In the last few years, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a big business. Site owners are eager to have their sites show up near the top of a user's Google search results, and there are hundreds of tutorials, how-to guides, and technology companies that aim to achieve this goal. Costs can range from several hundred dollars to price tags in the tens of thousands.
While all websites can benefit from SEO, most associations don't budget for the practice, and may balk at making the investment. However, there are some simple modifications you can perform that will aid in SEO without breaking the bank.
One of the most effective things you can do to increase your association website's prominence on the 'Net is to encourage other sites to link to you. The more sites that are linking to you, the greater chance that Google and the other search engines will rank your site higher. Search engines use algorithms to determine which sites are more 'relevant' than others, and the number of direct links from neighboring sites is ranked highly in the mix.
Other no-brainer site upgrades that can raise your site's search engine visibility is to utilize keywords strategically. Keywords are the words that you think most prospective visitors will be using to search for your site, or for information about your association's specialty. Placing these keywords in your headings and page titles will further increase their relevance in the eyes of Google.
Finally, a sitemap of your site can help the search engines index your site. A sitemap is simply a page that contains links to all the content that your site has to offer. This can increase the number of your site's individual pages that are indexed by Google, and have an effect on page ranking.