Page Basics

Keep in mind that many people are finding our site using Google and other search engines. Making our site more search engine friendly also makes it more people friendly and also makes it more accessible to visitors who use assistive technology.

Keywords

Finding the right keywords or phrases to work into our content can take time, but it can really make a difference in the number of people finding and spending quality time on the site. When in doubt, use site search data to familiarize yourself with words our visitors are using. Incorporate keywords into page titles, subheadings, links, metadata and image and video tags.

Meta Titles and Descriptions

Meta titles and meta descriptions are in the HTML code and help search engines and people find our site. We should add meta titles and meta descriptions to all of our webpages.

The meta title is the page’s title and displays above the page’s URL on a page of search results.

The meta description is an overview of what a page is about. It can display under the page’s URL in search results, if the search engine doesn’t pull other text from the page that it thinks is more relevant. Keep meta descriptions brief, since some search engines display as few as 150 characters, including spaces.

ALT Tags

Visitors who are vision impaired view the web with their ears by using software that reads content to them. Provide a text description for images in the form of ALT tags in the HTML code. Do this for logos, diagrams, photos and any other imagery. To write good ALT tags you must know why you’re using the image, so make sure every image has a purpose. ALT tags also contribute to SEO.

PDFs

Use PDFs sparingly on the web. Content in PDFs is more difficult for the visitor to find and if not formatted properly, not accessible for visitors using assistive technology. Another challenge is that most PDF files usually come from paper documents and are not written for the web. So we really need to consider if a PDF adds value to the visitor. When possible, rewrite PDF content to fit on a relevant webpage. If you must post a PDF, use it to supplement content that is available in another format online.

Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports bold experiences that explore and elevate our shared stories to connect people, enhance lives, and enrich communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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