Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an integral component of a strong, solid marketing plan, not just for mid-size and large business institutions but also for small businesses like dive centers. In a nutshell, implementing the right blend of SEO strategy can bring a scuba diving center more qualified customers, improve business visibility, yield higher Return on Investment (ROI), boost credibility, and give insight into customer behavior.
An effective SEO strategy may be summed up into four key points.
1. Optimize your website for actual users and not only for search engines.
Digital user experience
Before delving into SEO, the company should first put emphasis on digital user experience which can deliver higher satisfaction for your target customers and eventually supplement your SEO strategy.
Think of it this way, your website is just like your home. If you plan to invite visitors, you would want them to feel welcome the moment they step through the door until it’s time to say goodbye. Preparing for houseguests involves making your home spotlessly clean, removing unwanted odors, and organizing the rooms to make your visitors’ stay comfortable and enjoyable.
This concept is also applicable to a diving center. Establishing a good first impression on your visitors can inspire them to stay, check out your website, and eventually convert to customers. Begin by presenting a visually appealing and functional website which is easy to use, loads fast, and simple to navigate. The visitor should have relative ease making his/her way around the website otherwise, a user is likely to abandon his/her browsing activity if it takes too much effort to go through various web pages before finding the information that he/she needs. The website should have well-constructed pages that are easy to comprehend and contain relevant content that can drive the individual to find out more about your services.
Enhancing your website for users is just the tip of the iceberg because search engines don’t see a webpage the same way as people do. This is where SEO strategy comes in starting with optimizing content with keywords.
Target market identification
Sometimes in our desire to create websites with the perfect keywords, we tend to neglect the fact that we are creating pages for people and not solely for search engines. The goal to rank high and drive traffic may not matter as much if the users do not like the actual website.
Given this premise, identifying who your site visitors are is a crucial step. It’s difficult to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time if you don’t know who you are aiming it for. Ask yourself, who are the most likely to avail of your services? Dig deeper by considering factors such as age, gender, marital status, buying power, geographical location, etc.
The most active visitors of a diving center website are usually amateur divers, professional divers, and folks who want to learn scuba diving. The site may also get a share of other visitors who likely love to travel, sports, or lead an active lifestyle. On average, dive center demographics are usually male age 20 to 35 years old. By knowing more about your customers, you can structure your page copies to appeal to their wants and needs.
Keyword research and optimization
After identifying your target market, the next step is to determine what your users are looking for. Visitors of a dive center website generally want to find out about the courses being offered, duration, requirements, dive locations, and corresponding fees.
It’s best to perform keyword research before writing the content by creating a list of keywords that you should target. You can generate a more in-depth list by adding keyword categories appropriate for your intended audience. Take note that targeting the same keywords utilized by leading competitors in the market might not give you the edge that you are looking for since they are considered more established and have a wider customer base. To come up with a more effective content marketing strategy, SEO specialists recommend performing extensive keyword research. The Google’s Keyword Planner is a good tool which can help produce a list of strong keywords; enable one to spot gaps in the market that can strengthen your web pages, and determine the relevance of these words in both national and local areas. Another helpful SEO tool is the Google Search Console, a free tool that also tells you what keywords were used if a user.
Once you’ve laid out the groundwork for effective keywords, you can begin the task of writing engaging content for your diving website. Inject keywords naturally for a smooth flowing content, rather than carelessly stuffing them to avoid getting flagged by search engines.
Your site’s content should be arranged in a logical manner, not just for SEO purposes but also to give site users relative ease in finding the information that they need. For instance, it is rational to arrange your dive courses based on the level of learning starting from beginner courses and down to advanced diving courses.
2. Take advantage of online directories as they give a free link and can help with referral visits.
When you already have the content which is the body and soul of your website, then it’s time to focus on promoting them. This refers to the efforts of increasing visibility to your new content starting by building links to your website and a good way to jumpstart this is by joining online directories.
If you were born in an era when people used to flip through thick Yellow Pages to look for a particular company, then think of online directories as a digital version of that and more. With the influx of technology, those thick book-form directories have become outdated and replaced by online data.
Listing your diving center in online directories do not only provide advertising for your business, but it also presents opportunities to build your image. Boost your online presence by providing the accurate address, email, contact numbers, description of your business, website link, photos, and even videos. Below are some recommended online directories (arranged in no particular order):
- Google Maps
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local Listing
- Yellow Pages
- White Pages
- Yellow Bot
- Four Square
- Find Divers
- Divers Directory Worldwide
- Dive Site Directory
You might be surprised if you search for your business name online and discover that your business shows up in other directories that you didn’t sign up for. The reason behind this is that other business directories create their own listings by pulling from larger directories. Although this can amplify your presence on the Internet, it’s advisable to check these unsolicited listings to ensure that the information provided is correct.
Many online directories allow their users to make specific searches such as industry, product, service, and location. That’s why it’s important to provide detailed and accurate information about your diving center so that the directory can connect your business to potential customers, even if they don’t specifically type your business name.
Adding your dive center in online business listings is also a great way to support and further validate your business. The exposure can increase brand awareness and win the trust and reliability of customers.
