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Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is 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 our users come to the UVic website through a search result—and the majority are using Google to find information on

Improving your SEO will impact 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. Results that appear after the first page are typically clicked on < 1% of the time.

Single source of truth

While has hundreds of different websites, search engines see 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 authority for that topic—known as the "source of truth."

Consider as one website

If there is another UVic website that has the content you want to mention on your site, link to that page instead of duplicating the content. Doing so will improve the SEO of your page and other UVic pages.

Clear page structure

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

  • create a unique page title for every page on your site
    • page titles should be 30-60 characters long
  • provide a short page description OR a short introduction on each page
    • this is the “preview” text that search engines will display in their results
    • page descriptions should be 50-160 characters long
  • 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

Webpages are 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 design meets 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
  • set table widths using percentages (usually 100%) to ensure they will resize properly on mobile
  • when 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?