I’ve recently published the trade union website league table for 2014. The table isn’t an attempt to judge the content, design or functionality of the sites, rather it reflects how important each website is seen to be in the eyes of search engines, based on a number of standard website metrics.
I’ve been regularly working for and with unions for years, but since founding Infobo I’ve been working in the private sector as well. I’ve noticed one big difference between the two sectors when it comes to requests for services. In the private sector, the demand for website search engine optimisation (SEO), the art of making a website appear as high as possible in search engine results, is huge. However, unions I’ve worked with had little awareness of the area or the implications of getting it right.
For private sector companies, getting their products or services to appear near the top of relevant search engine results leads directly to more sales and clients, but for unions the benefit is less tangible. However, one of the key areas for unions is campaigning and influencing.
One way of doing this is by delivering a message through the union’s website. The more people who come across this message and visit the union’s website, the greater the influence that union has online. As most visitors to websites arrive through search engines, then search engine optimisation (SEO) provides a great opportunity for unions to increase visitors and therefore influence.
There are two key aspects to search engine optimisation (SEO):
- Configuring a website to work well and send the right signals to search engines – this is known as ‘on-site optimisation’.
- Getting links to your website from other websites – known as ‘off-site optimisation’.
The trade union website league table focuses on the second of these. It takes an average score from key metrics like Domain Authority and Google PageRank to reflect the quality and quantity of links to a website. Basically, it reflects how often a union is being mentioned and linked to on the web. The higher the score, the more likely the website is to appear high up in search engine results.
The most recent union website league table can be seen at http://www.infobo.com/trade-union-website-league-table-2014, while below is a summary of developments in the league table:
- Unite are the highest ranked union, knocking UNISON into second place for the first time.
- Unions that are also professional associations, such as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the British Dietetic Association, perform very well.
- Prospect sees the biggest improvement in the table, moving up six places.
- The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, NUT and the British and Irish Orthoptic Society all also improve significantly on 2013.
- PCS has the largest fall, moving down seven places.