Website Optimization: What Does It All Mean?

Website Optimization: What Does It All Mean?

Close-up view on conceptual keyboard - Optimization (green key)

As marketing and enrollment managers, we often read that our websites must be optimized to successfully market our universities online. The term “optimization” is thrown around with little explanation.

I’d like to dive into the meaning of website optimization and give you a few ways to put your website to the test.

An optimized website refers to a few different things: search engine optimization, website speed, and website architecture.

First, what is search engine optimization? Over the past five years, the term “SEO” has been explained many different ways. The acronym stands for search engine optimization. To have a search-engine-optimized website, your content must be organized in a way that’s easy for search engines to understand. Following best practices for SEO will allow your site to be properly indexed and will result in a higher organic ranking.

Five years ago, SEO meant having clean URLs and adding keywords to your content. Today it’s much more intricate. At Converge, we always start with an SEO assessment from MOZ. This allows us to come up with keyword research and recommendations, identify duplicate page titles, long URLs and development errors, and emphasize other technical SEO best practices.

Thematic and semantic SEO are relatively new to search engine optimization. Thematic SEO allows us to categorize content by context. One of our favorite examples is Life of Pi. If you search “movie about a tiger on a boat,” Life of Pi appears in the search engine. Semantic SEO allows us to structure content throughout a site so search engines can understand the purpose of each page rather than just reading keywords.

Website speed is another factor in optimization. It’s based on several factors. The first factor is the server your website is hosted on. Does it have enough memory or RAM for the size of your website? Is it on a shared or dedicated server? These are questions you should ask your IT department or hosting provider if your website runs slowly. Your website could also lag behind if your images or videos are too large. Make sure you’re following best practices on size requirements when loading content to your website. Here is a link to an image optimization article from the experts at Google.

Finally, website architecture is a major component of an optimized website. Making sure search engines can read your website is equally as important as making sure humans can read your site. Many website developers have gotten so caught up designing for search engines that they forget the end user’s intent. It’s important to make sure your website makes sense from a navigation and content perspective. At Converge, we write website copy geared toward our clients’ prospective students. We then go through the content to make sure it’s SEO optimized.

An optimized website is fast, search engine friendly and full of purposeful content that’s helpful to the end user. Wondering if your website is optimized? We recommend a tool called Woorank. We can also do an optimization assessment.

Visit our SEO page or get in touch with us for more information!

Phil Clemens
Phil Clemens
February 2, 2016