Essential Search Engine Information Technology for Political Junkies and Activists: The URL & Image Filename

Think like a robot and a user searching on Google

People spend a lot of time and money trying to become pals with Google and social media software algorithms which are ever-changing. Search engine optimization is a tough balance between robots and humans, but I’m going to try and simplify it for you with easily usable techniques. SEO is definitely a mixture of science and art, however for the average political or personal website or blog, you can quickly avoid a few no-nos and institute effective techniques.

Don’t go crazy, sometimes you just have to go full on human, but most days it will be a compromise between humans and robots. I almost always do not implement my own advice 100% but the essence is there.

The URL

Super important, this is what Google first sees and heavily weights. Generally in WordPress the URL and the Post Subject are the same but they don’t have to be. Think like a robot and a user searching on Google. Just because every human in Uptown Chicago knows who the incumbent alderman is, spell it out. Google doesn’t know and could care less. To me, ‘That Horrible Alderman’ says everything to get my attention. To a robot, ‘Chicago’s 46th Ward Alderman Cappleman Builds Luxury Housing While Homeless Sidewalk Sleep’ says a lot more. Not only that, but the 2nd example contains things people are more likely to search on. No one except me searches on ‘horrible alderman’. In this election season (a little less so the rest of the year), people search on ’46th Ward Alderman Chicago’ all day and night.

The Image

Visually engaging the human reader is also super important. Google doesn’t read text in your images. Image text is useless, and Google and social media will even penalize you in their algorithms for text they perceive are predominantly text. The image in this post is illustrative to you to what is being discussed here but not the best for Google and social media.

Google and social media may make some kind of attempt to determine if your image is adult-oriented, violently graphic or what not, but generally they are not going to determine wow this is a great image or make quality judgements, but humans do, so put your best image forward.

The robots do however pay attention to the image filename, which many ignore to their detriment. The worst is straight out of the camera, like ‘DSC12345.jpg’, don’t even think of doing it. Still bad is image names for your convenience, like ‘view outside my south window.jpg’. No one will search for those.

Don’t think to yourself no one sees the filename. Google eats filenames like mustard on a hot dog and humans get them in image searches a lot. A good file name should start with your site name and then a good description, maybe even the post title or URL, like ‘openUptown 46th Ward Alderman Cappleman Builds Luxury Housing While Homeless Sidewalk Sleep.jpg’.

The Headline

To consider the subject a headline is really blowing a chance to not only expand and clarify to humans your subject/URL but also to feed robots with another <H1></H1> tag, which is significant. It’s not just visually standing out. Robots weight Headline tags higher, especially the 1st ones.

OK, Happy Trails!

Thanks,
-Yehuda

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