The Significance of your Search Ranking
When riders and commuters do a web search on your organization, what are the top 5 results?
According to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) authority MOZ, the top 5 search results typically capture over 67% of traffic. So if you want the majority of searchers landing on your web pages, you’ll want to make sure they appear within the top 5 results. Obtaining a high search engine ranking can be challenging though, because most search engines do not publish the exact details of their search ranking algorithms. However, you can boost your ranking by improving web page content, and by appropriately linking to other web pages.
The importance of SEO for community transportation was initially brought to my attention by our rideshare group. The team shared an SEO best practices tip sheet that they created for their customers with me. Realizing that SEO tips would be valuable to many of our transit and ridesharing readers, I asked the group if I could share some excerpts from their training document on the TripSpark blog. They were happy to oblige.
Without further ado, here are the team’s top tips to optimize community transportation web pages:
Optimizing Web Page Content: General Guidelines
- Your web pages may consist of readable text, as well as images, videos, and downloads. Text is more important than media content for determining your search engine ranking. Where possible assign text information to non-text content (like alt text for images).
- Begin your main landing page with a brief introduction to each of the services you offer.
- Follow this by a description of the service area, specifically mentioning the metro areas, cities, counties, and other regional descriptors that are appropriate by their full name, and commonly used nicknames.
- Avoid using abbreviations without spelling out the full words. Instead, spell out the words for services and organizations. (e.g. “Route 66 Park and Ride” instead of “Rt. 66 P&R,” or “Transportation Management Association,” instead of “TMA.”)
Describing Services Offered
- Fully describe in a short paragraph all of the services provided. Put the most prevalent or important services as close to the start of the page as possible.
- Use multiple related words such as “rideshare” and “carpool”, or “city buses” and “transit” in your descriptions, rather than just one or the other.
Describing Your Service Area
- When describing your service area, it is important to name major cities and counties within it, even if those names do not appear as part of your organization’s name. Name partner organizations such as service providers, municipal funders, TMAs, and major employers in full, along with the specific regions they serve.
- If there are commonly used nicknames for your region, you should list those as well.
Including Contact Information
- Improve the relevancy of your page by including contact information such as office business hours, customer service phone numbers and email addresses, and the names of key staff.
- Specify email addresses as a proper hyperlink using a “mailto” link. For phone numbers, use a “tel” link.
Using Video Content
- Embedding video into your website can be a great way to engage your customers, and it can also help your SEO if you include a written description.
- When embedding a video, it is recommended to include a full transcript beneath the video. This will maximize the search engine’s ability to rank the content of the video.
Using Images in your Content
- Avoid starting the content area with an image.
- When images are used, be sure to describe the content of the image in the appropriate HTML attribute, such as the “alt” attribute. Ask your web administrator to do this, or learn HTML and code it yourself.
Using Links in your Content
- Links should be utilized within the body of your text to connect readers with relevant web pages and downloadable content.
- Avoid using links that say “click here.” Words and phrases used as links should be spelled out in full and used within the context of a sentence or paragraph. (E.g. Acme Corporation Transportation Management Association instead of AC TMA, Roadrunner Regional Transit instead of RRT.)
- When creating a link to a partner organization or employer be sure to create your link to a page on their website that describes their partnership with you. Ideally, this page would also contain a link back to your website.
Using Keyword Meta Tags
- Once your content is fully developed, pull out a list of the keywords that frequently appear on each page, and deliver these to your web developer. Your keywords should consist of the name of your agency, partner agencies, services offered and the areas you serve.
- Have your developer place these keywords into “meta tags” on the appropriate places on your website to increase the potential for a higher rank in search results.
- Be sure to only include words that are contained in the content of the page, because including additional words in your meta tags can lower your search engine ranking.
This is Just the Tip of the Iceberg!
We hope you learned something useful from this blog on optimizing your web pages. The above guidelines are not intended as a complete guide to obtaining the highest possible rankings, but following these tips will give you a good start on the path to optimization. To learn more about boosting your SEO, reach out to your TripSpark rep, or check out an SEO authority such as MOZ.