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A webpage which is content-rich, authoritative, unbiased, and helps visitors learn more about what they are interested in is most likely to attract links from other websites, which improves your search engine optimization.
Identify and target a specific keyword phrase for each authoritative content page on your website. Think about how your reader might search for that specific page with search terms like:
You’ve probably noticed that we feel pretty strongly about content . Search engines do, too. Regularly updated content is viewed as one of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy , so be sure to keep it fresh. Audit your content on a set schedule (semesterly for example) and make updates as needed.
Once your keyword phrase is chosen for a given page, consider these questions:
Keyword metadata is rarely if ever used to tabulate search engine rankings. However, you should already know your keyword phrases, so it doesn’t hurt to add them into your keyword metadata. You’ll want to include a variety of phrases. As a general rule, try to keep it to about 3-7 phrases with each phrase consisting of 1-4 words. A great example would be “computer science degree.”
It is very difficult for a webpage to achieve search engine rankings for multiple keyword phrases—unless those phrases are very similar. A single page may be able to rank for both “biomedical engineering jobs” and “biomedical engineering careers”. Ranking for “student affairs” and “dean of students” or “gender discrimination” and “violence reporting procedures” with a single page is unlikely.
Quality, authoritative content is the number one driver of your search engine rankings and there is no substitute for great content—this is especially true when doing SEO marketing. Quality content created specifically for your intended user increases site traffic, which improves your site’s authority and relevance. Fine-tune your web writing skills and present yourself as an authority on the topic you are writing about.
Description metadata is the textual description that a browser may use in your page search return. Think of it as your site’s window display—a concise and appealing description of what is contained within, with the goal of encouraging people to enter. A good meta description will typically contain two full sentences. Search engines may not always use your meta description, but it is important to give them the option.
Improve your authority and credibility by adding relevant links within the text. Instead of having “click here” links, try writing out the name of the destination. “Click here” has no search engine value beyond the attached URL, whereas “Michigan Tech Enterprise Program” is rich with keywords and will improve your search engine rankings as well as the ranking of the page you are linking to. Always use descriptive links by linking keywords—it not only improves search engine optimization, but also adds value to your readers, including those with disabilities or who are using screen readers.
For those with a CMS website, the web team has developed an automated system for creating the meta title for each webpage based on your page title. This adds to the importance of using well-thought-out page titles rich with keyword phrases .
Beyond page URL, title, and headings, content is most influential on search engine rankings. Repeat your keyword phrase several times throughout the page—once or twice in the opening and closing paragraphs, and two to four more times throughout the remaining content. Be authoritative. Strategically link to relevant sources and additional information—both within your organizations broad website and even to other websites which are useful.
When designing your website, each page contains a space between the <head> tags to insert metadata, or information about the contents of your page. If you have a CMS site originally produced by the UMC web team will have pre-populated this data for you. However, it is important for you to review and update metadata as your site changes over time.
Answering yes to these questions can improve your search engine ranking. Be natural and user-friendly , though. For instance, you do not want the word “engineering” to show up three or more times in the URL or have the phrase Northern Lights repeated in the page title and also every heading. Readability and usability still trump search engine optimization.
Don’t forget to use bold , italics , heading tags (especially an H1), and other emphasis tags to highlight these keyword phrases—but don’t overdo it. You still want your language and writing style to read naturally. Never sacrifice good writing for SEO. The best pages are written for the user , not for the search engine. Read more about SEO marketing to help you find new content opportunities.
Always describe your image and video media using alt tags, or alternative text descriptions. They allow search engines to locate your page, which is crucial—especially for those who use text-only browsers or screen readers.
Title metadata is responsible for the page titles displayed at the top of a browser window and as the headline within search engine results. It is the most importan t metadata on your page.
If you want to rank for multiple keywords phrases with your website, you will need to make a separate webpage for each keyword phrase you are targeting.
Follow these suggestions to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and watch your website rise the ranks to the top of search-engine results.
Writing additional content, rich with keyword phrases, on your departmental news blog can also boost your search engine rankings. Blog posts can even be shorter updates about the specific topics you are targeting. Interlink your related CMS webpages and blog posts when it helps give the reader a better picture or additional information about the topic.
These are only a few of the many methods for improving your search engine ranking. If you want to learn more, we recommend the following resources:
2. Update Your Content Regularly.
Most other quantitative keyword tools require a paid subscription. But some still suggest keywords, for free, without providing data on popularity.
You can’t optimize what you don’t measure. SEO requires a basic understanding of Google Analytics (or equivalent) to know which pages to optimize and which are performing strongly.
Google advises site owners to build compelling websites that users want to tell their friends about. This content-engagement approach to SEO is Google’s answer to, “How do I get more links ethically?”
3. Understand Your Competition.
The keyword research in step 2, above, comes in handy as it provides an idea of the most influential and best-ranking sites to approach.
Look at your highest-level category pages. My research shows that ecommerce category pages should drive up to 32-percent more organic search traffic than product pages.
Marketers tend to use the jargon of their industry and brand. Don’t assume that you know what consumers want and how they search — do the research.
Knowing what consumers want and the search phrases they use, map keywords to each page on your site.
In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels . Click on “Organic Search” and then change the Primary Dimension to “Landing Page.” You can then analyze your SEO performance.
Beware of the “Keyword” dimension, though. No analytics program can accurately track which keywords referred organic search traffic to your site. Only the analytics for each search engine, such as Google Search Console’s Performance report, can do that.
9. Understand Analytics.
Consumer-facing businesses will likely find the most value in Facebook and Twitter. B2B companies usually focus on Twitter and LinkedIn, with Facebook in the mix as well.
The best keyword tools offer a demand score for each theme. Google Keyword Planner is the free, go-to keyword research tool, though you’ll need an active Google Ads campaign to access the most useful data.
A sound SEO program relies on keyword research to:
With your keyword map in-hand, the next step is implementing on-page SEO, including:
7. Boost Link Equity.
If you have attractive images, add Instagram or Pinterest to the list. If you’re open to creating videos, definitely use YouTube.
Sometimes a small, common-sense tweak to a title tag can make a big difference, especially if your ecommerce platform generates default titles based on the labels in your taxonomy and the site’s name. This can result in title tags such as “Women’s – [Your Site].”
If you are stuck, ask questions in one of the many SEO communities. Google’s Webmaster Forum is a helpful place to start. Participants include Google employees, SEO professionals, marketers, and developers. Other popular forums are WebmasterWorld Forum and Moz’s Q&A Forum. Facebook and LinkedIn also have SEO communities.
Google Ads Keyword Planner is a free research tool. You’ll need an active Google Ads campaign to access it, however.
Do your title tags make sense? Can you make them more specific or relevant? For example, adding “shoes” to the title tag above could be a common-sense tweak: “Women’s Shoes – [Your Site].”