My #1 DIY Tip for Optimizing Your Studio’s Website for Search Engines

Got a fabulous dance studio website? Perfect! Now, are tons of people seeing it?  Hmn…

As we’re all painfully aware, a website only works to bring in new customers if people are finding it. If you’re struggling to get more eyeballs on the website of your dance studio, my #1 tip below can help you rise through the Google rankings.
 
Why do I use the words “can help you” and not “will help you” in the previous sentence?
  1. Well… first of all, no one is privy to Google’s algorithms, so I’m not able to promise that the following will gain a top ranking for your studio. (Related pro tip – Never trust anyone who tries to sell you a #1 ranking!)

  2. Also, I don’t know the situation of your studio and its website. Are you a brand new studio? Or an established studio that has recently changed its name? Do you have a lot of competition in your area? Do competing studios rock when it comes to their SEO, or are they just top of the page ranking because their website has been around the longest? And etc.
Things such as your domain name itself, how long it’s been in existence, who you’re competing with for viewers, and location terminology can positively or negatively affect your progress, but for the most part there’s not much you can do about these pieces.
 
So how about the tip below? While I can’t promise a #1 ranking, what I DO know is that the following has consistently helped our own dance studio website design clients improve their Google ranking. Often markedly.
 
So give it a go! Or better yet, assign it to an awesome staff member. It’s a DIY task, but it’s an “on page” task, meaning if you can’t make changes to your own website and social, you’ll need to involve whoever updates your content.
 

Let's Make Your Studio Website Easy to Find!

What we’re embarking on is a little DIY search engine optimization. You’ve probably heard the term used about a billion times by now, but in case you haven’t ― search engine optimization (SEO) is a series of practices that makes your web content easy for search engines to find, understand, and recommend to their users.

The quickest route to SEO optimization is to use keywords and key phrases strategically. On your website, yes, but they also need to be sprinkled liberally across all your online content. Why? Google connects the dots and rewards websites with related accounts and posts pointing to them.

In this blogpost, we’re focusing on improving use of keywords and phrases on your dance studio’s website, but you can use the same basic strategies for all your social content.


An important quick note regarding keywords and phrases!

For dance schools, typically the most important key phrases are “dance studios in ‘your city'”, “dance classes in ‘your city'”, “dance lessons in ‘your city'”, and similar. Just imagine you are a parent of a little one and are looking for a dance studio in your area. What you would type into Google search in that scenario equals your best keywords and phrases.

Some studios struggle with their website ranking because of how they classify and speak about their studio. There is obviously nothing wrong with a name such as Ascend Performing Arts Center or Energie Dance Academy, but remember that when searching, parents are unlikely to type in “performing arts center” or “dance academy”. They’re much more likely to type in the more generic “dance studio” or “dance school”. If a better search ranking is important to you, try referring to your business as a studio or school within the textual content of your pages (even if it smarts a little!). It really can make a difference.

Ok, back to it! Here are the top places where you can improve your SEO through better use of your keywords and phrases.

Your page names:

When I say “page name” in this post, I’m referring to the name at the top of each page’s content, which is often a quick ‘n easy change to make. We’re going to tweak your page names to better include your keywords and phrases.

For example, if the heading of your Descriptions page is “Class Descriptions”, change it to “Dance Class Descriptions”. Instead of “About Us”, use “About our Dance Studio”. Instead of “Summer Camps”, use “Summer Dance Camps”. You get the idea. In each instance, we have made a clarification that better references your offering (dance!).

These are the types of changes that let Google know what type of services you provide, so it can match your website up with users who are looking for a studio in your area.

Your page subheaders:

Do a quick march down your pages and make sure your subheaders include your target keyword phrases. Headers are among the top elements examined by search engine algorithms.

As an example, if you have a section on your homepage about your class options with the subheader “Classes”, consider changing it to “‘your city & state’ Dance Classes”. Ok, this change is a touch awkward but still makes sense. It will confirm to your website visitors that they’re in the right place, and as it’s likely one of your top key phrases, it could help your studio’s search engine ranking.

