One of the advantages I have running my own websites is the opportunity to experiment with SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. It’s a vital component of a content marketing strategy which I wrote about last blog post.
Search Engine Optimisation is all about maximising website traffic. It’s the strategy used to ensure your content is most easily visible to the right people. The better your SEO strategy, the more easily the right people can find your content. In essence, you need to understand two things to do good SEO:
- The keywords or phrases your intended audience uses to locate the content you provide.
- The algorithms used by Google and other search engines to prioritise content.
What’s SEO got to do with workplace learning?
Understanding SEO techniques of your organisation’s platforms helps you to maximise the reach of the content that you create. This is particularly important for content designed for workplace learning; simple and accessible content that employees retrieve to solve problems and develop mastery.
Perhaps the most important content management platform in most organisations is the intranet. Before writing and adding content onto the intranet, talk with your intranet master to understand how your intranet search engine works so that you can begin to write content that is optimised for search. Ask your intranet master what phrases and keywords employees are using to search for your content and whether the results they get are satisfying their origional enquiry. This information is usually available through the intranet’s analytics.
Tips for intranet SEO
- Uncover the keywords and phrases that staff typically use to search for your content, and use these terms consistently in all related content. The most important keywords should appear in your heading and several times through the body of the content.
- Conversely, don’t use unrelated keywords or you will annoy people when their search results turn up with irrelevent content.
- When posting your content, make sure to fill in all the metadata options. The metadata helps the search engine find your content.
- Get regular (e.g. monthly) analysis of your content pages and look for trends in relevance of search terms used to locate your content.
- Ask for a report of search terms that did not result in the right content being located. This signals to you that content useful to employees is missing from your intranet.
- Build a relationshp with the intranet master, and become one of the stakeholders consulted during intranet upgrades. Generally speaking, wikis are a better platform for content searchability than enterprise intranets.
- Watch the trends of Google and other search engines. This will help you to predict where the searchability of corporate content management systems is heading.
SEO and Google
For those of us with a website, there are five current trends to the Google algorithm that I keep mindful of when preparing my content:
- Google’s preference for video
- Google’s preference for fresh content
- Google’s preference for contributions by individual
- Google’s personalisation of the content you see, by location and keyword
- Google’s use of suggested search terms and phrases