupy a large swath of real estate in your community, making it hard to miss when people drive by. And you may be doing steady business with local residents who are already aware of your existence. But counting on new customers discovering your course randomly or by word of mouth is not much of a strategy for growth.
SEO Basics For Course Owners and Operators
The idea behind search engine optimization is to create engaging content—that people will find useful, informative, and hopefully even entertaining—to appear on a website that looks great and loads quickly for display on any type of device.
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo automatically roam the internet to index the content of each website they visit. They take into account how authoritative and popular a website is. That’s based on statistics such as daily visitors and how informative it is based on all the indexed content.
Time Matters: Longevity for SEO
A website that’s been around for five years with hundreds of blog posts will generally appear more substantial than a site that just went up with a few days worth of content. Search engines use longevity as a data point to determine the relative value of sites in the same industry. This means you do not want to delay your SEO efforts. It also underscores the importance of providing new content on a regular, consistent basis.
Popularity Matters: Linking for SEO
Keep in mind that search engines keep track of what websites link to your site (such as reviews mentioning your business) as well as the sites your website links to.
Experience Matters: Useful & Reader Friendly
Then, a search engine will compare how useful and reader-friendly two different websites are for similar businesses when determining which one to will appear higher up in search engine results. The more optimized your golf site is, the better chance you will have of showing up in the list above your rivals.
It’s not just the word choices you make that will optimize the site. You also want your golf course site to load quickly (displaying small photos of your facilities, for example, so smartphone users aren’t waiting forever for a page to appear). You also need the site to be easy for visitors to navigate, with an intuitive interface.
A site that takes a long time to load or that is difficult for people to find the information they want will turn off potential customers. They may very well jump over to the next website in the search engine results list. If the next course has a more informative site that’s simple to understand, the competition will prosper at your expense.
Words Matter: Find the Right Words to Describe Your Course
The more closely the overall message of your site fits with the terms your prospective customers are searching for, the more likely Google is to associate you with the results it displays.
Here are a few tips for optimizing your course website for the right search results:
- No one knows the ins and outs of your golf course business like you and other leaders in your company. Hold a meeting with your staff to brainstorm ideas for terms to optimize your website for search engines.
- Begin by putting yourself in the mindset of a customer looking to play golf in your community. What terms will he or she type into Bing or Google? For example, people will probably be looking for a golf course in the name of your city, a neighboring city or the county, so using geographic keywords will help guide them to your site.
- It’s a good idea to list the amenities you offer, such as a clubhouse, pool, locker room and space to practice. How big is the driving range? What kinds of tempting menu items do you serve in the clubhouse?
- If your course is home to talented golf instructors, you’ll want to highlight that too.
- For inspiration, look at websites for competing golf courses in your area. See what kinds of terms they use on their landing page. How do they describe themselves?
- Also take note of things that successful golf courses are promoting, such as member loyalty programs, their use of solar power in a bid to “go green” or the fact that they’ve upgraded the property with beautiful new landscaping.
If you do nothing else, consider the terms you type into your favorite search engine when you’re looking for something online. The more precise you are (such as by specifying a city, a price range or a time frame), the better the results should be.
If you aren’t sure what kinds of keywords your golf website needs for SEO to drive more traffic your way, now would be a good time to consult with marketing professionals. To learn more about SEO for your golf course website or to request a consultation with our marketing services team, please connect with us today.