Welcome to Part 1 of our 6-part series on SEO for escape rooms that covers Crawlable Pages.
Our SEO Series for Escape Rooms includes:
- Part 1: Crawlable Pages
- Part 2: Keywords
- Part 3: Authoritative Content
- Part 4: Structured Data & Rich Snippets
- Part 5: Page Speed & Security (coming soon)
- Part 6: Local SEO (coming soon)
Table of Contents
An important part of SEO is having a website that search engine crawlers can understand!
Text Trumps Visuals
To make it easy for spiders/crawlers to understand the content on your webpage, all important information should be in a TEXT readable format. That’s right folks, spiders read HTML, not visuals.
Images, videos, flash files, embeddable formats, and other non-text content are all basically invisible to the spiders. Unfortunately, many booking systems are incorporated into your website in an embeddable format that is unreadable to crawlers. I have seen many escape room websites where some of the most important information searchers are looking for (room name, description, number of players, availability, hours, etc.) is being completely ignored by search engines!
You may believe Google can see images, and to some extent, Google’s image recognition software is pretty sophisticated. But what you need to understand is that search engines cannot actually “see.” Rather, they start by looking at the ALT text set on the image, and then at the content surrounding the images on the page to determine their context.
As such, you must ensure that you have ALT tags on the important images you include. Similarly, it is helpful to include a written transcript of any video or audio files.
Ok, let’s get started!
Right click on an image on your web page and hit “inspect.” As you can see, the ALT text of the image is specified right in the call for the image, so:
<img src=”http://yourwebsite.com/uploads/some-picture.jpg” alt=” This is the alt text or image description“/>
For those of you unfamiliar with lines of code, ALT tags are usually offered up in a text field when you add the image and may be called “alternative text” (as WordPress calls it), “alt text,” “alt text attribute,” or even “description” in some content management systems.
As with all of your website content, make sure ALT tags are useful. Use them to point crawlers to important images that support your content, not on purely decorative images.
Finally, make sure the ALT text is informative, but don’t use it as an excuse to stuff in a bunch of keywords absentmindedly.
Links give search engines pathways to crawl around your website pages. You want to include direct and crawlable links pointing to the pages you want showing up in search engine results. You should also link to posts and pages within your site.
Creating Internal links simply means linking to between the various pages of your website. Linking to the different pages of your website makes it easier to relate content and concepts between pages, and makes it easier for search engines to crawl.
In the past, the common practice was to use a target anchor text for internal links. However, now I would recommend identifying phrases within your existing page copy where it makes sense to link out to other related content on your site. For example, if you are writing about your rooms in your “about us” page, link directly to that room from the description text.
Publishing compelling title tags and meta descriptions will help Google describe your page in its search results.
Meta attributes are the pieces of your web page written specifically for search engines. Your page title and meta description will also be useful for your potential customers, but nitty-gritty elements such as header tags, alt tags, and internal links are designed mainly for the benefit of search engine crawlers.
First, let’s focus on your page title. The title is probably the most important search engine optimization element of your page. It is also the part most likely to convert searchers into customers. Search engines give titles a heavy weighting signal, and in most cases, the title will be the first thing searchers see in Google search results. As such, this crucial element should smoothly incorporate your target keywords, and should appeal to searchers so they want to click! You have to accomplish all of this using a mere 60 characters!
Next, you want to write a compelling meta description. I am referring to the 160 characters that search engines show immediately underneath the page title in search results. Usually, the description is provided by the website owner (you!), but it can also be auto-generated by Google if you fail to provide one. In rare cases, Google may even replace/rewrite your meta description with one they feel better represents the content on your website.
The trick to writing a good meta description is to treat it like a film’s teaser trailer. You want to provide a short and sweet summary of your escape room’s best attributes. Try to cram in brief descriptions of your room themes or any other unique selling features you may have.
Make sure you don’t just list keywords and phrases. Instead, condense the most valuable information contained in your pages into a concise teaser that will encourage potential customers to click your page rather than a competitor’s.
Finally, another important element of your website is headings:
I hope I don’t get too technical here, but header tags (which range from H1 to H6) provide an HTML hierarchy for the copy on a page. Each and every page on a website should have a unique, keyword focused H1 tag and then use H2-H6 tags as needed to organize other sections of content. For example, you can look at the structure of this page.
Your main title should be in an H1. Also, an important note, pages should only ever have ONE H1 tag, but can generally have unlimited H2-H6’s, although as with any website optimization tool, use them in moderation!
Organizing your website so it is easily readable (to humans and search engines) is a great first step when it comes to SEO. Be sure to check out our next SEO article discussing the importance of keywords!
Click to see our Escape Room SEO Overview!
Brad Kendall is the Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer at EscapeAssist. Brad became obsessed with escape rooms in 2015, but was frustrated with the lack of user-friendly websites and booking systems. In 2016 he set out to build a better solution for escape rooms by designing the EscapeAssist All-In-One Software.
Brad has over 10 years of technical experience, and has worked with and/or founded tech companies in California, New York, Canada, and London. He has acted in both technical and non-technical roles to implement successful tech projects for various fortune 500 companies.