5 Steps to a Better SEO Strategy – and More Website Traffic October 12, 2016 tmcclaryBlog Posts No Comments If you’re feeling underwhelmed by the volume of traffic to your public library website, it may be time to conduct an audit of your SEO strategy. The search engines are always adjusting their algorithms, which makes it necessary for website owners to regularly revisit and adjust their search engine optimization strategies. But what’s the best way to conduct such an audit? Moz is an SEO consulting firm that offers advice on how to improve your ranking in search engines. In this YouTube video, which is part of the company’s Whiteboard Friday series, CEO Rand Fishkin recommends website owners consider five questions about their organization and the people it’s trying to serve. To create content that brings more visitors to your website, you need to describe the library’s unique value and the ways in which you help solve community and user problems. But getting people to visit your website is just one goal of SEO. You also want people to visit the library in person. Or, as corporate marketers might say, you want to convert them to customers. Your SEO audit also should define this process. Rand’s video offers practical, easy-to-follow advice. I’ve taken the five questions he poses in his video, and adapted them for public libraries, with suggestions for how you might answer them. Keep in mind, though: your answers will be specific to your goals. Here are Rand’s questions: What does our public library offer that helps solve our visitors’ problems? One answer to this question might be: Our public library offers research databases to help local businesses create strategic plans. What is the unique value we provide that no one else does? One advantage of public libraries? Our services are free. For example, you might answer this question by stating: “We offer free access to computers and to the internet for people who can’t afford their own.” Who will help amplify our message? The key takeaway here is that you must define both your target audience and key influencers. For example, local media influences both community opinion and behaviors of local residents. In social media, members of local Facebook groups will share opinions about local businesses and services. So it’s important to actively share library news in these groups, not just on your Facebook page. What’s the process for turning website visitors into library users? Just because someone visits your website, it doesn’t mean she’ll walk through the library doors. If your goal is to raise funds for the library, you first need to map the donor’s journey from fact-finding to understanding the library’s need to making a commitment to give. A public library web marketing funnel might look like this: A resident of your community will search online to find local charities to support. This search may lead him to the public library website. He signs up for your newsletter via a link on the site. He receives an invite to a library fundraising event. How do we expose what we do in a way that search engines can understand? Of course, content creation is the way to drive people to your website. You must write content that answers questions and solves problems for your target audience. For example, some members of the community may want to download ebooks from the library, but have no idea how this works. You can create a simple video explaining the process, and post it on your website. This is exactly the type of content search engines want, and when they find it, they will rank it highly. Google and other search engines are placing heavy emphasis on well-crafted content that answers their users’ questions. The five questions in the Moz video provide an excellent framework for understanding how to create content that will rank highly in the search engine algorithms. After you watch the video, you’ll find it easier to create an effective SEO strategy for your public library website.