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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


Alt text: Alt text is short for alternative text. Search engines display alt text when the images on the page cannot be shown for some reason. All images should have alt text.

Buttons: Buttons should always contain actions. The language should be clear and concise. Capitalize every word. It’s OK to use an ampersand in button copy.

Forms

  • Form titles should clearly and quickly explain the purpose of the form.

  • Use sentence case for form fields.

  • Keep forms as short as possible.

  • Only request information that we need and intend to use. Don’t ask for information that could be considered private or personal, including gender.

Headings and subheadings: Headings and subheadings organize content for readers. 

Headings (H1): Headlines should:

  • Be short and direct.

  • Be able to stand on their own and understood out of context.

  • Avoid jargon, abbreviations, cleverness, and technical terms.

Subheads (H2, H3, etc.) break articles into smaller, more specific sections. They give readers avenues into content and make it more scannable.

  • Headings and subheadings should be organized in a hierarchy, with heading first, followed by subheads in order. (An H2 will nestle under H1, an H3 under H2, and on down.)

  • Include the most relevant keywords in your headings and subheads, and make sure you cover the main point of the content.

  • Use sentence case for page titles and subheads.

  • Don’t use punctuation in a title unless the title is a question.

Links: Provide a link whenever you’re referring to something on an external website. Use links to point users to relevant internal content and trusted external resources.

  • If a link comes at the end of a sentence or before a comma, don’t link the punctuation mark.

  • Don’t say things like “Click here!” or “Click for more information” or “Read this.” Write the sentence as you normally would, and link relevant keywords.

  • Links to external pages should open in a new window. Links to internal content should open in the same window.

Lists

  • Use lists to present steps, groups, or sets of information.

  • Give context for the list with a brief introduction.

  • Number lists when the order is important, like when you’re describing steps of a process.

  • Don’t use numbers when the list’s order doesn’t matter.

  • If one of the list items is a complete sentence, use proper punctuation and capitalization on all of the items.

  • If list items are not complete sentences, don’t use punctuation, but do capitalize the first word of each item.

Navigation

  • Use title case for main or global navigation. Use sentence case for subnav.

  • Navigation links should be clear and concise. They don't have to be the page name.

Related articles

  • Sometimes a long piece of copy lends itself to a list of related links at the end. Don’t go overboard—four is usually plenty.

  • Related articles should appear in a logical order, following the step down/step up rule: The first article should be a step down in complexity from the current article. The second one should be a step up in complexity to a more advanced article.

  • If you can, avoid repeating links from the body text in related articles.


SEO and internal search

We write for humans, not machines. We don't use gross SEO techniques like keyword stuffing to bump search results. But we also want to make it easy for people and search engines to find and share our content. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Title: Includes the target keyphrase once at the beginning of the title tag. Maximum 55 characters.

  • Meta description: A simple sentence summary of the article. Includes the keyphrase once. Maximum 155 characters.

  • Keyword usage: The keyphrase appears in the body of the article two to five times.

  • H1 head: Includes the target keyphrase. Be short and direct when creating headlines. 

  • Navigation:Define where the content fits within the navigation. 

  • Page boost: RULES TO COME

  • Keyword boost: RULES TO COME

  • Alt tags: Give every image descriptive alt text.

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