SEO for sports web sites


Are you SEO-aware?


80% of web use begins with a search. Is your site showing up for the keywords that drive your business?


As your trusted technology partner, Pointstreak’s goal is to help you reach your business goals. The objective of this white paper is to help you optimize your sports website, league website or team website so that search engines – like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc – can easily find them. While the following techniques apply to any sports website, they have been specifically geared towards customers and users of Pointstreak’s website content management system for sports leagues and teams, called Pointstreak Sites.


What’s the value of making my website search engine friendly?


Studies [1] show that consumers primarily use the Internet for email and for searching. When searching for products and services they are interested in, consumers will think of keywords relevant to their need, go to a search engine like Google, type in those keywords and look for a result that fits their need. Needless to say, if your sports website isn’t found by a potential customer in a search engine – especially on the first page or two of search results –  then your chances of getting their business drop dramatically. On the other hand, a sports website that is properly structured to allow search engines to index it increases the chances that a potential customer will find it, and then you are at least still in the race to win their business.


And with a staggering 80% of web use starting off with a search engine, it stands to reason that if your website is not showing up for keywords related to your league, team or business, then a shocking 8 out of 10 of your customers – or more importantly new customers – may not be finding the information they need. While it doesn’t mean you have to become an SEO expert, it certainly does mean it behooves to to understand the power and impact search engines have on your business.


What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and the good news is that your sports business website can be optimized to rank well in search engines by employing basic techniques. Even without HTML or web expertise, you can easily implement the following recommendations.


Tip #1: Use a Website Content Management System


For best results, use a website content management system (CMS) that allows you to edit your page titles, meta descriptions and text copy.  We will cover what these terms mean later, but the main point here is that ideally you should be able to make SEO changes yourself without having to rely on an outside webmaster or IT person. If you’re looking for pre-designed sports website templates, talk to Pointstreak about our library options.


A word of encouragement: basic SEO is not rocket science. As the owner/manager of your sports business, you know how your customers think and therefore, you are in the best position to implement the fundamental techniques outlined in this white paper.


Get good tools: A good CMS will allow you to edit Page Titles, link names, meta descriptions and, of course, text on the page itself. The above screenshot is from Pointstreak Sites, a content management system (CMS) that allows you to easily implement the SEO techniques mentioned in this white paper.




Tip #2: Create a list of keywords or phrases you want to target


Before implementing any SEO changes to your sports site, it is important to put some thought into what target keywords you want to rank in the search engines for. Depending on the nature of your website, these keywords may be very obvious. Let’s assume you’re an inline hockey league in the Detroit area called the Midtown Detroit Roller Hockey League (MDRHL) and you want to SEO your site, some obvious target keyword phrases may be:


midtown detroit roller hockey league


inline hockey detroit

inline hockey league detroit


After obvious keywords, you would then think of logical variations on these phrases:


in line hockey detroit

in-line hockey detroit

roller hockey detroit

rollerhockey detroit


And remember, geography and proximity is a huge factor for sports leagues and businesses, so be sure to add regional identifiers:


inline hockey michigan

inline hockey detroit michigan

inline hockey detroit MI

inline hockey dearborn heights


Lastly, but most importantly, get into the mind of your customer and think about what they may type into a search engine (or even better, poll your customers about what they would type into a search engine). For example, perhaps customers of the MDRHL tell us that they would use the following search terms:


recreational sports near detroit

where to register for hockey

inline hockey registration

youth team sports detroit


Tip #3: Rank your keyword list


Next, compile your list of target keywords and then rank them according to what you see as the most desirable keywords. This list will help you later as you SEO your sports website:

  1. midtown detroit roller hockey league
  2. mdrhl
  3. inline hockey detroit
  4. inline hockey league detroit
  5. in line hockey detroit
  6. inline hockey dearborn heights
  7. inline hockey michigan
  8. inline hockey detroit michigan
  9. inline hockey detroit MI
  10. recreational sports near detroit
  11. where to register for hockey
  12. inline hockey registration


Tip #4: Put your top keywords into your home page’s Page Title


Page titles, also known as H1 tags, are what appear at the top of each webpage in a web browser. Search engines put a lot of weight on the text within Page titles. While you don’t want to make your page titles nonsensical, be sure to add your top target keyword phrase along with your official business name and its abbreviation to the Page title of your homepage:


Choose Page Titles well: Add the name of your business (official league name or team name, any abbreviations, etc) as well as your top keyword phrase to your homepage’s Page Title. In our example, the Page Title would be “Midtown Detroit Roller Hockey League (MDRHL) – The best place for youth inline hockey in Detroit, MI”.


Here’s how our example would appear publicly in a web browser’s Page Title.


Tip #5: Add a meta description to your homepage

The Meta Description is summary of a webpage that is displayed in the search results. Your meta descriptions should be concise and should be designed for easy reading by human eyes, not computers. While you should keep in mind readability while writing your meta description, be sure to add some of your top keywords to your meta description.


