SEO is a vital part of having your community page recognised, and providing easy access to stakeholders. At the Community Media Association, we have come up with 12 important tips that will be very beneficial to implementing SEO on your page, making SEO work for you effectively.

When creating a website ideally you would choose an open-source content management system such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Make sure that the site is developed in an SEO friendly format, so that you are able to perform basic SEO tasks (such as adding title tags, adding Google analytics code, editing page content, creating new pages and creating sitemaps) without having to go back to the developers each time.

Once you have your website, you can proceed to:

  • Create and use free Google tools including Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
  • Create and claim a Google My Business listing for the station/channel and upload a logo, photos and add a link to the website.  Make sure all the key Google accounts are linked together.
  • Make sure your on-page SEO is set up correctly. Make use of the basic SEO elements such as page titles, heading tags, meta descriptions and alt image tags. Use geographical locations and the station/channel name and even the frequency/channel number within your title tags, meta descriptions and header tags.
  • Create an XML sitemap in the correct format and submit this to Google via your Search Console Account.
  • Position your content around the needs of your listeners/viewers. What information will they be looking for on the website? Program information? Frequency and channel information? Contact details? Make sure this information is clearly signposted on the site and included in the key on-page SEO elements mentioned in point one.
  • Your address and primary contact details should be in the website footer, and use schema.org mark up.
  • Update your site regularly with blog and news items. The search engines love sites that are frequently updated. News & blogs can include training courses, new volunteers, milestones for the station, new schedules and programs, local events and listener/viewer feedback.
  • Link to your social media accounts from the homepage of your site and the footer on all pages if possible. Links should open in a new window and not take visitors away from the site.
  • Create profile pages for the staff and volunteers on the site to include a short biography and contact information if appropriate. Update the profile pages least twice a year with news, new photos etc.
  • Create program pages on the site and regularly update these with playlists, clips and show information.
  • Make sure the site is mobile friendly and responsive to different screen sizes and web browsers.  Test the speeds using the Google Speed test tool.  And consider switching your site to use https. Google has announced that adding a 2048-bit key SSL certificate to your website will give your site a minor ranking boost. LetsEncrypt provides an easy way to do this for many websites.
  • Include clear sign posts on how to listen online, and listen again services if you have them.

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Tony Heywood is a community radio volunteer on Warminster Community Radio and has a weekly show on Wednesday Evenings between 9pm – 11pm. Tony has worked in online marketing for over 10 years and currently heads up the SEO team for Dentons Digital in Westbury.