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SEO Tips for Publishers: Getting More Traffic at Your Web Pages

by Cheryl Woodard, Posted October 2008 

If your publication or nonprofit organization depends on the general public – and hopes people will find its web pages through Google – then mastering search engine optimization (SEO) is absolutely essential. SEO is a complex and changing issue, and one you can’t afford to ignore. I know some publishers and nonprofits who employ full-time SEO managers, or engage outside SEO consultants, to ensure maximum success. And we give detailed coverage of SEO in our book, Every Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing.

Use Keywords in Article Titles, Headings, and Links

If you want someone searching Google for ‘breast cancer support groups’ to find your organization, or an article on this topic, then make sure that exact phrase appears frequently in the article and on other pages of your website. And generally, search engines give more weight to keywords in a title, heading, or link than those in the body of a paragraph.

Put Keywords into Metatags

Metatags are invisible markings added to website pages to help search engines interpret the contents of each page. You should put your important keywords and keyword phrases into the page title and description metatags.

Update Frequently

Search engines track how much of a website’s content has changed since the last time their 'spider' visited the site. Freshly updated websites rank higher with all search engines than ones about the same subject that have not been updated recently.

Avoid Metaphors

To a search engine, “Busy Bees” is probably about insects, not PTA volunteers. Help the search engines avoid confusion by using precisely descriptive language rather than jargon, poetry, or metaphors.

Name Every Link

Since links carry more weight with search engines than regular text, make them meaningful, and use keywords in them, if at all possible. For example, instead of naming a link “More” or “Next Page” you might name it “More Breast Cancer Tips” or “Breast Cancer Tips, Page Two.”

Add a Site Map

Search engines depend on site maps to help find every last page inside your website, so publish a site map and keep it updated.

More Information

I recommend my book for first-time publishers. You can read it in one weekend, and you'll learn everything you need to know about starting publications. My second book, Every Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing (co-authored with Lucia Hwang) covers editing, design, and other topics I could not address in the first book. Look for both in your local library, well-stocked bookstores, or buy them right now from I wish these books had been available when we launched PC Magazine back in 1981.


If you are working on a publication and you need specific advice, feel free to email us. We work with newsletter, magazine, and book publishers of every variety. The chances are good that we can help you, too.


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