The vast majority of traffic to the UVM website comes from organic search, or to be more specific the visitor followed link in a result on or our UVM search. Making sure that your content is easily discoverable via one of these searches is a process called search engine optimization (SEO).

Following basic SEO guidelines when writing or editing content will go a very long way to ensuring your content ranks higher in search results (Google or others). This is especially important when working on areas of the website where you'll be driving people to a part of digital marekting campaigns. While a lot goes into search engine optimization, there are some key areas where you can make the greatest impact.

Basic SEO Guidelines

It might sound glib, but SEO always starts with writing quality, relevant, interesting, and fresh content. Google ranks content not only on the intrinsic quality of the content inself, but also on its 'popularity' measured by things like the number of page views, links to the content from other websites or social media, and the reputation and popularity of the hosting and the linking websites. Building that reputation starts by knowing how to author search engine "friendly" web pages.

The easiest place to have a positive SEO impact is on the text you use in your content. Think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know a lot about the topic might use different keywords in their search queries than someone who is new to the topic. For example, a UVM insider might search for "CAS", an acronym for the College of Arts and Sciences, while a new fan might use a more general query like "liberal arts". Anticipating these differences in search behavior and accounting for them while writing your content (using a good mix of keyword phrases) could produce positive results.

It's also always beneficial to organize your content so that visitors have a good sense of where one content topic begins and another ends. Breaking your content up into logical chunks or divisions helps users find the content they want faster.

There are some other important SEO principles to keep in mind when contrusting your pages, including:

  • A unique and accurate page title that accurately and briefly describes the page's content
  • Properly nested heading tags to emphasize important text
  • A clear and simple naviation with a naturally flowing hierarchy
  • Establishing trustworthiness through using clear and simple language and easy to find and complete contact information

Google provides a lot more details about optimzing your content in its SEO Starter Guide.


Keywords are the terms for ideas and topics that define what your content is about—and that people use to find what they are looking for. It can be a single word, but more often a keyword is actually a phrase containing two or more words that someone might type into a search engine when looking for a topic of interest.

Think about the major keywords that a prospective student might be using that could lead them to you. The search terms they
are using to find what they want should be the keywords you use in your content. Google's keyword planner can help you idenitfy which keywords and keyword phrases are used the most often in conjunction with the terms you already know.

Personalized Keywords

It's one thing to make sure that people can find content that they alreay know exists, but what if you are trying to attract new people to your content? Let's say you are trying to market an academic program to prospective students who don't know anything about you or even the University of Vermont. You might find its pretty hard to improve your search engine ranking using terms that have a lot of competition so rather than focusing on keywords like "dietetics program," you might use "top-ranked dietetics and nutrition program in the country" (which we are). You would then choose to use that personalized term pervasively in your digital content strategy. Focus on your strengths that are top selling points to your audience.

Personalized keywords are a great way to unify your digital marketing efforts and improve the visibility of programs across multiple digital (and non-digital channels). And this is where your SEO efforts can see the fastest results and pay the biggest dividends.

SEO: indexing keywords, on page off page, traffic, content, ranking, site architecture, backlinks

Removing Content from Google

Because UVM currently uses Google for our internal search engine the same procedure can be used to remove contet from search results on and

First, the content needs to be deleted. Once you can not longer get to the content from the orginal URL, the page will likely continue to appear in search results until that area of the website is crawled again (this can take anywhere from hours to weeks). You can use Google's removal tool to expedite this process.


Getting Help

Looking for more information about optimzing your UVM content for search? Contact our resident expert,