Best Practices: Search Engine Optimization and Usability
Do you have pages with a lot of text and wonder if that is OK? Are your pages user-friendly? Do
you want to increase your search engine rankings? Here are some tips to make your website
better for your users and increase your visibility in searches.
Content-Rich Page Examples
The “What is Biomedical Engineering” (http://www.mtu.edu/biomedical/department/what-is )
page shows good use of headings in a page that has a lot of content. The sections don’t drag
on because the headings break up the content. They also make the content more scannable for
both users and search engines. Using the images to break up the large amount of text rather
than placing them at the top or side of the page is another way to make the page more user-
Notice the keywords that are bolded and others that are linked to relevant pages. Highlighting
the keywords in this way makes it look better to search engines and may increase your
rankings. It also makes the most important topics pop out to the reader. Just be sure not to
overdo it (a couple times per story should be enough). Google knows when you’re trying to
cheat and there is a penalty for it!
The “What is Mechanical Engineering” (http://www.mtu.edu/mechanical/engineering) page also
uses these principles. In addition, this page includes bullets to further break up the content and
make it feel less overwhelming. Properly using headings and bullets makes your content easier
Keywords, and how you use them on your pages, play an important role in search engine
optimization (SEO). But keep in mind there can be too much of a good thing. You can be ranked
lower for “keyword stuffing.” Write naturally, then pick out the keywords to highlight.
• Use keywords in the URL. The URL is determined by the names of the folders.
o Keep folder names to one to two keywords separated by a hyphen.
o Always use lower case; never symbols or spaces.
o These guidelines also apply to filenames (PDFs, Word Docs, etc).
• Use keywords in the page title.
• Use keywords in the headings.
• Link keyword phrases across your site and to other relevant sites on campus.
• Use keywords throughout the body copy and add style to them where appropriate (bold
or italics). Avoid underlines-they can be mistaken for a link.
Best Practices: Search Engine
Optimization and Usability
Best Practices: Search Engine Optimization and Usability 35
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Besides using keywords strategically there are several other things you can do to make your
pages rank higher in searches. The University Marketing and Communications website provides
more information and resources on these methods for improving your site’s ranking
• Publish relevant content.
• Update your content regularly.
• Include metadata, information about the content of your pages, via the keywords and
description fields in the CMS.
• Have a link-worthy site.
• Use alt tags to describe your visual and video media.
Think about your users when writing the content (http://www.mtu.edu/umc/services/web/writing)
and designing the layout for your pages. If it isn’t easy for them to navigate or is too
overwhelming, they will not stay long enough to get the information you want them to have.
• Use headings, lists, and bullets.
• Don’t make the user click. They are happy to scroll.
o Instead of 10 pages that each have one paragraph on them, it’s better to have
one page with strong headings and several paragraphs.
o Sliders were a great way to make a lot of content easier to digest, but clicking
sliders to open them has become a problem, especially with mobile devices. Try
using more headings, images, and bullets to break up your content rather than
putting it in a slider.
• Don’t overload your navigation-the tabs and links that give users access to your pages.
The typical human brain can only handle so much information at a time.
o Follow the rule of seven-keep your navigation down to seven tabs. The same
applies to the page links under each of those tabs.
NOTE: Read the Webmaster’s Blog at http://blogs.mtu.edu/webmaster/ for instructions on CMS topics.
1. When was my page last published?
Outside the CMS, navigate to the live web page in question in a browser. Choose “View…Page
Source” (Firefox) or “View…Source” (IE). Examine the metadata and look for a tag like this:
<meta http-equiv="Last-Modified" content="2009-11-13T16:38-0500" />
The string "2009-11-13T16:38-0500" tells you that the file was last modified at 4:38 p.m.
(16:38) on November 13, 2009 (2009-11-13).
In Firefox, you can see “Last-Modified” by typing cmd+i (Mac) or ctl+i (PC).
Also, read http://blogs.mtu.edu/webmaster/2010/02/publishing-schedule/ for the publishing
2. How do I know if I have files checked out?
You can click Views > Checked Out By Me in the Content Explorer’s navigation pane or follow
these steps for a complete search for files in various states (QuickEdit, Draft, Archive, etc.)
1 Right Click on the site folder...select "Search in Folder"
2 Select Advanced
3 Select Customize
4 In the top portion, select “Checked out user name”
5 Click the "Select" button with the down arrow and Click OK
6 Wait for the search screen to change
7 Enter your userid in the checked out field
8 Click OK
NOTE: When you open a file and don’t check it in when you’re finished, you block access to the
file by others.
3. What do I need to know about naming a file?
Here are a few good tips:
• Don’t include spaces or other punctuation in your file name. If necessary, use dashes in
this manner: “my-new-file”.
• Try to keep your file name short while still making sense.
• Use lowercase.
• Try to avoid using years, version numbers, or other naming patterns that date a file.
Maintenance is reduced and user experience is sustained when you can just overwrite
the old file with the new one each year and keep the filename the same.
