Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) makes your webpage more appealing to search engines, thereby improving your rankings in search results. SEO is a free way to garner more relevant traffic to your website by thoughtfully creating and formatting your content.
For technical assistance with implementing the guidelines below, please contact us via the C&M General Work Request Form and a member of our Web Services team will be in touch.
Keywords are the words or phrases that people might search for to find your site. Determining the appropriate keywords or phrases for your webpage is the first step to implementing proper SEO.
Asking the following questions can help identify useful keywords and phrases for your conent:
- Think like your page visitors - what are they searching for?
- How would you describe the information on your page?
- What words and phrases do your competitors use that are also relevant to your content?
Target a few keywords/phrases per page. The keywords you decide upon should be:
- Extremely relevant to your page
- Frequently searched for but not overused by competitors
- Powerful enough to draw people in
- Be relevant to your page
TIP: Look at possible keywords’ popularity using a tool like Google Trends or Ubersuggest.
Look for keywords that rank high in search volume but are not too competitive. If a keyword is very popular, there may be so many web sites attempting to target it that it’s effectiveness becomes diluted. But an unpopular keyword will not generate much useful or relevant traffic.
Using Keywords in Webpages
Content must address the intent of keyword searchers. For best results, your keywords should be contextual to your content and should be incorporated seamlessly, ideally in more than one place.
The following are important ways incorporate keywords for effective SEO:
- Include in the page title and URL
- Your page URL will be automatically generated by the page title.
- Include in image file names and alt text
- Make sure your image file name is configured properly before you upload it to the media library, and be sure to enter the alt text after you upload.
- Remember that images may be used on multiple pages, so ensure that your keywords are appropriate wherever they may be displayed.
- Learn more about alt text here
- Include in headers
- An <h1> will automatically be created with your page title, but you can create lower ranked headers in your page content.
- Learn more about headers here
- Use in the page metadata (Kentico only)
- Meta Description - often used as the snippet in search results pages (160 characters)
- Meta Keywords - although these no longer have a strong impact on SEO, they should still be relevant.
- Update both of these fields in the Properties > Metadata tab in Kentico
ALERT: “Keyword stuffing” – excessively repeating a keyword over and over in the content of your page, or including popular keywords that are not directly related to your content – is an attempt to cheat the system and will be flagged by Google.
If your page is found to use these tactics, its ranking will be penalized and you will lost visibility and traffic.
Content “size” matters.
Experts recommend at least 300-500 words for a single, standard page (more for blog posts, news stories, or articles). But don’t just add more text for the sake of length - all copy should be relevant to the topic at hand.
Content quality matters.
Check for spelling and grammar errors, update it regularly to ensure it is current, and make sure it is original (don’t just copy from another page!)
Avoid using “Read more” or “Click here” for links – use descriptive, action-oriented language.
- Examples: “Access the guidelines”, “Register to attend”, etc.
Internal vs. External Links
Internal links (links on your web page that point to other pages within the same site) support SEO by establishing site architecture and information hierarchy, and allow your page to benefit from the established search ranking and authority of existing pages.
- Links in the site menu will help here, but including an additional link or two to other pages within the site may improve your results.
External links (links from other sites pointing to your page) are extremely effective for improving search performance. External links are seen as evidence of popularity and authority, adding “weight” to your page and allowing it to appear higher in rankings.
- Encourage other sites to link to your site using descriptive words/keywords as the anchor link text
- Note that links from “trusted sites” – education, government, news outlets, etc. - weigh more than those from typical sites
- Remember that good, relevant content will always be the most effective way to get other sites to link to you.