Search engine optimization is an important digital marketing strategy for any organization. Public libraries can and should take advantage of SEO techniques so that their websites can rank highly on the first page of search results.
The first step toward improving search ranking is to understand the words and phrases that people use to find your public library website. Of course, the most popular phrase is bound to be your proper name, followed closely by a phrase that includes the name of your town paired with the words public library. For example: Dwight D. Eisenhower Library or Montclair Public Library.
But its a good idea to explore and use other words and phrases that people might be using to find your website. Some examples could be: public library hours, public library resources, job search help or free computer access. Beyond brainstorming a list, there are several tools that can help you determine which phrases are being used most often.
Google has long had the most popular and free research tool: the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. However, it is replacing the free external version of this tool sometime in the next couple of months. Its replacement, the Google Keyword Planner, will be available only to users with an AdWords account.
Googles Keyword Planner allows users to upload keywords and get estimates for how often the terms are used. It also allows users to search for keywords in specific group lists. While both Google tools are primarily for advertising, theyre also useful for determining the most effective keywords for organic search.
There are several other services that provide a look at the most popular search terms around your topic, although all require a subscription to get the full benefit.
For example, Wordtracker Scout offers a free seven-day trial and has a downloadable Chrome extension that can be used to search keywords on the Web. After the seven-day trial, its priced at $69 a month or $449 a year. Enter a word or phrase, and it returns several related hundred words or phrases that people have typed in real searches.
And SEMRush offers a free version that provides insight on words that are driving traffic to a competing site. This is useful for understanding not only how people are reaching your site, but also how they reach other library sites. Results are limited to 10 keywords in the free version. The full paid version is available for $69/month.
Upcoming posts will cover how to evaluate and choose keywords to improve your search engine rankings.