Getting your site noticed

Get the best from search engines and improve the visibility of your site

There are a number of ways in which you can improve the visibility of your site, here are some options available.

Search engines are deaf and blind, don't understand javascript, don't understand plugins, and only look at the information at the top of the page. So designing well for them means doing the same things you do for accessibility:

  • a page layout that uses clear headings (because search engines rank text in headings higher than text in paragraphs without headings)
  • meaningful alternate text for pictures
  • meaningful text for all links (inclusing those to downloadable files)
  • appropriate 'title' tags on each page
  • a concise summary of the page in the first paragraph (because some search tools only index the first 100 words on a page)

To further improve the visibility of your site you can:

  • Include your url on leaflets/flyers/publications
  • Include your url in email signatures
  • Circulate your url on relevant mailing lists

Google

Google's search engine works by 'crawling' or 'spidering' the web. It uses robot software that follows hyperlinks from site to site. 

Google (and other search engines) rank pages higher when they have more external links pointing to them. The assumption is that if third parties are linking into it, it must have something of value.  

Using keywords on your pages

Choose keywords that most accurately reflect your page's content, eg on a page about travelling to Bristol, 'travel' and 'Bristol' would both be important keywords. Use these keywords as much as possible within the following elements on the page:

  • within the <title> tags
  • within the page headers <h1>, <h2> etc;
  • within the body text, as much as is 'naturally' possible, but particularly within the first paragraph;
  • as alternative text for relevant images;
  • as words within hypertext links, eg 'travelling to Budapest' rather than 'click here'.

Using meaningful words for your folder and file names will also improve page rankings, eg use 'undergraduate' rather than an abbreviation such as 'ugrad'.

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