Optimize your Site

Search Engine Optimization

Your Goal: High Page Rank

PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites. - Facts about Google and Competition


Good content that is well organized is the most important piece of SEO. Each page should be focused on one topic and you should be able to describe this topic in 2 or 3 words. The content of a page should have at least 250 words.


"It's not about what you want or what you call it, it is about what people are actually looking for."

  • University Level
  • Site Level
  • Page Level

Think about your audience, think about what they think they are looking for and the words they would associate with that goal. An incoming freshman looking for information about residence halls, will probably be using words like "dorms" or "student housing"

Branded and Non-Branded Search

A branded search is a search query that includes our brand (e.g. University of Montana Resource Conservation) vs a more broad query (e.g. Resource Conservation Degree). Both are important, but ranking higher in non-branded searches allows a site to reach more people.

Off Page

Optimize Link Text

  • Use link text that is descriptive (e.g. "please fill out the personnel form" vs "for the personnel form click here")

Site Wide Deep Links

  • Important pages should be linked on each page in the site (use the top navigation or a mega footer)

Inbound links

  • Inbound links from other highly ranked sites improves your rank

On Page

Page Title

  • Describe the page
  • Use Keywords
  • 70 Character limit

Page System Name

  • Use full words separated by dashed (e.g. information-technology/umconnect-email/)
  • Integrate keywords

Use Appropriate Headings

  • Use keywords
  • Describe page sections

Use Meta Data

  • Google does not use meta keywords
  • It will use meta description

Social Media

Building community trust using social media will translate to a trusted site and will improve your page rank.

More information


Things to Consider

Keyword Stuffing: Overusing your keywords can get you into trouble. If you try and be tricky by using keywords where they don't seem natural search algorithms will notice and lower your page rank.

.edu domains: .edu and .gov domains get special treatment and get an automatic page rank boost. This also means that links from our domain to other domains are especially valuable as it counts as an inbound link for them

The Big Three

  1. Write concise content
  2. Choose good keywords
  3. Use these keywords in your headings, navigational links & the page title