Without search engine optimization, fewer people see a website. SEO guides how we build our web pages and helps them be visible to more people.
What is SEO?
SEO is the term for a large number of factors that can improve a web page’s rank on search engines. The higher the rank, the more people see the page.
Some factors of SEO can’t easily be changed by most people, such as:
- How a website is coded
- How fast a page loads
- How a page works on mobile devices
However, some SEO factors can be improved by techniques that anyone can and should use.
Why is SEO important?
SEO helps us rank higher for:
- The services we offer patients
- The programs we offer students
- The knowledge we offer the community
- The avenues of support we offer donors
We want to be able to fulfill our mission for as many people as possible in everything we offer. By following key guidelines, we can reach more people in our community and beyond.
Create content users are looking for.
- First and foremost, a web page and the sections on it should be useful to the users you’re targeting.
- The content on the page should answer our users’ questions and convince them to take an action (like contact us).
Use keywords that more people are searching for
- Use a tool to research the keywords people are using to find the topics on your page (like Google Trends).
- Limit the total number of keywords you want to target. One is great, five is unfocused and more is going to make your page sound spammy (which hurts search rank).
- Use those keywords naturally (not excessively) in the page’s title, URL, meta description, headings and content.
- Identify keywords that can be associated with the page for our internal search. These are keywords that can help everyone who uses our sites find your page, including doctors and patients.
Make a page easy to read.
- Limit a page to a single topic or purpose.
- Write the page content to fulfill that purpose for a user.
- Use clear headings to outline useful sections of content.
- Don’t overstuff a page with keywords (this can negatively impact search rank).
Optimize a page’s title, URL, meta description and images.
- A page title should clearly indicate its purpose and what it provides to the user. (Example)
- A URL should do the same thing and be as concise as possible. (Example)
- A meta description should convince a search engine user to click on a page.
- Use a meta description tool to make sure yours will show up on all devices (max 120 characters).
- Images should be properly tagged and optimized for the web.
Learn More About SEO
SEO is far too vast a subject to explain briefly. While we’ve included some easy, impactful tips on this page, there’s still much more to learn. Moz are renowned for their SEO knowledge — their Beginner’s Guide to SEO is a great place to start.