Searching the internet - search engine optimisation for unions. Photo: Gary John Norman / Getty images

Search engine optimisation (SEO) for trade unions

We’re getting a bit techy with our latest report. It’s an introduction to Search engine optimisation (SEO to its friends). This covers a range of concepts around content strategy and editorial or technical optimisation, designed to make your content rank higher in the results returned by search engines.

So, why is search engine optimisation important for unions?

Well, for starters, our young workers’ project in 2019 found that union awareness is really low in non-members, especially those in their twenties. They just don’t instinctively think union. Whilst we might do very well in searches for trade union related terms, or the names of our individual unions, that isn’t what people might be typing into Google. A search for “how to organise your workplace” returns far more about desk tidies than it does about building power.

(Incidentally, you should read the bit in our report about the “personalised search trap” before you go trying this for yourself!)

What non-members are more likely to see on search could be ambulance-chasing law firms, new disruptor companies, or self-help blogs. None of which will give them an awareness of collective solutions to the work needs they may have.

Some unions are doing good work in thinking about how they might use paid search to back up recruitment drives. But it’s hard for us to work out what it’s worth spending. It’s generally easier for a business or charity to calculate a return on investment than it is for a union. Doubly so in green field recruitment.

Improving your union’s SEO could help reduce the need for and the cost of paid routes in recruitment.

Improving SEO in your own union

If you’d like to find out more about this, check out the new report “Search engine optimisation for trade unions”. It’s been written with regular Digital Lab contributor Simon Parry of You can register to download it here.