Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an often-changing and often-misunderstood element of web best practices. Below are some simple tips to keep your page optimized:

  1. Understand who your users are, how they search, and write like they search
  2. Provide content that would be valuable to users who find you through search
  3. Keep your content up-to-date, placing the most important information near the top of the page.
  4. Discover what words people use to search related to your site by using the organic search data in Google Analytics, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool or Google Trends. Make sure the keywords you find can be found in your content throughout your site.
  5. Always have an alt text and title for every image.
  6. Do not write important information in images, as search engines cannot crawl images for text.
  7. Use descriptive keywords in your title, subtitle, headlines, subheads, and in the body of your content.
  8. Create valuable content and build community through social media

In SEO, your most important keywords should always appear in these key places:

  • Page Title
  • Meta Description
  • Headlines
  • Subheads
  • Links
  • Photo Alt Tags
  • Social Media

As you can see from the example “perfectly optimized page,” which comes from the SEO experts at Moz, the Page Title and Meta Descriptions are vital to your SEO, but it has become far more complex. While the example is a site selling chocolate donuts, GW’s Drupal will allow you to optimize your site similarly with the keywords vital to your school, college or department. 


G
raphic courtesy of Moz.com

Page Title

The Page title is the title that displays in search engine results, bookmarks, and the web browser title bar or tab. The page title should accurately describe the content of your site, include keywords users would use to find your site, and should be no more than 69 characters.

For example, if your school or department is often searched for by its full name and its abbreviation, both should be included in the page title (e.g. The School of Nursing (SON) | The George Washington University, Washington DC).

Description

A brief and concise summary of a site or page, displayed on search engine results. Your summary should contain the keywords users enter to find your site and should be no more than 156 characters (with spaces) in length.

An optimized meta description should contain your most important keywords up front and should entice a reader to click on your content.

While the meta description is not a factor for search engine rankings like Google, it is perhaps the most important piece of marketing for your school, college or department. As seen above, when no meta description is included, Google will scan a page for any text and include it in your search result.

Keywords

Metatag Keywords are a comma-separated list of words describing the content on the page. Keywords should be consistent with keywords in your page title and description and should reflect the keywords users search to find your site.

You can use tools like Google Analytics to find the keywords people use to discover your site or use Google Trends to do more in-depth keyword research. The keywords in this module should be a guide for all of the rest of your SEO and should appear in your Page Title, Meta Description, Headlines, Subheads, links, and body text.