Search Engine Optimization and Usability Best Practices

Do you have a lot of text on your pages and wonder if it’s okay? Are your pages easy to use? Would you like to improve your search engine rankings?

Learn more about search engine optimization, as well as some tips for making your website more user-friendly and increasing your visibility in search results. On-page content and technical SEO are the driving forces behind search engine optimization.



Keywords and how you use them on your pages are crucial in search engine optimization (SEO). But keep in mind that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. You may be penalized for “keyword stuffing.” Write naturally, then select the keywords to emphasize.

  • Use keywords in the URL. The URL is determined by the names of the folders.
    • Keep folder names to one to two keywords separated by a hyphen.
    • Always use lower case; never symbols or spaces.
    • These guidelines also apply to filenames (PDFs, Word Docs, etc).
  • Use keywords in the page title.
  • Use keywords in the headings.
  • Link keyword phrases across your site and to other relevant sites on campus.
  • Use keywords throughout the body copy and add style to them where appropriate (bold or italics).  Avoid underlines—they can be mistaken for a link.
  • The keyword meta tag does not affect SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Aside from strategically using keywords, there are several other things you can do to learn SEO and make your pages rank higher in searches. More information and knowledge on these methods for improving your site’s ranking can be found on the University Marketing and Communications website.

  • Publish relevant content.
  • Update your content regularly.
  • Include metadata, information about the content of your pages, via the keywords and description fields in the CMS.
  • Have a link-worthy site.
  • Use alt tags to describe your visual and video media.
  • Use best practices when choosing file and folder names
  • Learn about technical SEO


When creating content and designing the layout for your pages, keep your users in mind. They will not stick around long enough to have the data you want them to have if it is difficult for them all to explore or too overwhelming.

  • Use headingslists, and bullets.
  • Don’t make the user click. They are happy to scroll.
    • Instead of 10 pages that each have one paragraph on them, it’s better to have one page with strong headings and several paragraphs.
    • Sliders were a great way to make a lot of content easier to digest, but clicking sliders to open them has become a problem, especially with mobile devices. Try using more headings, images, and bullets to break up your content rather than putting it in a slider.
  • Don’t overload your navigation—the tabs and links that give users access to your pages. The typical human brain can only handle so much information at a time.
    • Follow the rule of seven—keep your navigation down to seven tabs. The same applies to the page links under each of those tabs.


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