Can the content be found using search words that make sense to the customer?

Customers may use search words that don’t match the exact terms used by your organisation.

The website should be designed for customer use – we need to be aware of the kinds of ways customers will search for our information. It’s likely that someone in your organisation will have access to analytics information, telling you about the search terms used.

However interesting and important our content might be to us, the key things to keep in mind as we create a page are how, why and when a customer will want to read or use it. If we make our content too hard to find, or too complicated for customers to understand, the council will appear out-of-touch, aloof and not working for the people it serves.

What will customers use as search words when they look for your content?

You should consider the following…

Is there a more common way of phrasing something?

For instance, the council might refer to “waste management”, but customers will overwhelmingly refer to “rubbish” or “bins”.

Does your page title reflect what people will search for?

The title forms the key data used by search engines when indexing and directing customer queries. ‘Front-load’ titles where possible – put keywords first. Keep them short and snappy. Avoid “etc” – be precise – no-one ever searches for “etc”!.

Have you neglected the “Introduction” or “Summary” sections?

An introduction or summary section provides a short explanation of what the page is about and is often used for the Description metadata tag, to describe the page for Google and other search engines.

All content in this guide is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated.