Search Engine Optimization Best Practices and Guidelines


  • Create easy-to-read text with proper spelling and grammar.
  • Make use of sub-headings for easy skimming. Don’t have more than 6 or 7 lines without a subheading.
  • Create pages that are specific to a topic. Don’t try to fit a bunch of topic on one page.
  • Don’t duplicate content from other pages. Each page should be relatively unique.
  • Before you put together your page think of two or three ways that people might referring to the content on your page. (i.e. BFA in theatre, Bachelors in theatre, theatre degree information)
  • Those phrases are the keywords for your page. Embed them into your content so it flows and reads naturally.
  • Write for the user, not for search engines.
  • Keep your content up to date. Out dated content is not relevant to your users or search engines


  • Linking to respected, knowledgeable sources builds credibility for the content on your page and sets your page up as a leader as well
  • If you mention an outside organization, person or company on your page make sure to link to their website
  • If you mention or quote from an article or book link to it to provide your users with an easy way to get more information.
  • Avoid linking to words like click here. Click here does not provide your users with any useful information (i.e. instead of ‘click here for financial aid guides’ you can link ‘financial aid guidelines’ within a relevant sentence and avoid unnecessary text).


  • Create alt tags that are short and relate to page topic/keyword
  • All images should go into a corresponding “_files” folder
  • Do not put text in images. Search engines cannot read text within an image, so it’s as if that text doesn’t exist. Non-existant text cannot add relevancy and value to your page.

Meta title (Title): 

  • Create unique, relevant titles  – we add “| Chapman University” to all page titles
  • 70 characters (with spaces) are shown in Google before truncating, but longer page titles are still indexed/read

Meta Tags (Description):

  • Should both inform and interest viewers and be relevant to page topic
  • Used as a snippet paragraph for the page
  • 160 characters (with spaces) are shown in Google before truncating

URLs (System Name):

  • Create clear URLs with relevant words to the page
  • Keep within the folder structure Chapman CMS has put together. This helps with site navigation and breadcrumb navigation
  • Use lowercase lettering and dashes for spaces between words
  • If URL is too long create a redirect


  • No longer crucial to search results, but for internal searching be descriptive about page content.
  • List no more than 7 keyword phrases


At the end of the day, Google and other search engines want to provide their users with the most relevant results possible. An easy to read page with a clear topic, relevant, fresh information and strong supporting links will always do well in search results.