Creating Search Engine-Friendly Content
Follow these standards to help your webpages rise to the top of search results. Most of these best practices also fulfill usability and accessibility requirements.
- The “title” attribute appears in the site’s header HTML code
- Use descriptive words prior to or instead of the name of the actual site.
- For example, “AIRE” does not mean much to a new user nor a search engine, but “Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions – AIRE” contains several key words that explain what the site is about.
- Similar to site titles, page titles are weighed very heavily in determining rank.
- The page title should be specific to the content of the page and contain the words that are “key” to the content.
- Search engines rank the words used in a subhead more heavily than those in plain text, so using subheads is a great way to add extra emphasis to the “key” words in your content.
- The HTML tags for these headers will appear in text editor drop-down menus (i.e. WordPress) as “H2, H3, H4.”
- These are the words that are “key” to your content and should be included in the page title as well as the body text.
- For example, if your page is about the Pyramids of Giza you should make sure those words appear in the page title
- Do not confuse these with meta keywords which only show up in the HTML and are no longer ranked highly by search engines.
Alt Text for Images
- Alt Text is mainly used for increased Accessibility but also helps your page rank higher in search results. See the Accessibility page for when to use Alt Text.
Maintaining Relevancy in Google
Website owners strive for one thing when it comes to search engine optimization – top rank in Google. Having your site appear at the top of a results page is critical in gaining new visitors. There are a few basic methods in accomplishing a high ranking in search engines.
- Update and add content on a regular basis.
- Write concise, relevant content related to the site’s topic.
- Link to reputable sources and have them eventually link to you.
- Make sure your site is accessible and readable.
- Develop sites on clean, semantic code. Platforms like WordPress are ideal.
County Search Policy
- All County websites should include a search box in the upper right side of the main page/homepage and all interior pages as appropriate.
- County microsites or sites not part of www.arlingtonva.us should provide “local” search only (meaning search results will be generated only for that site). For WordPress sites, the built-in WP search is recommended.
- The overall site (www.arlingtonva.us) search will provide results for itself and most County-run sites. For new sites, make sure to request having your site indexed as part of the search deployment strategy.