SEO

Search Engine Optimization

Header Tags

Header tags (<H1>, <H2>, etc), are an easy, helpful way to indicate to a search engine what the primary content of a page is. Typically, a page should contain at most one H1 tag, which identifies the primary purpose of a page. Subsequent sections of a page should receive appropriate subheadings (H2, H3, etc), to create a logical page structure. This makes it easier not only for Search Engines to understand, but also for some screen reading software. 

Drupal will place some header tags for you. Each section of our website has a title. For example, the Web Guide section has the title "Web Information, Resources, and Requirements." This title is placed in H1 tags at the top of the page automatically. The page title is also placed at the top of each page in H1 tags, although, importantly, it is not rendered as visible to most users. Search Engines can use this tag to find and understand the main content. Our convention is to denote any page title that should be visible to all website users with an H2 tag. This convention may change in the future.

Webpage Titles and URLS

In general, web page titles and urls should be as short as possible, while still being descriptive of the content to be found on that page. 

Drupal builds URLs and page titles automatically based on the title of the page, and the department that page is assigned to. In general, the pattern is [page title] | [department name] | Lane Community College. This pattern means that the department's name and the college's name are always a part of the title, so you should not include them as part of your page's title in the edit box.

Here's some examples (note that Drupal removes common words from URLs):

User Specified TitleDrupal Generated TitleDrupal Generated URL
Calculus and TrigCalculus and Trig | Math | Lane Community Collegelanecc.edu/math/calculustrig
Faculty and StaffFaculty and Staff | Science | Lane Community Collegelanecc.edu/science/facultystaff

Meta Tags

Meta Tags are HTML tags that provide additional (meta) information about the page, without directly influencing the presentation of the page itself. Due to the tendency for these tags to get abused, most search engines ignore them. The principle exception is the Meta Description tag. This tag can be used to influence what the search engine displays as the results snippet text. 

In Drupal, Advanced Content Editors have the ability to provide a Meta Description tag. Generally, this field should be left blank unless you find that Search Engines are consistently providing an inaccurate description of the page. See the appropriate Drupal Help pages for additional information. (must be logged in to Drupal to view, is also linked from the dashboard when logged in to Drupal)

Robots.txt Files

Robots.txt files can be used to direct search engines to not index certain pages. Unfortunately, robots.txt files are sometimes not obeyed by bots. In fact, if you have a page that isn't linked to from anywhere, but is listed as forbidden in your robots.txt file, you may actually be making that page even more easily discoverable! 

Robots.txt files should be used to remove irrelevant, unimportant pages from search engine indexes. For example, we use a robots.txt file to instruct search engines to ignore some very old web pages, which sometimes show up incorrectly in search results. 

Remember that your site can only have one robots.txt file, and it must be at the web root. If your pages are in Drupal, you can safely ignore robots.txt files, since we manage this file for you.

For additional information, see the the robots.txt home page.

Content Updating Frequency

Content that is updated frequently ranks a little higher for most search engines, and it provides a significant boost to search results on our internal search server. More importantly, frequently reviewing your content helps us to avoid outdated, inaccurate pages. You should read through and update  the pages on your site as least once every six months. Pages that fall into disuse or feature stale content may be removed by the web team.

Linking

Search engines discover new pages via links. The most important factor in your page rank (Google's search results rankings) is the number and importance of sites that link to you. However, the entire site can be penalized in search results if links are grossly excessive, or don't accurately identify the target. 

Do not create links that say "Click Here" or have other generic words in the link. Instead, create links with relevant keywords. For more information, and as an example, see Google's Webmaster Tools.

Dead Links on your pages (links to pages that no longer exist) sometimes happen, as the web continues to change and evolve. Dead links should be removed as soon as possible.

If you're linking from a Drupal page to another Drupal page, be sure to use the LinkIt button (the chain with a green plus on it), and then search for the content to link to. This prevents broken links when someone changes a page title, as Drupal is able to automatically update your links for you.