Making search friendly sites in CMS2

The University search engine uses key parts of web pages to assess how they will rank in search results. Generally, creating information-rich pages are enough to ensure your pages will rank appropriately within the search index. However to assist with the discoverability of your pages, you can implement the following techniques.

Page titles

When adding content to a site file, you can specify a Page Title; the page title is used in the menu as well as the cookie trail at the top of all web pages. Ideally the title should accurately describe what the page is about in 1 to 3 words. CMS2 will automatically insert information about the site into the page title as well, so it is not important to include site-specific keywords in the title.

For example: Assessment Cover Sheets is a better page title then School of _____ Cover Sheets.

CMS2 screen showing the options to a page title to a site file

Page descriptions

When adding pages in a site file, you can optionally include a description of the page. The description is not shown on the page, but it is read and used by the search engine. A page description should be short, around 2 to 3 sentences, and accurately describe the intent of thepage.

If the University search engine considers it suitable, it will use the page description when listing it as a result. For example:

Information on how to apply for admission to the University of Newcastle, Australia

Headings

When creating content items, use headings to divide a page into sections. There should always be at least one heading for each content item. Use the visual format toolbar in CMS2 to describe the hierarchy of your content and to let the University search engine know which parts of a document are headings. For example, use Heading 1 titles for major content headings, and Heading 2, Heading 3 and Heading 4 for sub headings within your content.

Keywords marked as headings have a higher weighting with regards to returned search results in the University search engine than the same keywords within paragraphs on your page.

Adding search engine friendly headings in CMS2 using Internet Explorer

Images

Search engines are text based, so representing content through images on a page is not a search engine friendly practice. Keywords displayed as a graphic within an image will not be indexed by the search engine, so where possible use plain text on a page rather then a picture of text.

When you add an image via the visual format toolbar you are able to supply a Title for your image. Entering a title will insert hidden text behind an image, which can be read by the search engine. Use this field to enter a description of your image. For example:
The head of school _______ shaking hands with _______ from the community.

Adding search engine friendly images in CMS2 using Internet Explorer

Linking

Like page titles and heading text, the words or keywords that display as a clickable link to another web page within your content are used by the University's search engine to decide how highly your page should rank in any given search of the University's website. So, creating descriptive in page links help the University's search engine to index your page in it's results and also provide users with relevant information regarding what can be found if your link is clicked.

Therefore avoid:

  • Using link text like click here, or
  • Spelling out the full URL path in your link text, for example,
    http://www.newcastle.edu.au/myPage.html.

Instead, provide a description of the content you are linking to as part of your link text, for example:

All assignments submitted will need a cover sheet.

Contact us

You can contact web@newcastle.edu.au for more information if you would like to increase the discoverability of a page or site.

If you would like your page excluded from search results, contact web@newcastle.edu.au with the address you would like removed.