3. Use social media to its full potential.
Social media has evolved into a powerful tool that businesses use to get the word out about their company, products, and services; not just on a local field but on a global scale. The best thing about it is that it’s often free and it can be done in real time.
Modern-day consumers rely on social media to know what’s hot and relevant and what’s not. They also check social media to gauge a company’s viability. A dive center can capitalize on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to strategically build awareness about their company and grow their customer base.
Facebook – With a whopping two billion plus active users, Facebook is considered today’s leading social media platform. It makes it a top choice for many businesses today that are looking for ways to extend their online reach. Here’s how to go about it:
- Create a Facebook Business Page for your diving center reflecting the name of your business. It’s recommended to use your business logo as the primary photo for your Facebook page and select a captivating cover image (example: an underwater shot of one of your top diving destinations). Fill out the “About” section with basic information, brief company background, and milestones of the company.
- Connect your website to your Facebook page and vice versa. Add a Facebook button on your website so that visitors can easily click the button to visit your page. Also, add the link of your website under the “About” section of your Facebook page so that social media browsers can be directed to your online site.
- Post relevant content that your target audience will be interested in. Keep your followers engaged by regularly posting updates, photos, and videos of your diving courses and trips. You can also announce promotions and upcoming diving lessons, activities or trips on your page. Remember to make your content interesting enough to inspire your followers/visitors to share it.
- Communicate with your followers on Facebook. Acknowledge individuals who comment on your page and respond to questions promptly. Take note that small businesses like a diving center benefit from personal interaction.
- Add a call to action links like “Book now” on top of your page. This Facebook feature can help your diving center drive leads to enroll in your diving course or join your diving trip.
Instagram – Since it’s launch in 2010, Instagram (IG) has reached 800 million users in 2017 and its community is still growing. This is why business organizations consider this photo and video sharing app as an effective marketing tool in today’s modern world. Here’s a simple guide on how to use IG to promote your diving center.
- Set up an Instagram Account. Choose an IG name that’s the same as your business name and your logo as your IG profile photo. Set up a free business profile by putting a short description of your diving center, address, contact numbers, and website link.
- Start posting! Once you have your account then you’re all set to go. Start posting great photos of your diving courses and trips that your targeted audience will find interesting. Make it a point to tag the location of your photos to showcase the beauty of different diving locations.
- Put relevant hashtags to make your post more discoverable and attract attention.
- Add an Instagram button on your website to direct visitors to your IG account.
Follow other IG users. Give your Instagram a good head start by following other users such as influencers in the diving industry, customers, scuba divers, and other individuals who might be relevant to your business. Following users may inspire some of them to follow your account in return.
- Respond to comments and questions promptly and establish a good relationship with your followers.
Twitter – This microblogging tool enables people to post short messages called tweets up to 140 characters long. A tweet may be short but it has the ability to amplify snippets of content, as well as links of in-depth content, photos, and videos. Check out the following business tweeting tips.
- Create a Twitter account that reflects your business name and use your logo as your profile photo.
- Compose brief and straight to the point tweets to communicate various things about your business. It can be something about diving courses, diving tips, diving trip announcement, highlights of a dive adventure, and so on. You may include links of your web pages to inspire readers to check out your website.
- Insert relevant hashtags to enhance your Tweets like images, videos, and other graphics.
- Encourage Twitter conversations by replying to “mentions” and direct messages whether it’s customer feedback or inquiry.
- Stay attuned to the Twitter community. Retweet relevant tweets that align with your business objectives and values.
- Follow other Twitter accounts such as customers, individuals in the diving industry, social media influencers, underwater photographers, and others in similar professional organizations.
- Include a Twitter button on your website to lead visitors to your Twitter account and get a chance to gain new followers.
While the direct SEO benefit of social media is minimal, it can influence people who do own relevant blogs to tag or link to you if your content goes viral. Another side benefit is that your website can gain additional traffic whenever people click to your posts.
4. If you have the resources, consider getting in touch with influencers like local media and bloggers to give your services some PR.
More businesses are tapping into social influencers’ ability to prompt engagement with users. The possibility of working together with social influencers may depend on the cost needed to launch this kind of marketing effort.
A diving center with the right resources can collaborate with local media and bloggers who best fit the company’s objectives and values. Choose influencers who have sufficient followers, whose tone and style complement your service, and has the credibility to promote your business such as scuba diver bloggers and travel adventure bloggers.
You can give them discounts or even free lessons or dives in exchange for positive coverage (and links) on their website and social media accounts. It’s a small price to pay compared to traditional TV and print advertisements.
Rewards of an optimized diving center website
Optimizing your diving website can drive higher search engine rankings, improve your visitors’ experience and boost your online presence. As your diving center gets pushed above the hierarchy of search results, more people will see the name of your business and become familiar with your company and the services you provide, regardless if they have booked with you before or not. This kind of exposure will eventually pave the way for targeted customers to find your diving center and avail of your services.
If you need professional help designing an SEO strategy that is best for your diving center, CaptainPanel has a team of experts that is always ready to work with you to improve your ranking in search engines. You may contact us to learn more about our SEO and conversion optimization services.