Identity Guide

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the easiest and cheapest way to get your pages to appear in primary positions in search engine results.  Please keep the following in mind when creating or optimizing any of your pages.

Alt Tags
Heading Tags
Hyperlinks
Incoming Links
Keywords and Descriptions
Meta Tags
Page Layout
Text on your page
Title Tag


Alt Tags

Are used for accessibility readers and are a good place to include keywords especially for plurals and misspellings (Remember, if there is a word in your keywords then it should appear elsewhere on the page, too).  Alt tags are the little information boxes that pop-up when you hover over images (They tell screen readers what is in the location for the visually impaired). Don’t just list keywords; Be sure to describe the function of the image.  Keep your Alt tags as short as possible.

See the Accessibility section of Best Practices to learn more about alt tags and how alt tags are necessary to comply with accessibility standards.

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Heading Tags

These tags can also improve your rankings.  Search engines will give your site more weight if your keywords are used between heading tags.  You must follow the head tag convention to keep your page accessible.  You must start with Heading size 1 (automatically used in the “Header” box when editing a page in Typo3.), then the next tag to use is Heading 2, and so on.

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Hyperlinks

Don’t use links like “Click here”.  Use your keywords/keyphrases as the link itself (Ex:  visit the Undergraduate Admissions page for more information.)

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Incoming Links

Search engines like pages that are linked to from outside sources.  For example many financial institutions have links on there own site linking to our Financial Aid site.  This can get tricky because if an outside source page is considered spam and it has a link to your page, your page will receive a lower ranking.  Be sure to check every so often who’s linking to you.  You can do this by going to going to Google.com and typing link:www.umd.umich.edu/YourSiteDirectoryOrAlias/.

The alogorithyms used by the search engine company’s are never posted and change often.  Once you achieve an optimal position you will still need to check your page to make sure it keeps it’s ranking.

You will not see results until the search engines have crawled our site and re-indexed our pages.  This process can take anywhere from 1 day to 8 weeks.  Google is usually on a 4-6 week schedule.

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Choose your Keywords carefully

What is the most important information in your site?  Don’t pick generalized keywords.  Be specific and try to think like the audience you are targeting.  Think of Keyphrases your audience would use rather than just one or two keywords.

Keywords

Keyphrases

Admissions

Undergraduate Admissions
Graduate Admissions
Admission Criteria

Application

Undergraduate Admissions Application
Graduate Admissions Application
Applying for Financial Aid

If you are not getting the results you hoped for, look at the Meta tags in your competitor’s page code. 

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Meta Tags

It used to be if you had good Meta Tags you didn’t have to worry about much else on your page and you’d still get a decent search engine ranking.  That is no longer the case and can actually hurt you if you don’t strike the right balance in this category.

Description Tag:  A one or two sentence describing your site is all that should go here.  You can find the “Description” box by choosing “Advanced’ under the “Type” drop down box (Just above “Pagetitle).  Be sure to include your keyphrases.

Keyword Tag:  Type in your keywords and separate them by a comma.  Don’t use keyphrases in this section; break them into their own words.  Don’t use “stoppers” like “Of”, “The” or “And”.  Keep your keywords to under 1024 characters including spaces.

Keyphrases

Keyword

       Undergraduate Admissions
Gr
aduate Admissions
International Admissions
Admission Requirements

Admissions, Admission, Undergraduate, Graduate, International, Requirement, Requirements

 

These words need to appear in the text on your page and in your tags.  If they do not, the search engine will view this page as spam.

If there is a word that is commonly misspelled by your audience, you can include the misspelled word in your keyword meta tag, but only do this if this is very common amongst your users.

Don’t repeat words in the Keywords Meta tag.  The above example shows that the words Admission and Admissions only appear once.

Be sure to include “University”, “Michigan” and “Dearborn” in your Keywords.  Leave out “The” and “of”.

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Page Layout

Limit the use of Frames, Javascript, Image Maps and Dynamic URLS.

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Text On Your Page

Your page should have at least 200 words on your page.  You should use your Keywords or Keyphrases in your text as often as possible but remember the page still needs to make sense.  Make sure your Keywords and phrases appear in all of the tags on the page (alt, headings, title, etc.).  Provide instructions or a “how to” on your site.  This will encourage others to link to your pages, which is another component of SEO.

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Title Tag

In Typo3 you enter the information that goes in the Title tag in the “Pagetitle” box when you setup a new page or edit the page header.  Your title tag should only be between 50-80 characters.  By default Typo3 automatically adds “University of Michigan-Dearborn” which is 32 characters including spaces.  Choose your Title carefully because many believe this tag is giving the most weight by search engines.  Be sure to include your keywords or keyphrases in your Title but don’t just list words.  That is a red flag to search engines and you will be penalized in your rankings.

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