Follow these suggestions to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and watch your website rise the ranks to the top of search engine results.
1. Publish Relevant Content
Quality content is the number one driver of your search engine rankings and there is no substitute for great content. 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.
Identify and target a keyword phrase for each page. Think about how your reader might search for that specific page (with phrases like “mechanical engineering in Michigan,” “best-applied physics program,” or “Michigan Tech degrees”). Then, repeat this 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.
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.
2. Update Your Content Regularly
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.
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, the UMC web team will have pre-populated this data for you:
- Title Metadata
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 important metadata on your page. For those with a CMS website, the web team has developed an automated system for creating the meta title for each webpage.
- Description Metadata
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.
- Keyword Metadata
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 6-8 phrases with each phrase consisting of 1-4 words. A great example would be “computer science degree.”
4. Have a link-worthy site
Focus on creating 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.
5. Use alt tags
Always describe your visual 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.