ALDC introduction to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – part two

This article is part two of the series of articles by ALDC on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If you have not yet read part one you should start there.

This article should explain why SEO is an ongoing process. It should also help you realise the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Such as improving the content on your site and understanding what search terms local residents are looking for.

With SEO there is no particular short cut, but once you understand how people look for things using search you should keep that in mind while adding content to your MyCouncillor site.

The first step is keyword research; finding out what local residents are searching for and how it relates to you as a campaigner.

For example, as a local campaigner standing for council, residents might search for your name, party or ward. When you find out you can optimise your content to fit what people are looking for.

This might mean using clearer and more explanatory titles for your MyCouncillor articles.

Consider this – your research shows you that your website’s visitors regularly search things such as: ‘Romiley Councillor’ and ‘Greenbelt plan’. You just happen to have written a blog article about the Greenbelt plan in Romiley. Which of the two headlines is most obviously about these terms?

 ‘BETRAYAL’ or ‘Romiley Councillor Lisa Smart is fighting the Conservative plan to build on our greenbelt’.

Search engines use everything they know to try and make relevant searches for people so when we create content we should sign post it by using explanatory headlines.

‘BETRAYAL’ Might be great for this story on a Focus leaflet, it might even be great as an email title. But it’s very non-descriptive and it would be harder for a search engine to find out if it was relevant.

‘Romiley Councillor Lisa Smart… etc’ is long and cumbersome for a Focus leaflet but it’s self-explanatory and very descriptive, so is great for a headline on your website.

When a search engine crawls the internet to find the content someone is looking for it will tend to place descriptive content it is sure is relevant high up on search queries.

SEO is a continuous process because search habits change as issues become more or less relevant, people change their behaviour and search engines change the way they ‘crawl’ content.

How do we work out what people are searching for?

There are several tools available for internet users. You can sign up to a Google AdWords account to learn about suggested keywords or look at national trends by exploring Google Trends. Both of these services are available for free with a google account and you can find them with a simple search.

One of the best ways to do simple keyword research is to ask voters, supporters, friends and families what terms they would use to search for help with a local problem or to find a local councillor or campaigner. When you find out, make sure you use similar terminology when writing your articles.

Learning points:

  1. SEO constantly changes due to the ever-changing nature of peoples’ behaviour, trends and new technology.
  2. Be descriptive in headlines, body text and when naming photos – use the name of your candidate and area often; and make it clear what your article is about.

Action for you

Try to write a small article about a local issue. Make sure you use what you’ve learned to make it clear and descriptive. Mention the place, the issue and the candidate regularly.

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