Introduction Search engines have become the global gateway for information. Despite the expanded use of search engines there is little evidence of how governments and quasi-government organisations are optimising their search engine strategies to guide searchers to their safety and health information. The objective of this presentation is to discuss our findings summarised as the seven cardinal factors of search engine optimisation.
Methods Within a specific NIOSH program we collected data and performed a series of basic content analysis reviews and extracted a range of metrics including but not limited to what specific actions resulted in changes of page rank for selected topic pages, the effect of selected referring domains, the importance of authority and the impact of social media initiatives in improving search results. In addition, we conducted interviews of web leaders in industry at a pre-selected Google event and summarised the applicable findings.
Results A few core findings were clearly evident as follows: keywords are still important. However search algorithms are being modified to discover meaning beyond a simple query labelled ‘semantic search.’ ‘Authority’ is being measured and being a government entity or an entity recognised with a proven record of producing scientifically useful evidence is of real benefit. Regular fresh content is essential and simple language and coherent writing are recognised and rewarded. Finally, and most importantly social media drives search and must be a part of an organisations overall communication strategy.
Conclusion Search engines are famously creative in encouraging breakthroughs that deliver information to searchers and therefore are constantly changing their algorithms. Recognising the importance of these changes and their online effect is essential. The application of the seven cardinal factors to improve our overall SEO strategies will provide us a roadmap for success in engaging our communities.
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