Humans matter too: Your meta description for your home page should be readable by human eyes, but be sure to include some of your top target keywords. Make it concise and readable.


“Ah, so that’s where it shows up”: Here’s how a meta description appears in search engines such as Google.




Tip #6: Use your target keywords within your page text


On your home page, strategically use your top target keywords within the page text while making sure the text remains concise and readable to your audience. Use variations of your target keywords from the list you created from tip #3 to broaden your reach within search engines, for example:

  • Alternate between synonyms: Using our DMRHL example, sometimes we maybe use the word “roller” and sometimes we’ll use the word “inline”.
  • Alternate between nouns and verbs: Sometimes we may use the phrase “play inline hockey” and sometimes we may use the phrase “inline hockey players”.
  • Alternate future, present & past tenses: Sometimes we may use the phrase “Are you looking to play inline hockey?”; sometimes we may use the phrase “if you’ve played inline hockey before…”.
A word is worth a thousand pictures: Text on your homepage is indexed by search engines to help calculate your ranking



Tip #7: Optional: Repeat the following tips for other key webpages


If you want to take your sports SEO efforts that extra mile, repeat the previous tips for the other major webpages on your website. For example, perhaps you would SEO your registration page to rank well for people searching for keywords related to registration. For best SEO results, as your webpages get more specific, so should your Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and Page Text. For example, perhaps your keywords for your homepage are broad and general, but for your registration page, you narrow the keywords to focus on registration-related terms, such as “sign up”, “register”, “enroll”, etc.


Tip #8: Encourage others to link to your website

Search engines place a very strong emphasis on how may other websites hyperlink to your website. Think of links as a vote or recommendation of your website. Search engines like Google will reward a website that has more links to it than a website that has less links to it. The more links to your website, the higher your ranking will likely be in the search results.

There are two types of links to be aware of:

  • Simple URL: This type of link is simply when someone posts a link to your domain address (aka “URL”), e.g.:

Hi everyone, check out this new roller hockey league in town. Cheap rates: http://www.detroitmidtownhockey.com


  • Hyperlink: This type of link is better than a simple URL because it actually links keywords to your domain address, e.g.:

Hi everyone, check out this new roller hockey league in town. Cheap rates!


Hyperlinks connected with your target keywords are more powerful from an SEO perspective than simple URL postings.


Actively encourage your partners, fans, media, players, etc, to link to your sports website – preferably using your top keywords within the link – to help your search engine ranking.





Tip #9: Look at your competitor’s website meta data

If your competitor’s website is ranked ahead of yours in search engines, look at their Page Source to see what sort of titles and meta descriptions they are using. It’s not the entire secret to their success, but it may give you some insight.


To view a websites’s Page Source:


Using Internet Explorer:  Page => View Source

Using Firefox: View => Page Source

Using Chrome: Click on menu icon => More tools => View source


View their page source: Use Page Source data to learn what your higher ranked competitors are doing.




Tip #10: Take it to the next level


If you’re serious about SEO and what to implement more advanced SEO techniques, then you’ll want the following Google weapons in your arsenal. All but Google AdWords are completely free. Use them to monitor and fine tune your SEO efforts over time and leave your competitors in your digital dust:

Google Analytics

 Google Analytics is a free and powerful tool provided by Google that helps you track your overall website traffic. It also provides you with SEO insights such as how many visits search engines send to your website and what keywords people used to find your site. As a side note, Google Analytics also has a neat feature called “Goals” which allow you to track key actions on your website. For example, Google Analytics could tally up a successful goal every time someone signs up to receive your league information package.


For more information, visit:



Google Webmaster Tools


Use Google’s webmaster tools to ensure that Google is indexing your website correctly and to learn which keywords are being used to find your website.


For more information, visit:



Google Keyword Tool



The Google keyword tool within Google Adwords generates keyword and landing page ideas highly relevant and specific to your website (or a competitor’s website).

For more information, visit:



Google Adwords



To shore up your SEO efforts, especially for critical keywords where your competitors are ranked ahead of you, consider spending some advertising dollars through Google AdWords. Google AdWords can be very cost-effective because you only pay for when people click on your ad and you can also set a daily budget to keep costs under a certain level.

For more information, visit:




Tip #11: Track your rankings


There are paid (and free) monitoring websites that track your ranking in search engines over time for specific keywords. We recommended tools like Authority Labs or Positionly:



For more information, visit:

authoritylabs.com or positionly.com/



Tip #12: Get a quality CMS


Not to brag or anything, but Pointstreak’s CMS and professionally-designed sports website templates (called Pointstreak Sites) come with tools that let you manage content yourself. Also, our developers have built-in “SEO awareness” into the system making it easy to implement the steps in this white paper. Pointstreak Sites even contacts Google as soon as you launch your site, letting Google know that your site exists, inviting Google to come and index it. How smart is that?
Pointstreak Sites: Sports themed website templates


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