[logo: Kansas Heritage Group]

Search Engine Optimization Tips for Non-Profits

Historical Society/Museum Site Template
Your City, Your State

The basics:
When a search engine, especially google, visits your web pages, it will analyze the following elements:

How to use that information (Go to View and open Source to see template code.)

H1 Headers: Your Place/Event/Feature


H2 Headers: Your Second Most Important Item


H3 Headers: Your other pages

are important for search engines. Use terms that restate your site's content: eg., Our County History Sites/Museum Name, then History of Our County site/museum, etc

Your featured information: use content rich terms through out the document. Some repeated statements are useful -- remember this is not a printed work, but rather the web. If you are listing Wyatt Earp, then use Wyatt Earp later in the content, not just Earp, etc.

What seems duplicated to the eye on a printed page is necessary on the WWW for the best search engines results.

  • Your article Links should have labels that identify content -- not just "History" or "Trails" but rather "Your County Trail History"
  • Your article link -- Our history/galleries/event
  • Your article link -- Our photographs
  • Your article link -- Our museum
  • Your article link -- Our organization

Other search engine help

  • Get links to your site from high-quality, established, prominent websites. .edu .gov are best
  • Request links back to your site with keywords important to you in the < a link text. The link terms are critical, especially to google.
  • Make sure you use meta tags, ALTS, et al. Although some meta tags don't help much in searches, the description metatag is used by google, and certainly ALTs behind photographs, images, logos, etc. are used by search engines as part of the text content.
  • Title tags are critical -- google sees your title tag as a super link to your own site. Use up to 10 words or so -- the first five or six count the most, but more terms are better than fewer. Never leave a page without a title tag and never use just "index page" or "home page" -- meaningless terms for searches.
  • Get into the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!'s directory. Both help, and google hires the Open Directory Project to use their directory as part of their search results.
  • Be consistent with your internal links to your index page -- always use the same address.
  • Make sure none of your pages are standing alone -- always have a link from each page to other part(s) of your site structure. Cross-linking is good.
  • Place images on their own html page if you want to help them get found. The page will be like a super-pointer to the image, with title tags, captions, etc.
  • Update often, especially your index page.

    Updated thoughts: September 2008 for MPMA Session

  • Yahoo! is now using flicker [ www.flickr.com/ ] for their image index -- weak given that images are normally without context -- but you would be smart to upload some.
  • Google is now using a lot of MySpace images in results -- have a MySpace page and put images on it
  • MySpace page -- if you have one -- link to it from your actual home page
    Also see: Museums On MySpace and Museum MySpace Tips

World Wide Web-Virtual Library: W3 Search Engines
WWW-VL: Search Engine Tips & Secrets
Web Site Tools for Non-Profits
2008 AAM Small Museums & Technology resources
See: MPMA Technology Committee.
Site author: George Laughead Jr., manager, United States History Index. Thanks to Lynn H. Nelson.
Return to the Kansas History Web Sites
or to the Kansas Heritage Server.
Site formerly maintained at the University of Kansas. Hosted at www.vlib.us. Updated: 22 September 2008.

URL: http://www.vlib.us/web/histtemplate.html