Association websites tend to have an abundance of content (win!), but difficulty organizing, prioritizing, and scaling it. Conversions (i.e. people finding you and becoming a member) don’t typically happen online, nor do you want them to. You also face the challenge of engaging with members that span multiple demographics, locations, interests, and ties to your organization.
Harnessing the principles of SEO can help to focus your association website priorities and deliver a positive user experience:
- Write content in your users’ language. The core purpose of search engines is to match users with the exact information they are looking for; therefore, your content needs to speak to those users in the same language. Often, particularly in the acronym-heavy world of associations, we use our own internal jargon unknowingly when communicating with users. Write for the words they would be speaking in, and they are more likely to not only find you, but identify with your message.
- Optimize across devices. Mobile compatibility is a major ranking signal for search engines. Your association website is a part of the brand experience, and a negative experience on mobile or tablet can have an adverse impact on your brand perception. When building a new website, prioritize UI and UX on mobile devices and frequently revisit for bugs or issues.
- Pare down duplicate content. In the association space, where one of the biggest benefits you can offer members is information, websites often become crowded. With multiple parties maintaining or adding to a website, you often end up with duplicate content. Use Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, or another tool to find and eliminate duplicate content. Your users will have a more coherent experience with your site as a result.
- Resolve site speed issues-Site speed is prioritized in search engine algorithms because it’s so important to users in today’s fast-paced environment. Users can quickly become frustrated and this has an impact on your overall brand experience. Work with your website host or developers to increase site load times. Luckily, it doesn’t always involve a major overhaul to make an impact.
- Improve appearance in SERPS. Even if they know your association’s URL, users will often “google” your association name to find the website. Even if you appear first, the way you appear can have a big impact on the brand experience. Write and implement strong meta titles and descriptions for the home page and major pages of your website (or better yet, all pages) to ensure that the first impression is a positive one.
The principles behind SEO can help to focus your association’s multiple website priorities to ultimately connect with users.