4. If I archive a file can I get it back?
Yes, an archived file can be transitioned to the Draft or Public states by people who are in the
role of Web Admin or Quality Assurance.
5. Can I view my page before it’s published?
Yes. Right-click on the page you want to preview and select an option on the list based on your
Generic—Choose P – Generic
Highlight—Choose S – Spotlight
Image Editor—Choose the size you want to see. If it isn’t cropped and available in CMS,
you’ll see a message that says “Image Size Not Defined.”
If your page preview does not appear:
1 Check to see if it is displayed in a new tab in your browser.
2 Make sure your browser pop-up blocker is disabled. (Windows Firefox: Go to Tools >
Options > Content and uncheck “Block pop-up windows.” Mac Firefox: Go to Firefox >
Preferences > Content and uncheck “Block pop-up windows.”)
6. What is an Impact Analysis in the CMS?
It is a report that shows you all the Content Items related to the one you’re reviewing. It is an
essential tool when a Content Item is archived and for see who else on campus is using your
1 If a content item is archived, the entire site can be checked for other content items that
use this item. An example of this is a form or file. When a form is archived, make sure
that other pages referring to that form are updated.
2 Find the content item being archived in the content explorer.
3 Right click on the content item, and select “Impact Analysis”
4 In the “Impact Analysis” window, select “Active Assembly” for the relationship choice.
5 The “Ancestors” window will display the pages that use this item.
6 Expand the Ancestor files to see all of the items that link to that page.
7. Can I email a CMS link to others so they can preview it?
Yes. They will still need to access to the CMS to view a CMS URL. Just paste the URL in your
email to the person who will review the page.
8. Can I rollback an item to a previous revision?
If you need to have an item rolled back to a previous version, or if edits were made that were
not necessary, an old version can be revived. To do so, the item must be in a checked-in
QuickEdit state. Once you have an item in the QuickEdit state, ensure that it is checked-in
(right-click the item and select “Check-in”) and right-click the item to select “View More
Information.” In the sub-menu select “Revisions”, a new window will open. The revisions are
order by date, once you find the date/revision that is appropriate to be restored, select
“Promote” from the left column. Ensure that you click “Update” on the new window and return
the item to public.
Glossary of Terms 39
A menu of functions that enable a user to take action on a Content Item or Folder. Action menus are
accessed by right-clicking on a Content Item or Folder in the Content Explorer. Action menu examples
include Preview, Workflow and Active Assembly.
The ability to refer to content using a URL link inside an email, a technical discussion or alternative
forms of communication. The URL links to a web page that displays a Content Item plus the equivalent to
the Action Menu in the Content Explorer.
Active Assembly Table Editor
A text-only interface that displays the available Slots for a Content Type, and enables users to add,
remove, and reorder Content Items within the Slots.
Each dependent Content Item in a Relationship has an owner. The owner of the owner, and its owners, are
ancestors of the dependent.
A list of all Workflow actions for all revisions of a selected Content Item.
A navigational technique displaying all visited pages leading from the home page to the currently viewed
page. All pages are linked for easy backwards navigation. Breadcrumbs are typically placed near the top
of a web page.
This is an acronym for content management system. It is a set of development features and applications
used to create a framework for storing and communicating content for a specific destination, such as a
website. It supports a cycle, or workflow, of creating content, evaluating and approving it, merging it with
formatting, and publishing it to a destination. Multiple users can use the same content and reformat it for
their web readers.
A group of roles that require access to similar information, including Content Types, Workflows,
Templates, Sites and user interface components. A role can be associated to more than one Community,
and users belong to all Communities associated with their role.
Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms
A form for displaying and editing a specific Content Type. Content Types list and display the contents of
the System Title field and other fields of a Content Type. Content Type fields may be common to the
system, shared by more than one Content Type, or local to that Content Type. A Content Type requires at
least one local field.
The Rhythmyx interface used by content contributors to create, modify and transition Content Items. The
interface contains a Navigation Tree which contains Site Folders, Display Folders, Views and Searches.
The Display Pane provides access to Content Items and Folders.
A unit of content in text, image or file format that appears on a web page. Content Items consist of data
An aggregation of a Content Type, Templates, and related applications. Each Content Type includes
metadata fields which provide useful information about that content. Every Content Type has its own
backend table in the repository.
Cross Site Linking
The ability to reference and use Content Items that appear under one Site in another Site. Cross Site
Linking is accomplished by placing a linked copy of the original Content Item in a different Site. Since
the Content Items are linked, edits to one of the documents will also appear in the other. Cross Site
Linking is only available when using Site Folder Publishing.
The subordinate Content Item in a relationship. For example, in a Translation Relationship, the
Translation Copy is a dependent of the original (owner) Content Item.
Each owning Content Item in a Relationship has a dependent. The dependent of the dependent, and its
dependents, are descendants of the owner.
A definition of the columns included in the Display Pane when selecting a View, Folder or Search node in
the Navigation Pane. A Display Format can also define the categories used for grouping below the View
or Search node in the Navigation Pane.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested