College Publisher

See Full HTML Site

10 Steps to Better Search Engine Optimization

Publishing Strategies to Make Your Content More Relevant to Google

By CMN Staff

Published: Friday, May 29, 2009

Updated: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A content management system [CMS] can help you delivery audio, video and text in an organized and easy way, but making sure that the content can be found organically through search requires the publisher to adhere to some simple guidelines that are choices within the publishing process for any CMS.

CMN has put together a quick Top 10 things to improve your search engine optimization [SEO].

  1. Use article titles that accurately describe the page's content
    • Use key searchable terms whenever possible (School name, Sports team name, Professor name, etc)
    • Avoid unusually long titles (Google will truncate the title if it's too long
      EX. "California Legalizes Marajauna" versus "Puff Puff Give"
       
  2. Improve sub-section naming convention
    • Use relevant words for sub pages and create a sub page hierarchy whenever possible
      Bad Examples:
      www.sitename.com/we_won_the_game
      www.sitename.com/articles/we_won_the_game
      Good Examples:
      www.sitename.com/sports/team-name/we_beat_other-team-name
      www.sitename.com/articles/2009/team-name_beat_other-team-name
       
  3. Create a naturally flowing site structure
    • When creating sub-sections create a hierarchy of your content, start from most general to more specific
      Good Example:
      www.sitename.com/news/on_campus/2009/article-name
    • In CP5, update content using this process:
      *Import all articles into appropriate sub sections
      *Copy and paste articles from sub section articles tab into the sub-section front page
    • Use breadcrumb navigation for sub pages. Google will spider all the links you have on your pages. Breadcrumbs (the "navigation path" element) will allow Google to more easily associate similar content on your site.
       
  4. Avoid using 3rd party flash "widgets" to display primary content
    • Google will not spider contents inside of a flash file
    • We recommend you use the CP5 tabbed element to present your primary content
       
  5. Set a descriptive Site Name and Section Tagline
    • These two fields in the Start Page of your CP5 admin populate the Title tag of your web site. Your site's title is an important factor in search results and page rankings. You should fill in the Site Name with the name of your publication. Use the Section Tagline field to add descriptive terms to your site.
    • Good example: Paper Name - School Name's online resource for News, Sports and Entertainment.
    • The Section Tagline field can be set on individual sub pages as well. Use descriptive search terms to fill this field on sub pages.
    • Good example (Sports page): Home of the Team Name
       
  6. Update your site frequently, with compelling content
     
  7. Name all your images with descriptive terms. Google reads that meta data.
    • Bad example:
      Name of image: bball
    • Good example:
      Name of image: Team name's, Player Name shoots a 3 pointer against other team name
       
  8. Build incoming and outgoing links to your site from reputable sites with similar or related content
    • Most links to your site will happen organically, it shouldn't stop you from bartering with other site administrators for a link exchange
    • While the initial thought may be, "Why would I drive my traffic away to another site." by building a web of incoming and outgoing links your reputation will improve with Google, thus improving your search ranking
    • Avoid linking to sites with unrelated content
      If you must sell sponsored links on your site, make sure the links are clearly labeled with common phrases such as, Sponsored, Advertisers, or Ads.
      For sponsored links make sure you use the "nofollow" attribute on the link href. This attribute will abstain your site from being counted as an editorial vote for the site you're linking to.

      NOTE: By linking to any external sites with unrelated content you run the risk of getting your site banned by Google. Google will not send you a warning before banning your site.
       
    • Good examples of sites to link exchange:
      Official school website
      Local news site
      Library site
    • When getting your site linked to from an external site, use href's that are descriptive
      Bad example:
      <a href="http://www.sitename.com"> Site Name </a>
      Good example:
      <a href="http://www.sitename.com"> Site Name - School name's online resource for Sport, News and Entertainment </a>
      or
      <a href="http://www.sitename.com" alt="School name's online resource for Sports, News and Entertainment">Site Name</a>
       
  9. Use social media sites or blogs to promote your content
    • Post articles on Facebook, Digg, Twitter, MySpace, etc...
    • Create a blog about your site, letting users know about new content or services
    • Post your videos on YouTube, Google video or other related video sites
       
  10. Submit your site to search engines
    • All major search engines allow you to submit your site, this is especially useful if your site content name has changed or if your site is new
    • This won't help your ranking. You will be more accurately represented in a search query

Most Popular

Other Resources

Legal Issues

SPLC Answers to Common Problems

Third Party Apps

Incorporate Relevant Dynamic Content on Your Site