Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving web pages so that they are more easily found by search engines and provide good search results. Optimizing a website primarily involves editing its content and coding to increase its relevance for both search engines and what users might be searching for.

Keywords

Consult Google Analytics for the keywords that users search to find your webpages. Ensure these keywords are used in the page title, meta description, headings and body text. Contact OIT for access to your website's Google Analytics account.

Title

The 
<title>
 tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. In OU Campus, the title is populated by the "Title" field at the top of the Properties tab while in Edit mode.

Ensure that all of the web pages in your website include descriptive titles. These should refer to the content of the page and be as specific as possible. In some instances, search engines may truncate titles in their results, and your title or description may be abbreviated if it exceeds a particular search engine's limit. Keep this in mind and make your title about 130 characters (including spaces) in length, including relevant keywords. The department name is automatically appended to the end of the title by OU Campus. For example:

<title>Program or Service | Department Name</title>

Description

The 
<meta name="description">
 tag contains a snippet of up to 320 characters that summarizes a page's content. However, to ensure that your description is not truncated, you should try to limit your description to about 130 characters (including spaces) in length. Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the queried phrase is contained in the description, so relevant keywords should be included. In OU Campus, the meta description is populated by the "Description" field, just below the "Title" field, of the Properties tab while in Edit mode.

Screenshot of Title and Description fields in OU Campus

Content on the page

Good content is the most important method for effective SEO. Ensure there is text on every web page (not only video or images), and that the content contains plenty of rich information, including relevant keywords that indicate the subject matter of your site. Most search engines scan the full content of a page, including headings and image ALT tags. Consider what words and phrases your intended readers are searching for, and craft well-written copy based on this. Try to use the strongest keywords early and often in the text.

Search for your site

Once you have addressed content and added appropriate title and description, allow time for search engines to crawl your site (this varies by search engine but can take up to a month) and then try some searches to see where you land in the results. You can then consider adjusting your title, meta description and page text accordingly. Again, knowing what keywords your audience is using to search will assist you in this process.

Resources

There are many resources on SEO. A basic search on SEO will bring up many listings. Some include: