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Friday 5 September 2008

SEO tips for egov/NFP

I've kindof blogged this stuff before but here's a MarketingSherpa 'inspired' helper to getting your stuff viewed (I'm thinking of egov and community stuff). And search engines will drive 50%+ of your traffic in nearly all instances. Y'know it!

#1 issue in SEO is links. They are ca-ru-cial. All search engines will rank you in their particular algorithm based in some fashion on links. #1 algorithm is Google's (80%+ UK traffic). The more 'authoritative' a link is the better. Think local press, think national brand. And an authoritative site is always popular and always relevant.
  1. Have great content
    What this means is something worth linking to.
    In the commercial world this would be considered 'Link baiting'. We (eGov/nonprofit) don't actually need to 'stoop' . We just need to do good PR - tell 'them' you have something worth linking to.
    Describe yourself properly (aka 'keywords') and use said keywords in your content. Here's a good example, instead of 'abandoned vehicle' how about 'abandoned car'? N.B your blogs actually act as ''link baiting''. Blogs seem to be extremely good at boosting Google rankings!

  2. Research your market
    If it's about X service who are the X targets? Where do you want a link from?
    In LOTS of service areas there's someone leaching off it - where are their links coming from?
    On Yahoo! Site Explorer type in the URL of someone doing something around your service, click “explore”. Click “inlinks”. Click “show inlinks: Except from this domain” to exclude internal links. Click “to: Entire site” to see links to every page on the site. You’re then given a list of every page that links to your competitor. Dig through the list to find sites that might link to you.

  3. Select good targets
    MarketingSherpa rates a 'link value' based on:
    Content on the page
    Topic of the site
    Number of outbound and inbound links
    Amount of advertising
    Reputation with search engines
    Website age
    OK. What this means is what sites are relevant to the topic and have a high Google rep. For Whitehall that means a limited number of relevant UK sites per topic. For Lgov that means a limited number of local/localised sites - many of which may actually be one-person productions, but they're highly relevant in specific areas. Directories are also relevant because many of them have been set up to capture traffic in specific geographic or subject areas. Talk to them - literally. There's usually a quid pro quo here. Just reject anything which asks for a posting fee, as search engines do the same.

  4. Partners
    Commercial sites set up relationship with people like newspapers - why not you? NB: they may need some help (!), i.e. pages to link from, what content should be on the page, and where the link should target. Think shortcuts. Or making sure the homepage is primed. And pick up the phone!

  5. Get well-built links
    This is a tekkie note. KEYWORDS: Write good anchor text. The words used in your links’ anchor text (the text users click) will affect your search rankings. The more links you have with the anchor text, the more likely you will have good search results. You want your target search keywords in your link’s anchor text. Also, it's not just the homepage, 'deep links' are most of your traffic. + search engines are likely to give better rankings to pages that attract links over time, rather than only recently or in the past. This is another reason why link building needs to be ongoing and (actually) why most egov sites start from an inbuilt advantage.

  6. PR
    Every single bit of PR should include a link to your site. Always ask for a link.

  7. Strategy
    Lots of tools out there which will track incoming links, record contacts. Allying this with analytics helps with understanding keywords and search terms and what actually drives your traffic and helps refine strategy.
HT: MarketingSherpa
and here's their useful links

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