A new skin, SEO and social media: Innovative ways to promote health education websites
Sullivan, B. A., Kerry, K., & Mak, D. (2013). A new skin, SEO and social media: Innovative ways to promote health education websites. Australasian HIV/AIDS Conference.
In 2009, the Department of Health WA launched Get the Facts (www.getthefacts.healthwa.gov.au) to provide sexual health and relationships information to youth aged 14 to 17 years. The website features a range of interactive features, including online chlamydia self-risk assessment and free testing, an email question and answer service, and a search function for sexual health services.
Browsing behaviours on the site reflected general online behaviour trends among youth: Many youth browse via smartphones and tablets and frequent social networking sites. Additionally, search engines are the primary portal of information for most youth.
In response to an independent evaluation conducted in 2010, the website was given a new ‘skin’ in April 2012 featuring updated artwork and photographs of youth from the target population. This was followed by a sustained 20% increase in website traffic for 11 months. In November 2012, a mobile version of the website optimised for smart phone devices was launched. Advertising on Facebook increased website referral traffic by 4000%. Search Engine Optimisation [SEO], implemented in January 2013 to improve rankings on various search engines, was followed by a 20% increase in website traffic and positive responses from the public.
Websites must be developed and promoted according to the browsing behaviour of end-users and technology trends to ensure maximum exposure and high traffic. For this reason, Get the Facts is being further-developed to include map and navigation functionality and to provide a tailored browsing experience based upon individual visit purposes. Continued online promotion and increased SEO is also planned.
sexual health, online strategies, social media, Search Engine Optimisation [SEO]