Your website image names:

When editing and saving new photos, name them using your keyword phrases. For example, if you’re saving a photo of one of your dance teams, name the photo something like: “Competitive Dance Team”. This is particular important for the primary or featured image on each page. If possible, rename and reupload these. Otherwise, I’d recommend not going back and renaming old photos, but from now on, make this a part of your normal process for adding content.

Your image alt tags:

Also add an appropriate keyword phrase to the alt tag (aka: alt text) field when you add images to your pages.

Uhhh… what the heck is an alt tag, I imagine you’re asking? Alt tags are the text descriptions that appear in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load on a user’s screen. They help screen-reading tools describe images to readers who are visually impaired.  They also allow search engines to better crawl and rank your website, so they’re awesome for your SEO.

Ask your web designer if this is something you can do yourself. If you can, simply add a short description of the photo as your alt tag, making sure to include a couple of your most important keywords. If not possible, ask your web designer to make sure all of your images have alt tags and if not, to put them in place.

Even though you can’t see alt tags on the actual page, they will connect to the photos and improve your search engine optimization.

A picture of a preschooler dancing is a great thing to have on your website. A picture of a preschooler dancing, with the alt tag “dance classes for preschoolers” is BETTER. 🙂

Internal links:

Linking from one webpage to another within the content areas helps keep readers on your studio’s website and keeps Google’s spiders happy as well.

On your Tuitions page, for example, it would be easy to add the line “View our dance and acro class schedule here”. Then link that line to the page on which your schedule resides, and you have yourself a spanking new internal hyperlink!

Be sure to link related keyword phrases instead of generic wording like “click here”. Using phrases in the text of your links is a double whammy of SEO goodness: 1) linking from one page of your site to another, and 2) including keywords in your links. Both of these things let your visitors and also Google know how everything relates.

The bonus to this is that you’re guiding visitors through your site, to (and hopefully through) registration!

The first paragraph of homepage text and/or the first subheading:

Time after time, I see dance studio websites where the primary paragraph on the homepage reads well, but without search engines in mind. Working keywords and key phrases into the first few lines of body copy is vital to your SEO efforts. It’s fully possible to do this while keeping the personality of your own writing and studio.

Here is an example paragraph before & after optimization:

BEFORE:


At Ascend… we are a family, a culture, and a driving force, promoting performing arts as well as core values for students of all ages. Ascend is a place where you set goals, work hard towards them with the support of our excellent faculty, and showcase your skills in studio performances and competitions. Ascend embraces dancers of all ages, and raises the barre for students in our community!

  AFTER:


Looking for dance classes in Thistown, PA?

At Ascend Dance Studio, we offer jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, and acro classes for students ages 3 to adult. We’re proud to be a family, a culture, and a driving force promoting performing arts in the Tri-County area through our recreational and competitive dance programs. Our dance faculty is top-notch, and we offer multiple performance opportunities for those wanting to showcase their hard-earned dance and acro skills. Ascend embraces dancers of all ages, and raises the barre for students in Tri-County!

A quick homework assignment, should you choose to participate, is to highlight the key dance terms/phrases in the “before” paragraph and then in the “after” paragraph above. Doing so will make the SEO changes more obvious and easier to replicate with your own site.

These tips are an excellent start towards a fully optimized dance studio website. I’d recommend going through ALL pages of your website, with an eye out for any opportunity to improve your SEO in this way. Optimizing and keywording your pages may seem like an optional series of tasks, but if you want to get (and stay!) in a top Google ranking position, it’s actually mandatory. The more website pages with proper SEO, the better your chances of getting your content in front of eager prospects!

 
Optimizing your content can dramatically increase your website’s traffic, and by extension, bring new dancers through your doors!
 
Best wishes to you and your studio,
Stacey