Search engine optimization

Ways to think about search engine optimization on your UCSC website, including benefits, keywords, what you can control, and how to make improvements so people can find your website’s information. 

Making sure that your website and web content are easily found by search engines should be one of your top considerations when creating content for your website. This process is known as search engine optimization, or SEO. 

In order for people to use the content on your website, they need to find your website first.

  • Don’t assume that people will automatically know how to find your website.
  • Do assume that many people are new to your website and need help finding and using your website. 

Benefits of SEO

  • Improve the ranking of your webpages in search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc…) 
  • Improved accessibility
  • Increased traffic and findability of your web content  
  • Increased engagement 
  • Increased completion of tasks on your website 


These are the most important components of your SEO. Keywords are the words and phrases that people put into search engines in order to find your web content. Content on your website should include keywords to help search engines find your web content. 

Where are my keywords?

Keywords might come from help questions that your division is frequently asked. If people often need help registering, finding a program, or discovering how much things cost, then your keywords might be: 

  • Register
  • Program
  • Cost

Another way is to use Google’s Search Console tool. UCSC uses Google Analytics on many websites, which means you might already have access to Google Search Console, which helps you identify what words people use in search engines that connect them to your website.  

If you would like to see if your website has access, then observe your keywords, just make a request through SlugHub

Parts of SEO can you control

It’s all about creating great content, and then marketing that content. In most cases, your content should answer questions that people have.

Think of what a typical search engine result shows:

  1. The URL of a website (example:
  2. The title of a website or an individual web page (example: University of California, Santa Cruz)
  3. A short summary (about 60 characters long) that describes what the web page is (Example:  Video Spotlight  – About UCSC – UC Santa Cruz is a public University like no other in California, combining the intimacy of a small, liberal arts college with the…)

Illustration 1: A typical search engine result. The page this is on, is sometimes called a search engine result page, or SERP.

Google search engine page result after searching for the terms UCSC

As a content creator, you control all three of these things. That means you can include keywords in the URL, page title, and summary to provide clarity about the information you are providing on your page.

Is there deeper information to know about SEO?

Yes, but it’s best to focus on the things you control. 

Moz, a search engine optimization company, thinks of the idea of SEO in a Hierarchy of SEO Needs.

In this example: the foundation of good SEO begins with ensuring crawl accessibility then creating compelling content, and moves up from there. Ranked from lowest to highest:

  1. Crawl accessibility so engines can read your website 
  2. Compelling content that answers the searcher’s query
  3. Keyword optimized to attract searchers & engines
  4. Great user experience including a fast load speed and compelling user interface
  5. Share-worthy content that earns links, citations, and amplification
  6. Title, URL, & description to draw high click-through-rate (CTR) in the rankings
  7. Snippet/schema markup to stand out in search engine result pages (SERPs)

In this example, you can control the following on your website:

  • Creating compelling content that answers the searcher’s query
  • Keyword optimized content to attract searchers & engines
  • Great user experiences including a fast load speed
  • Share-worthy content that earns links, citations, and amplification
  • Title, URL, & description to draw high click-through-rate (CTR) in the rankings

Keep learning 

Last modified: Oct 04, 2023