Search Engine Optimization

So what is search engine optimization (SEO) and why is it such a big deal?

Well, that's a great question. Search engine optimization is related to how individual pages show up in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo!. The strategy consists of adding tags and keywords to a page in such a way that, when done well, the page will consistently appear in search results and prompt a user to choose (click) the link to our site.

You can get Search Engine Optimization analysis by asking for a SiteImprove account. 

Best Practices for Search Engine Optimization

Below is a list of practical tips to help improve ranking of UTC pages in search engines.

  1. Use the words and phrases (keywords) that your users are most likely to type into search engines.
    • Tags, a new feature (under Section and Page Properties & Parameters) will be used in the future for search biasing and prioritization.
  2. Write effective URLs, with keywords included, and dashes separating words. Skip unimportant words.
  3. Write effective title tags for each page of the web site, so that Google will correctly files your pages in its library.
  4. Write compelling metatag descriptions for each page of the web site, so that once your page climbs to the top of the search engine results, visitors will choose it.
  5. Write focused, optimized content for primary "magnet" pages (i.e. for degree programs).
  6. Use properly ordered and nested Headings to visually and semantically structure your text content.
    • Avoid using blank lines for vertical spacing; use horizontal lines. Avoid using bolded text for headings; use the basic Heading 1, Heading 2; italics in headings are OK; bold in headings is not.
  7. Include keywords in the internal links that are sprinkled throughout the content on your site (e.g., "Click here for more information about financial aid, loans, scholarships and grants," NOT "Click here for more information."
  8. Eliminate all duplicate content throughout the site.
  9. Pay attention to site architecture, and don't have "magnet" pages nested too deeply within the site.
  10. Use your own "link juice" from your home page to boost "magnet" pages.
  11. Addition through subtraction (take outdated or useless pages off web site; move off-topic content to another page; and remove unnecessary layers of nesting).
  12. Use great design, great calls-to-action, and great directions for next steps to take to turn your newfound search engine traffic into conversions!

This list was collected by Noel-Levitz and presented via Omni Update (October 30, 2012) for training titled "Search Engine Optimization Best Practices 2012".