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Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of creating a website that will rank highly in search engine results. When you search for a phrase on a search engine (e.g. Google), the results that show up higher on the page have a better SEO ranking in relation to that phrase.

Over 2/3 of users come to the UVic website through a search result—and the majority of those are using Google to find information on uvic.ca.

Improving your SEO can have a huge impact on the quality and quantity of users visiting your site. The first result from a Google search is 10 times more likely to be clicked on than the tenth result. Results that appear after the first page are typically clicked on < 1% of the time.

Single source of truth

While uvic.ca may be made up of hundreds of different websites, all search engines see is one giant web entity.

When we have multiple pages across different sites that all say variations of the same thing, search engines don't know which page is the authoritative voice for that topic—known as the "source of truth."

Consider uvic.ca as a whole; if there is another UVic website that already contains the content you want to mention on your website, link to that page instead of duplicating the content. Doing so will improve the SEO of your page and all other UVic pages.

Clear page structure

You can help search engines accurately crawl and understand your web pages by ensuring your page strucure is clearly laid out.

  • Create a unique page title for every page on your site.
  • Provide a short page description OR a short bit of introduction text on each page. This is the “preview” text that search engines will display in their results.
  • Use descriptive headings (h2) and subheadings (h3) that use keywords and phrases. Avoid generic headings such as “Welcome.”

Following the guidelines for accessible text will ensure your page is search-engine friendly.

Mobile-first design

In 2019, Google made a significant change to the complex algorithm they use to rank websites by switching to “mobile-first indexing.”

This means that webpages are now ranked based on how well they perform on a mobile device in terms of load time, accessibility and overall user experience.

Mobile-first design refers to creating websites that are optimized for use on mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, etc).

UVic's newest web template has been designed to meet the latest standards for mobile usability, but there are things you can do as a content author to ensure a good mobile experience:

  • Reduce the file size of images (by resizing and compressing) before uploading to Cascade. Aim for images smaller than 500KB. You'll also need to use the proper image dimensions when cropping
  • Set table widths using percentages (usually 100%) to ensure they will resize properly on mobile
  • If you’re making major changes to a page, try previewing it on a mobile device before publishing. Does everything look the way it’s supposed to? Is the user experience the same as on desktop?

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