What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

Almost every one of us use online search engines such as Google on a daily basis. A search engine is where one goes to garner information, ask questions and find answers. Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is how successfully your organisation’s website is optimised to direct online traffic toward your website or web pages, directing visitors to you as an organisation, and helping your marketing strategy in the following ways:

  • Take advantage of search demand, themes and trends
  • Reach new audiences, locally and globally
  • Strengthen your reputation
  • Direct physical visitors to your museum, gallery, heritage site by providing key information

Because people tend to trust organic links more, marketers try to increase their visibility organically by gaming the search engine’s ranking algorithms using Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. Despite the acronym, Search Engine Optimisation is as much about people as it is about the search engines themselves. This means the most important aspect of any SEO strategy is a clear understanding of audience behaviour, sometimes referred to as user intent. When reviewing and analysing actual audience behaviour through your website’s analytics,  it is important to assess both the online experience such as booking a ticket or accessing a blog, as well as physical visitors wanting information about opening times or disabled parking and how efficient your website is in meeting these needs. How these two visitor profiles overlap is linked strategically to ongoing audience research profiling your museum’s visitor/s and is reflected in the keywords you use in your SEO strategy.

SEO is about understanding what people are searching for online, the answers they are seeking, the words they are using, and the type of information or content they wish to consume at that precise moment.  Much of SEO strategy and terminology is geared toward the language of sales or online commerce, but that doesn’t mean the same thinking is not directly applicable to museums, heritage or cultural organisations.

Recap: what is SEO? 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

Cultural organisations may not be selling consumer goods, but museums need to categorise content and information in a way that utilises the same digital approach.