Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The goal of SEO is to increase traffic from search engines by optimizing internal and external aspects of a website. A few fundamentals can help you generate search-engine results for your site.

SEO is particularly important because many visitors will use a search engine to navigate to your site, whether it is from an actual search-engine page or the site search tools used on JSU websites.

SEO hinges on keywords and specific spots on a page where they show up. In addition to other elements, search engines recognize keywords in determining what should show up in search engine result pages for a given keyword or term.

Here are just a few best practices to consider when creating content:

  • Text should be between 300-500 words per page
  • Each page should have one primary focus; keywords or phrases related to the page topic should be used
  • Some links to other sites can be a good thing, but outbound links should not dominate a page
  • Photos should be used to add interest to pages. Make sure to use ALT tags on photos with topic-related keywords.

Fundamental Elements for SEO:

Page Titles

Some say that a page’s title—what shows up centered along the top edge of a browser window—is the single most important SEO element. The page title also serves as the search result. If it’s not relevant or says something as basic as “HOME,” then it fails to distinguish itself for a search engine or a user.

Optimized URLs

A URL is a web address, but like a page title, it should tell users what to expect if they click on it or paste it in the browser. In much the same way, a URL can also tell a search engine what the page is about. JSU’s websites use automatically-generated and optimized permalinks that keep the URL short and include an intuitively named page title. Add: Hyphens may be used for URLs that use more than one word (…/homecoming-2013).

HTML Tags and Metadata

This step takes search engine optimization from on-page text into the code.

Be sure to use your title tags and H1, H2, and H3 tags for ranking the first-, second-, and third-most important keywords on your page. Search engines can be particularly interested in text tagged as <bold> or <strong>. Be sure to use hyperlinks in your actual text, avoiding generic phrases for linked text such as “click here.”

Most search engines have stopped using metadata, or meta keywords and descriptions, as criteria in a search. However use of the tags remains a best practice because the tags can help your page be more appealing in the summary section of search-result pages.

Within your site, using the same metadata for numerous pages can actually have a detrimental impact on search results. So use it strategically. WordPress plugins such as Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO Pack can be added to your site in order to provide SEO tools within the WordPress admin.  Please contact the JSU webmaster for more information or to add these features to your site.

Linking

The number of pages linking to your home page and the number of pages you link to can affect search results. Link to other pages within your site and within the overall JSU installation whenever possible.  In addition, encourage external websites to link to yours, which will help you both.