30 Mar 2016

Beware the Google personalised search trap

I do quite a lot of work on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is the art of helping websites appear as high as possible in search engine results. Sometimes this is because a company wants to sell more of their products or services, as appearing higher in search results usually leads to more visits and sales. Other non-profit organisations, such as unions, recognise that performing well in search engines means wielding greater influence on the internet, the dominant medium for retrieving information and news. In order to judge how well a website is performing, most people will simply
27 Aug 2015

Should your website be encrypted?

When Google announced in August 2014 that it is now favouring sites that are entirely encrypted in search results, websites started switching, using the secure HTTPS protocol as default. Many sites already use encryption for key pages such as login or online purchases, but the new trend is to encrypt everything. Is this something your website should be doing? On 1st August 2014, HTTP Archive, a website which tracks trends in the World Wide Web, showed that 9% of web pages were encrypted. This figure jumped after Google’s announcement, and currently stands at 20%. One big reason behind this
16 Jul 2015

How big is your union website (2015)?

Recently, I’ve been looking at the sizes of union websites as a benchmarking exercise to inform a union website redesign project. I thought I’d share the results of the analysis, as it provides some interesting insights, in particular the huge variation in size. It’s difficult to say how much content a website should have. Having too much or too little content both have their pitfalls. A good range of high quality content is a positive, but too much content can bloat a website, making navigation and searching difficult and slow. Similarly, too little content will be of limited use to members
18 Jun 2015

Trade Union Website League Table 2015

Every year in June I look at a number of industry metrics for all the TUC-affiliated trade union websites. To help unions see how their site has progressed, I compile them into a league table. The way these metrics are weighted changes frequently, so it’s important to look at them in comparison to other unions, and not just look at the scores on their own (see the results for 2014, 2013 and 2012). The metrics don’t directly measure the quality of a website’s content or design. Rather, they look at a number of off-site factors, the most important of which is how often the website is mentioned
10 Jun 2014

Trade Union Website League Table 2014

Every June I look at a number of key industry metrics to see how the TUC affiliated unions’ websites rank against each other. The results are compiled in a trade union website league table, and the 2014 version is now complete. The full league table can be seen below and last years' results are here: trade union website league table 2013. This league table isn't an attempt to judge the content, design or functionality of each site. Instead, it reflects how often a website is mentioned and linked to on other websites. To do this, I use leading metrics such as Domain Authority and Google
02 Jul 2013

Trade Union Website League Table 2013

It's been a year since I created the first trade union website league table, and so I've updated it below for 2013. I provide search engine optimisation services regularly to the private sector. However, I also do a lot of consultancy work with unions and I feel search engine optimisation is an overlooked area where unions can win influence by being more visible online. I've written about my feeling on this before, and this table is an attempt to highlight the importance of search engine optimisation to unions. The league table reflects how important the websites are considered to be by search
26 Jun 2012

The trade union website metrics league table 2012

There was a lot of interest in my report about trade unions and search engine optimisation. I've been asked about the scoring metrics I used to estimate how well a website would rank in search engine results. The metrics I used are the Page Authority, Domain Authority and MozRank provided by the leading Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tool provider, SEOMoz.org. I’ve also used the most famous metric of all, Google PageRank. We need to be careful when using metrics. They do not necessarily reflect how high a website will appear in results from Google or other search engines. For example, a well
08 May 2012

Search Engine Optimisation & trade unions

I’ve been doing a lot of work on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) recently. It’s a skill that is growing in demand as more and more organisations realise how much traffic they can generate through search engines. Having worked at Prospect and still working with union clients regularly, I thought I’d take a look at how effectively trade unions in the UK optimise their websites for search engine traffic. For those of you unfamiliar with Search Engine Optimisation, it’s the art of making a website appear as high as possible in the ‘organic’ search engine results. This is as opposed to the