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Search-engine Optimization Guidelines

The following information is intended to help you improve search-engine ranking of your Web pages. For a more complete introduction to search-engine optimization, see the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.
Search engines perform three actions to determine the relevance, and therefore the rank, of your content:

  1. Crawling — Spiders (bits of computer code) crawl around the Web, looking for content — this means you want clean, fast-loading code
  2. Indexing — Data is stored in a giant database — and helps to determine the relevance of content
  3. Ranking — The search engine uses a combination of different mathematical factors — an algorithm — to determine which pages to serve back to the user as results

Search engines also pull data from the device you are using. That is why two people using different devices at the same time and location can get completely different search results for the same key phrase. And now with Google+ and other social media websites, search results quickly become personalized for you.
Organic Search
Organic or natural search refers to unpaid listings that show up in search results. Search engines use complex algorithms to determine relevance when users search certain keywords or key phrases.
Rankings are “earned” through relevance and reputation factors. Search engines determine relevance by two major on-page factors: content and meta-data.
The uniqueness of content and engagement metrics plays a significant part in ranking a page. Meta data such as title tags, headings and article text inform search-engine spiders, those robots that crawl through websites looking for keywords and key phrases. These pieces of code determine if these are the pages the user wants. 
The algorithm also includes factors such as site speed, architecture and navigation layout to assess if the pages have the information the user seeks.  For location-based searches, the goal is to optimize results for relevance to that searcher, based on geography. The search engines pull data from users’ searching habits to provide geo-targeted results.
The following are rules you should follow when creating content and meta-tagging pages:

  • Choose a Primary Keyword Phrase

When choosing a keyword, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the goal and core message of the Web page?
  • What keyword phrases would your target audience use to find this Web page?
  • Is there a secondary keyword phrase that can be incorporated?
  • Repeat Keyword

Keyword phrase should be repeated in these places:

  • Title
  • Subhead
  • First paragraph
  • Second paragraph
  • Relevant links
  • Add Metadata

Metadata is code that users don’t necessarily see, but search engines do.

  • Use a description meta tag that includes your keyword phrase.
  • Add a title tag (can be the same as release title)
  • Add Alt text for all photos.



Meta-tagging Fields


  • Descriptive title that can stand on its own. The title should also include the primary keyword phrase. Example: Brain Tumor Treatment
  • Each word of the title should be capitalized.

Title Tag

  • This is the title of the page that appears in the dark blue bar on IE and in the tabs in Chrome
  • Use same title as the page title, and add UCLA Health. Example: Brain Tumor Treatment |The Department of Cancer Services | UCLA Health


  • Links should always match the page they refer the user to. Example:

Our doctors are experts in brain tumor treatment. (Note: Follow capitalization rules for the sentence in which the link appears; you don't have to match the capitalization of the linked page title.)

  • When linking to facilities, use branded name. When linking to services, try to use a non-branded keyword phrase for the link text.
    Example: cancer services
    NOT: Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Do not put a full URL on the page; always use descriptive text.

Example: Pituitary Tumor Program
NOT: pituitary.ucla.edu

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