Loyola University Maryland

Content Owners Network

SEO, Accessibility, and Best Web Practices

As a content owner, you are responsible for maintaining the content of your website as well as ensuring it follows our SEO (search engine optimization) and accessibility standards. Accessibility ensures that all individuals accessing the site, including those with phsyical disabilities, visual or hearing impairments, or technology limitations, can access the site. Below are some basic guidelines that you should follow to help your site show up in search engines and to help support accessibility.

URLs

  • Lowercase all page and file names in the Sitecore tree. Separate keywords with hyphens. Good examples of page names are “student-development” or “faculty-resources.” Do not include words that have no keyword value, such as "and," "of," "the," etc.

Links

  • Never use “click here," "learn more," "continue reading," etc. All links should be descriptive.
  • Do not repeat the same link text multiple times on a page.
  • When linking to an external website, make the link open in a “new window”

Images

  • Add "Alt Text" for every single image that you upload into Sitecore. Alt Text is a brief description of the image (less than 60 characters).
  • Never upload an image that has text in it. For example, never post an image of a flier because text in an image cannot be read by search engines or screen readers. Instead, re-key the content from the flier into a web page.
  • Resize photos into a smaller format and optimize them for the web before you upload them to Sitecore. Refer to the image resizing instructions for recommended dimensions and file sizes.
  • Do not use images or logos from other sites; there could be issues with usage rights

Page Content

  • Write clear and accurate page content.
  • Use "heading 2" and "heading 3" sub-heading styles within your content.
  • Populate the "HTML Title Tag" field for every page. It should follow this format: [description of page] - [department name] - Loyola University Maryland. For example: Request Form - Marketing and Communications - Loyola University Maryland. The HTML Title Tag should be 65 characters or less and should be unique from any other page on your site.
  • Populate the "HTML Meta Description" field for every page. It should be less than 155 characters. This content should be a brief description of the page. It does not help with search engine rankings, but it does give users some context as to what they'll find on your page which will help your click-through and bounce rate (which do impact rankings). Make sure this is unique from any other page in your site.
  • If you are copying content from another location (such as from Word or an email), paste it into and then copy it out of Notepad before pasting it into Sitecore. This prevents formatting errors in Sitecore.
  • Keep your content short, concise, and easily scannable (e.g. short paragraphs, bulleted lists, heading styles)
  • Do not rely on bold, italics, or underlines to bring attention to important information; your content should not be too dense to locate important information
  • Never underline content on a website since it could be misconstrued as a broken link
  • Do not place copy in tables; only use tables for charting out data
  • Keep verb tense consistent; use an active voice
  • Follow the Loyola style guide to ensure uniformity in Loyola’s branding
  • Regularly review and update content; at least one thorough review should be conducted 4x/year and prior to the start of any academic semester
  • Link directly to the course catalogue for information regarding your course offerings rather than duplicating that content on your site
  • If you are no longer using a page, ask Kaitlyn May to archive or delete it; search engines can still crawl and find “orphan” pages
  • Do not have pages buried too deep in your site; it should not take readers more than three clicks to get to the content they’re looking for
  • The content in the right column should support your existing site architecture and should not be used as a primary means of navigation

PDFs

If you are posting a PDF, please contact the office of marketing and communications at ext. 5042 or www.loyola.edu/marcomm/webupdate and we can help optimize it for search engines and accessibility.

Videos

If you are posting or linking to a video, it must have either captioning or a transcript. Contact the office of marketing and communications at ext. 5042 or www.loyola.edu/marcomm/webupdate for assistance.

See How People Benefit from Accessible Content

Learn More

Visit the Section 508 compliance website
Learn more about accessibility efforts at Loyola