Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and USAGov applies SEO practices to improve (optimize) online content to rank/perform well on different search engines:

1. Put primary keywords in the:

  • URL (such as usa.gov/topics/social-security.html)
  • First words of the page <title>
  • Meta description (summary), which is readable, plain language, and inspires clickthroughs from Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.
  • Page title, tagged as an <H1> 
  • Body (at least two or more times)
  • Link titles or nouns that are descriptive of what you are offering the user, but not the verbs (for example, download passport forms; not download passport forms)

2. When appropriate, use secondary keywords in the fields listed above, plus in the asset heading, which is tagged as <H2> and secondary headings, which are tagged as <H3> and <H4>. Examples:

  • Scam, scheme and swindle are secondary keywords for fraud.
  • Arrendar and rentar are secondary keywords for alquilar

3. Keep key page elements short:

  • Titles: fewer than 75 characters with spaces.
  • URLs: fewer than 90 characters with hyphens.
  • Meta description/summary: fewer than 160 characters with spaces.

4. Link to authoritative sites, and avoid broken links.


For additional information, go to Search Engine Land’s Guide to SEO.

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