Search engine optimization (SEO) helps the right audience find you. It requires you to do certain things on your website and in your content. Optimizing your website for SEO takes time, but pays off in the long term with improved standings in external search engines, like Google, and improved on-site searching. This process is about getting the right people to find you and your content easily.
There are many factors that determine your SEO rank, some of which you have little control over (e.g. how many external sites or pages link to your web page). However, there are many things you can control that influence rank, including your information architecture, quality of your content and metadata, and more.
Some of the key SEO tactics you should outline in your editorial style guide and regularly monitor on your website include:
- Proper categorization and tagging (according to your content strategy).
- Enforced the use of metadata (for web pages and content), both system-generated and manually entered.
- This includes digital assets such as videos, downloadable content and images.
- Search engine friendly URLs.
- Defined XML Site Maps and customized index rules for specific pages.
- You may not want all your content indexed - for these pages use the NO FOLLOW tag.
- Employ a broken links checker to monitor and fix broken links continually.
- Use 301 redirects when you move content around your website to ensure it continues to be findable.
- Integrate social media to make it easy for visitors to share your content on their social media networks.
Above all, create content that your audience wants to read. Search engine optimization is as much about the quality of your content as it is about employing specific tactics like those listed above.
A Note on Taxonomy and SEO
The worst thing you can do is let your content authors define their own categories and metadata (tags) for their content. There will be no consistency in how content is defined, making it impossible to reuse across your website and other digital channels. It also makes it challenging for search engines to index, both on your website and external search engines.
Train your content authors and editors to use a consistent set of categories and metadata to create and tag their content.
Learn more about web governance stragegies in our Guide to Web Governance.
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