Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Essentially SEO is structuring your website in a way that search engines understand. When a person searches for your organization in Google, Yahoo, etc. you want that search engine to be able to match your website with that search. SEO doesn’t just make your website easier to be found by search engines, it also makes your website easier to follow for users.

How Search Engines Work?

Search engines crawl the internet looking at websites. When they find yours they build an index of it. When someone searches for something the search engine provides a ranked list of the websites they’ve determined are the most relevant and popular. The results are determined using mathematical equations (algorithms) to sort website by relevance, and then rank them in order of quality (popularity).

Searching for a Site

If someone searches for “unions in new york” in Google, the first result is “Apprenticeship Opportunities – New York State Department of Labor.” Based on their search algorithm, Google has determined this site to be the most relevant and popular based on the search request. Looking at this page shows a massive list of unions in New York. If we refine this search to “teacher unions in new york” the first hit is NYSUT: New York State United Teachers. Understandable as it is the largest teachers union in New York.

If people are searching for your website search engines are generally intuitive enough to help them find it. SEO will help people find your website even easier amongst general searches.

Improving Your SEO

Search engines don’t see your graphics, photos, and video. They see words and they want to make sure those word make sense within the structure of your website.

Make sure the content on a page matches with the title of that page. For example, if you have a page titled “Minimum Wage” all of the content of that page should include information on the minimum wage. The words “minimum wage” should show up in:

Make sure your links are relevant. If you have a link from your home page to your page on minimum wage make sure the link says “minimum wage.”

The best thing you can do is make sure your website is providing relevant content for your members. Structure your website in a way that is easy to follow and makes sense. That will keep members coming back and keep your website high in search engine rankings.

Driving Members to Your Website