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Search Engine Results (or SEO)

Disclaimer

No one except those who work at Google, Yahoo, etc, knows what goes into their algorithms for indexing a page. What is presented below are some best practices that have repeatedly shown up on respected web development blogs, web design blogs, and online magazines.

Content is King

WDS has set up the code for sites on the dept-edit server so that sites can be easily indexed by search engines. Thus, as a site administrator or editor, your primary concern regarding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to create unique and descriptive content on your site.

Though there are many quick methods on the web that supposedly increase SEO, the only truly sustainable and effective method is to create content for your site that is tailored to your market. Focus on creating engaging content without getting bogged down in keyword soup or marketing fluff. Ask yourself "If I were researching this subject, would I find this page useful? Would I link to it?"

Organized Content

If your content needs to be ordered into sections or groups, use the "Title" or "Subtitle" fields in the Text & Picture component. These fields use header tags instead of paragraph tags, and search engines will be able to make better sense of your content groupings. Don't simply bold a chunk of text to use as a heading as this will not be as useful to the search engine when indexing your content.

Readable URLs

Roxen creates SEO friendly URLs for you based on the title of the page. As long as your title is descriptive of your page's content, your URL will aid in SEO. When creating a new page, always click the plus box to the right of the title that you typed. You will be able to see what the URL of the page will be. Use your best judgement to make a URL that is human readable and logical. A human readable URL is the best kind to improve SEO.

ALT Attributes

Always define ALT attributes for the images that you place in the content. (For decorative images rendered through CSS, ALT attributes are not necessary nor possible.) By defining ALT attributes, you are helping search engines make sense of your images. You are also helping your site become more accessible, a requirement for all Princeton University sites.

You can define an ALT attribute by using one of the picture variants of the Text & Picture component. Then, provide a description of the image in the "Picture Alternative Text" field.

Site Credibility and Reliability

Another way of increasing SEO is by having other, highly regarded sites link to your own. Once again, if you create content that is meaningful to your audience, your audience will link to your site. This type of SEO takes time to create, but a focus on your content is the only way to get there.

Keywords and Descriptions

A distant second to effective content are meta keywords and meta descriptions. There is some debate about whether keywords and descriptions are even used by search engines, but there is no doubt that keyword stuffing will harm your SEO. Keyword stuffing is adding unrelated keywords to your page in order to boost SEO. Google, for example, will remove your site from results. See the well publicized BMW incident from 2006.

Once you have written effective and engaging content, keywords and descriptions should become apparent. A common trap is to start with keywords and descriptions, and this method usually results in bloated content. Keep in mind that effective content can carry a site's SEO without keywords and descriptions, but the opposite is not true.

Adding Keywords and Descriptions

  1. Enter edit mode.
  2. In the Insite Editor, click on the "Metadata" tab.
  3. There you can add a description and keywords for each page.
  4. Publish the page.