It’s Time to Clean House
Marketing & Communications is working with Manaferra, a new third–party partner, to improve organic traffic to the UND website. Manaferra identified several issues that hinder search engine optimization (SEO). We’ve learned issues on one site will negatively impact all sites. There is a lot of work to do, and we need you to do your part to help us all.
To help you prioritize, the following action items are listed in order of SEO importance. The deadline to complete these fixes is November 22, 2023.
We will provide detailed spreadsheets outlining content issues to site owners in the coming weeks. Site owners must review their websites for any of the following issues and make edits per the instructions below. This includes independent sites.
- Delete all unused documents, images, and pages: Search engines scan everything. Manaferra identified 4.9K URLs on our website that are getting traffic even though they aren’t linked to. This is not acceptable. Site owners will be provided reports on unused content. If unused content isn’t deleted by the November 22 deadline, Marketing & Communications will delete all unused content. Your review is critically important because unused content reports are not 100% accurate. We need content owners to identify content that is falsely reported as unused.
- Move internal content to online storage and delete it from the website: Our website has become a dumping ground for office and department content like meeting minutes and agendas. This has a much greater SEO impact than we realized. Google has a limited crawl budget assigned to UND.edu. We need to make the most of that crawl budget, so Google spends its time visiting and indexing important pages, rather than files with no relevance to the marketing side of the website. Internal content will no longer be allowed to be published unless it is legally required to be public on the website. All internal content must be moved to a public or password protected online storage location such as Teams, Dropbox, or a shared drive. We will work with you to identify content that must be moved. Use this form to request a TEAMS site from UIT.
- Convert PDFs to website content: Site owners are misusing PDFs as an easy way to whip up web content. This is a big issue because PDFs are seen as secondary content to search engines, are not mobile friendly, aren’t easily updated, and have accessibility issues. We will work with site owners to identify PDFs that should be converted to web content. Not all PDFs will make good web content. For example, PDFs such as brochures and annual reports with design elements are better to remain PDFs.
- Audit your meta descriptions: Meta descriptions are the content that people see in search results. A meta description lets your audience know what to expect before they follow the search result link. A well-written meta description can make the difference between your page getting clicked or missed. Many pages have incomplete, inaccurate, duplicate, or missing meta descriptions. Follow SEO best practices to ensure pages have strong meta descriptions. Meta descriptions can be updated in Omni’s multi-edit menu.
- Fix broken links: Broken links send singles to search engines that our website is old and outdated. You’ll be provided a list of broken links that must be fixed. We’ll rescan the site after November 22, 2023 to ensure the links were fixed.
- Move pages in development to a _do-not-display folder: UIT periodically pushes code changes to our website that automatically publish all content on our website. This has caused bad content to be found via search. Please move all testing or back-up content to _do-not-display folder.
If you have questions, please contact Aimee Halstenson