SEO Update

August 4, 2010

With the new website design launched late last year, we’ve really taken some time to focus again on search engine optimization (SEO) the past several months. Reformatting text to adapt to the new template was an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at our language and ask whether we were following our own rules for web writing.

The new template for first-level landing pages forces a very brief, simple explanation of a program. This really helped us to keep top-level pages short and to the point. The boxes allow us to introduce content that isn’t static, to keep our pages fresh. We’re using better headings and subheads. The new design also allows us some flexibility for a page title – the title within the page can be different from the title in the navigation, which can help with context. We also now have deeper levels of navigation.

We’re not done reworking all of our higher-level pages yet, but the difference is already stark. They feel cleaner, crisper – we’re taking the guidelines for writing for the web to heart.

But how does this affect our search engine optimization?
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SEO vs. Consistent Style

August 25, 2009

In the process of promoting this year’s Capacity Building Training Series, we’re implementing some of the SEO techniques we’ve been studying.

As Communications staff, one dilemma we’ve encountered is the use of alternate spellings from what we use in the TSNE style guide. Such as “nonprofit” vs. “non-profit” and “fundraising” vs. “fund-raising,” etc. TSNE uses “nonprofit” (except for the NonProfit Center) throughout all materials and the website.

So “non-profit” (the example in question was “non-profit financial management”) does not actually appear within the text on our page. Which translates to a lower quality score for certain search terms (“non-profit fund-raising”), and thus lower SEO potential.

If you have an organizational style guide, how do you address this issue? Do you ignore the style guide on your website in order to allow for multiple options to appear within the text? Do you stick to your style guide and remain consistent? Have you created a new style rule that still allows for consistency?

NPOs need to know SEO

August 29, 2008

While crafting interview questions for a new position at TSNE, the online communications associate, I added a question asking candidates how much experience they had with SEO (search engine optimization). Of course, SEO means, according to Wikipedia, the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to your website from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic“) search results for targeted keywords.

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Search Engine Optimization

August 26, 2008

SEO has been on our minds here at TSNE, and we’re excited to kick-off a more concerted SEO campaign this afternoon.

We’ve read a lot about SEO, and we’ve hosted a series of articles about it. It was certainly interesting to post an article and then realize – d’oh! we’re not doing x ourselves! – as we sat down to integrate the lesson learned.

But what we haven’t done yet is take a more systematic approach to our SEO, and build in techniques from the ground up. We’re so often putting up content under an immediate deadline that SEO is an afterthought.

Today we have a meeting with an outside consultant so we can finally start pulling all these pieces and techniques together in a comprehensive way. With the redesign in the works, this is the perfect opportunity to really practice what we preach. We’ll soon have some new content that we’ll be able to work with, and remap our brains to automatically think of SEO when posting.

I’m quite excited. We look forward to sharing what we learn.