Search Tips

More about search

How Search Works: Find out how Google Search works in this dynamic overview, and share with anyone who is concerned about their site rankings.

Starter Guide on search engine optimization (SEO) from Google For more in-depth information on how to optimize your site for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google has a written a  on best practices.

It’s important that people can find your site and its relevant pages when using search tools like Google. 

Being at the umn.edu domain is a great headstart, as .edu sites are rated higher by Google. Here are some steps to take for good search results.

Metadata descriptions and keywords

Meta descriptions tell search engines what your page is about. Google displays 155 characters including spaces. Keywords (3–5 per page) are the words people may use to search.

  • Write custom metadata descriptions for key pages. Lead with the important words.
  • Check to make sure images have alternative text. Alternative image text is needed for accessibility, and search engines keep track of these words.
  • Make sure images aren't the only form of displaying important names, content, or links. Google's site crawler doesn't recognize text contained in graphics.
  • When you build pages on a site in the AHC web theme, it automatically creates clean, easily accessible URLs using Drupal URL aliases.

Use common language

Vary your language. If using academic terminology, also include common terms.  For example, instead of using cardiology each time, also use cardiovascular, and heart health.  

Use Google Trends to compare terms and find related searches. 

Promote the site

This can include: 

  • Getting relevant sites to link to you. The more people link to you, the more authoritative a source you are.
  • Linking from your Facebook posts, Twitter, and other social media to relevant pages for more info.
  • Including links to your site in emails, newsletters, and other communications—even your email signature. The more people go to your site, the higher it ranks.
  • Link to pages within your site. For example, if a body of text contains "treating patients", you can link it to an existing page, "For Patients", on the site.
  • Check your links. Broken links are wasted opportunities to keep the user on your site.