Search Engine Optimization
- What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
- What does SEO mean exactly?
- How do search engines work?
- How do I make my content SEO-friendly?
- Are there other ways to make content SEO-friendly?
- What are page titles?
- What are metadata descriptions?
- How do I add all of this information?
SEO is the method used to boost the ranking or frequency of a website in results returned by a search engine in an effort to maximize user traffic to the site.
The Internet is the primary method of locating information for the vast majority of people. If they need answers, then they go straight to a search engine such as Google or Bing. With so many websites currently on the planet, it is ill-advised to take on the “if you build it, they will come” mentality when creating or revamping your website. In order to “boost” your site, it needs to accommodate those search engines by providing them information on who, what, and where you are.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ll keep it simple and leave the highly technical aspects out. Search engines basically have four roles:
- Building an index
- Calculating relevancy and rankings
- Serving results based upon those calculations
Through automated robots called “crawlers” or “spiders,” search engines can reach the billions of web pages that exist. Once robots find these pages, they then parse the code and store what they need to be recalled when a search query is conducted.
There are many things to consider, most of which will happen behind the scenes in the CMS and the templates that are already prepared for you. Your top priority is to make sure your content includes the keywords or phrases your audience is searching for.
To ensure that your site is SEO-friendly, follow these steps:
- First, list the most important words andIn/or phrases currently featured on each page of your website. The keywords will likely be different for each page.
- Next, put yourself in the mindset of your audience. What would they be searching for to find the content that you are providing? List those words and/or phrases.
- Next, compare the two lists. Do they align? If not, you will need to modify your content so that it includes more of the keywords your audience is searching for.
Yes. You can use the CMS to enter title tags and metadata descriptions for each page you create, making it easier for search engines—and your audience—to find your content.
A page title, also known as a title tag, is the word or phrase that appears in the tab in an Internet browser, at the top of an Internet browser window, and on an Internet search result page. Creating the correct page title descriptions can help boost your site's web pages on Google's Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and make it easier for visitors to find your information.
Page Title Tips
- Page titles should be concise. Avoid long titles, which are likely to get truncated when they show up in the search results. Limit your page titles to no more than 70 characters.
- Brand your titles, but concisely. Consider including just your site name at the beginning of each page title, separated from the rest of the title with a delimiter such as a hyphen (-), colon (:), or pipe (|). Try to use “University of South Florida” or “USF” in your titles when possible.
- Page titles should be distinct and descriptive. Avoid vague descriptors, such as “Home” for your homepage. Instead, select a distinct, descriptive title for each page on your site without duplication.
- When creating page titles, move from the most specific information to the most broad — use capitalization and separate sections by vertical bars.
- Department/College Name | USF/University of South Florida
Try to match your text pages to the content title that you have chosen.
- Content Title | Department/College Name
- Content Title | Section Title | Department/College Name
- Content Title | Department/College Name | USF/University of South Florida
- Do not have the same words or phrases appear multiple times.
- Example: College of Engineering | Engineering | Engineering
A metadata description is the text that can appear below the page title in the search result page. Metadata descriptions are a good way to provide a concise, human-readable summary of each page’s content. It’s important to create a metadata description for every page on your website.
You can use the USF CMS to enter a metadata description for each page. Here are a few tips for creating meaningful metadata descriptions:
- Metadata descriptions should be distinct and descriptive. Create descriptions that accurately describe the specific content featured on that page. Do not duplicate metadata descriptions across multiple pages.
- Metadata descriptions should be concise. Limit them to 160 characters and do not include quotation marks.
- The metadata description doesn’t need to be in sentence format. You can also include structured data featured on the page.
You have the ability to add page titles, metadata descriptions and keywords as you build each individual page within the USF CMS. You can also add or edit metadata on your site's homepage.