Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) makes your webpage more appealing to search engines, thereby improving your rankings in search results. SEO is a free way to garner more relevant traffic to your website by thoughtfully creating and formatting your content.

For technical assistance with implementing the guidelines below, please contact us via the C&M General Work Request Form and a member of our Digital Media team will be in touch.


Keywords are the words or phrases that people might search for to find your site. Determining the appropriate keywords or phrases for your webpage is the first step to implementing proper SEO.

Asking the following questions can help identify useful keywords and phrases for your content:

  • Think like your page visitors - what are they searching for?
  • How would you describe the information on your page?
  • What words and phrases do your competitors use that are also relevant to your content?

Target a few keywords/phrases per page. The keywords you decide upon should be:

  • Extremely relevant to your page
  • Frequently searched for but not overused by competitors
  • Powerful enough to draw people in
  • Be relevant to your page

TIP: Look at possible keywords’ popularity using a tool like Google Trends or Ubersuggest.

Look for keywords that rank high in search volume but are not too competitive. If a keyword is very popular, there may be so many web sites attempting to target it that it’s effectiveness becomes diluted. But an unpopular keyword will not generate much useful or relevant traffic.

Content must address the intent of keyword searchers. For best results, your keywords should be contextual to your content and should be incorporated seamlessly, ideally in more than one place.
The following are important ways incorporate keywords for effective SEO:

  • Include in the page title and URL
    • Your page URL will be automatically generated by the page title.
  • Include in image file names and alt text
    • Make sure your image file name is configured properly before you upload it to the media library, and be sure to enter the alt text after you upload.
    • Remember that images may be used on multiple pages, so ensure that your keywords are appropriate wherever they may be displayed.
    • Learn more about alt text on our Web Content Accessibility page
  • Include in headers
    • An <h1> will automatically be created with your page title, but you can create lower ranked headers in your page content.
    • Learn more about headers on our Web Content Accessibility page
  • Use in the page metadata (Drupal only)
    • Meta Description - often used as the snippet in search results pages, automatically populated by Drupal via the intro text or beginning of body (160 characters)
    • Meta Keywords - although these no longer have a strong impact on SEO, they should still be relevant.
    • Update both of these fields in the Metatags dropdown on the right when editing your page in Drupal

ALERT: “Keyword stuffing” – excessively repeating a keyword over and over in the content of your page, or including popular keywords that are not directly related to your content – is an attempt to cheat the system and will be flagged by Google.

If your page is found to use these tactics, its ranking will be penalized and you will loose visibility and traffic.

Body Copy

Optimize your body copy to be relevant and ensure it is accurate and up-to-date. Both content "size" and quality matters.

Experts recommend at least 300-500 words for a single, standard page (more for blog posts, news stories, or articles). But don’t just add more text for the sake of length - all copy should be relevant to the topic at hand.

Check for spelling and grammar errors, update it regularly to ensure it is current, and make sure it is original (don’t just copy from another page!)


Your on-page links, as well as links pointing to your page, affect your page's SEO.