Monday, 6 February 2012

Search Engine Optimisation and Accessibility

SEO - if you've had any involvement with websites this will be old hat to you, this is all about trying to ensure your website is as high up the search engine list of hits as possible.

Some years back I helped put together a website for the local AA intergroup area.  Last year it went a bit stagnant as I was too busy at some points, the software I originally had used had a licence that expired and it wouldn't install on Windows 7.  We had someone who had been elected to lead on this and whilst I was willing to be the webmaster I was looking to them to lead the development etc.  Anyway that person has other commitments and left after some cajolling I'm now officially the person with responsibility.

I went to a regional workshop a couple of weeks back and returned with a couple of concrete actions - Accessibility; as a result of the disability access legislation. You can be prosecuted if your website is not accessible.  Did you know that?  So I looked up some of the stuff on that and have done as much as I think I can.  The other action was SEO.  I've been putting in links and a site map (fixes a point on the access thing as well) and meta tags etc.  I've managed to get the site to first, second of third in the most obvious searches on the three biggest used engines.   We're battling with sponsored links from other agencies which we'll never compete with and often the top hit is the main UK AA website so that is good either way.

However this has me thinking now - how would someone out there search for AA in my local area on the web?  I'll continue to come up with new searches and see if I can respond to them.  My latest issue is one area has a specific name but isn't the town name etc.  I'm fiddling with meta tags and addresses to get it in there but at the moment that is the one that doesn't get a good hit on our site.

I'm not very good with newcomers, my perception anyway, even when I drank myself I wasn't comfortable around drunks and I'm still not.  I'm also not the most succinct of communicators (you read this blog you must know this!) and that is often what they need not some waffle that I'll give them.  However through the website I've found a way that I'm truly supporting the primary purpose of any AA group "to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety".


  1. It's interesting what you say about metatags. Weused to teach them to our pupils when we were using HTML 1.0, but now we're on HTML 4(transitional) and using CSS,and I was under the impression that metatags were no longer important, as the search engines now analyse the content rather than the metas.
    I'll have to go back to teaching them I think.

  2. keywords are ignored but title and description are the main ones to try and use

  3. good effort...I have no idea what you're talking about re-metatags and the like but....good effort!!

  4. I used to work for a firm which, looking back at it, was very ahead of its time in trying to develop ways of developing accessibility standards compliant sites. Like TSB, I'm sad enough to say that I found fiddling with meta tags and searching for existing good codes of html and css, java, whatever, practice an interesting thing to have done.

    But they packed it in and let me go because it wasn't making any money. Now - I bet they could have had a bit of teh market.