Monday, April 14, 2008

What's your keyword?

One of the most important goals of your organization's communications plan should be to make sure people can find your organization when they are looking for information about your sector.

Does your organization's website appear at the top of search results that include keywords for your sector? A study by confirms that that "most people use 2 word phrases in search engines. Of all search engines world wide, 28.38 percent use 2 word phrases, 27.15 percent use 3 word phrases and 16.42 percent 4 word phrases."

[photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg]

This is a critical piece of data. It means that most people only type in 2 or 3 words when they're searching for information. If you had to express your organization's mission, purpose, vision and values in only 2 or 3 words, which words would they be? If you aren't sure, now is the time to come up with a strategy, and create a plan of action. By elevating the chances that you'll appear in the search results of those looking for organization's like yours online, you're guaranteed to increase your organization's visibility - which is more than can be said for more traditional publicity efforts like mailing out a press release.

Once you've taken the time to determine what your keyword strategy should be - spend the time to make sure your materials - both online and offline - use those keywords deliberately. It's not enough to bury them in your mission statement - or on the "about us" page of your website. Your keywords should be visible everywhere, and repeated as often as possible (without negatively impacting the quality of your written content).

The more you reinforce your keywords' connection to your agency, the more the search engines will do so as well. This practice is often called Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) and it's worth the effort if your organization doesn't appear on the first page of the search results for your chosen keywords.

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