Membership sites offer a great way of generating recurring revenues by offering premium content. In order to attract new members, these websites need to optimize their SEO.
Though SEO can be an intricate topic, there are some straightforward strategies you can implement to increase organic site traffic. Below are just a few: 1. Keyword Research.
1. Keyword Research
As someone new to SEO, the process may seem overwhelming and bewildering. There’s lots of information available, as well as untrustworthy “gurus” offering their secrets for sale. Luckily, there are resources out there that can help get you going in this endeavor.
One of the key aspects of membership site SEO to keep in mind is to invest both on-page and off-page efforts into optimizing it for membership sites. On-page optimization involves producing content – be it blog posts, social media updates or videos clips and meta descriptions – while off-page SEO strategies involve using keywords throughout your site to increase its ranking in organic searches.
Off-page SEO refers to how your website is promoted beyond its domain. This may involve building backlinks with trusted sites and featuring your content in reviews or articles, or simply making sure it’s easily navigable with a clear structure.
As part of your SEO for a membership site, make sure that there is an ideal balance between free and premium content. Too similar free material could actually harm search engine rankings, while creating links-worthy material could ensure steady membership growth. Focusing on what people will link to can ensure steady expansion.
2. Content Creation
Membership websites are built upon expertise, authority, and trust – three elements which contribute to organic search rankings. Therefore, membership websites are well suited to take advantage of SEO for driving traffic and recruiting new members.
Membership site owners often struggle with how to optimize their content for organic search when much of it is secured behind paywalls. SEO depends on creating engaging, quality content that engages with a specific audience; so making sure the premium content you sell people worth paying for should always be at the forefront of mind when creating an SEO strategy for membership sites.
Though it might be tempting to limit access only to paid users, this will actually damage your search engine rankings. Google does not want its search results to direct users towards pages they can’t access; your organic results will therefore suffer as a result. Instead, use post excerpts that are understandable by non-members while still indexable by search engines; shortcodes or PHP snippets may be useful if only certain sections need protection.
Repurposing content can help your membership site achieve higher organic search rankings, by turning a blog post into YouTube video, social media post or guest blog on high-priority websites. Repurposing will provide a strong base for organic search performance as well as provide excellent return on your investment.
Encourage existing members of your membership site to share its content through referral programs and emails; by doing so, you can increase organic traffic by spreading awareness.
3. On-Page SEO
Have you spent hours creating an incredible membership website that delivers amazing value for your members? Creating this masterpiece of design, user-friendliness and content may have taken many hours of hard work; all that remains now is organic visibility to drive more traffic – this is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to a range of techniques designed to improve the site’s ranking on search engine result pages, from keyword research and creating engaging and accessible content to making sure Google considers user experience when ranking websites.
SEO can be broken into two main categories – on-page and off-page. On-page SEO refers to any efforts undertaken to enhance and increase rankings on a site; such as changing its structure or optimizing content with relevant keywords – for example ensuring URLs or titles contain pertinent terms as well as using keyword-rich headings within content.
Off-page SEO refers to activities conducted outside your site in order to promote it and boost its rankings, such as link building, local SEO (in-person networking with nearby businesses), review management and reputation monitoring.
SEO offers membership site owners a competitive edge and organic traffic boost, but understanding its fundamentals can be challenging. That’s why we asked Lindsay Halsey of Pathfinder SEO to share her top tips for using SEO effectively for their membership site business.
4. Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO involves techniques performed outside of your website that still influence its rankings, like link building, social media marketing, video production and blogging. Off-page SEO’s main aim is to show search engines that your site is worthwhile for targeting keywords; additionally it can increase its visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) as well as drive organic traffic directly to it.
As an example, attending industry conferences and seminars, or participating in Q&A sites can generate mentions and backlinks back to your website, signalling to Google that the content produced by you is valuable and that you are an authority in its area of study. Another form of off-page SEO would be writing guest posts for other blogs or publications linking back to yours; this helps build brand recognition while positioning you as a thought leader within the industry.
Creation of resource pages on your site that list other useful websites or resources related to your niche can also help with off-page SEO strategies, providing backlinks while improving SEO rankings. Simply search for resource pages containing your keyword and ask their owners if they would add your resource page as one of their lists.
Off-page SEO should be an integral component of any membership site’s marketing strategy, complementing on-page SEO to reach more visitors to your products. Focusing on keywords, quality content creation, backlinks from related websites and meta data should help increase awareness. Most importantly though, ensure you deliver what your members want and not what search engines demand!
5. Link Building
For your membership website to rank high in search engines (like Google) and draw in new visitors, SEO optimisation must be employed. This involves employing important keywords in its content while making it stand out. Also important is building links from other websites pointing back towards it which can increase its ranking on search results pages.
Finding effective link building methods for your website can be challenging, and finding out which works best can take some trial-and-error. Some may opt to write guest posts on other websites which will increase backlinks; others create resource pages listing links to sites related to specific topics.
Keep an eye out to see who links back to your competitors – this practice, known as competitor link building, can be an excellent way of building high-quality links because it shows other websites view your content as worthwhile enough for linking!
Content that offers genuine utility and value can also be an effective way to build links, such as expert insight, explainers, industry research reports or exclusives. Making your content shareable increases its chance of being linked back by other sites.
Your website speed and usability should also be taken into consideration, as slow or difficult-to-use sites will rank lower in search engine results. In order to properly monitor how your site is doing, using tools such as Ahrefs to track its performance can provide invaluable insight into what changes need to be made for enhanced ranking.