Checklist for Creating News Articles
Include Meta Descriptions
This HTML description will not appear on the page—it appears in code and is crawled by Google to serve as a description or summary in search results (e.g., Joseph E. Buck, currently the associate dean of advancement at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, has been appointed Lehigh’s vice president for development and alumni relations.)
- Describe what article is about using keywords relevant to page topics
- The optimal meta description length is 150-160 characters so that Google displays all of it
- Note: Sometimes Google will use the first 150 characters of your article as the description of the Search Result, so be thoughtful as you write those and consider adding keywords to the lede.
- URL should be short and concise (optimal length is 50-60 characters)
- Use most important keywords
- Use dashes to separate words instead of spaces or underscores (e.g., “www1.lehigh.edu/news/joseph-e-buck-named-vice-president-development-and-alumni-relations-lehigh”)
- Make sure there are no other punctuation marks in the URL (such as periods or quote marks)
Plan Headline and Subheads throughout Page Content
The Headline becomes the name for your page on the browser window or tab—and also for search results (e.g., Joseph E. Buck named vice president for development and alumni relations at Lehigh.)
- Use relevant keywords within the headline and subheads
- Keep headline length under 60 characters so that Google displays the entire headline in the search results
- Headline and subheads should follow proper HTML structure (e.g., H1, H2, etc.)—not doing so confuses search engines
Ensure Images Are Named Properly
Use relevant keywords in image file name, alt text and captions
- File name (separate words with dashes): lehigh-joseph-buck-vp-dev-alumni.jpg
- Alt text (optimal length is 125 characters or fewer): Joseph E. Buck named Lehigh's vice president for development and alumni relations
- Caption: Joseph E. Buck, who has just been named Lehigh's new vice president for development and alumni relations, has served in key development positions at the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania and LaSalle University.
Create a Link-Building Plan
- Creating links from your webpage/story:
- Linking to content and other websites within the university will generate more traffic and will discourage duplicating content within the lehigh.edu domain (a big negative for SEO).
- Linking to content and other websites outside the university can influence domain authority scoring, as well as encourage other websites to link back to lehigh.edu.
- Getting links to your webpage/story:
- Create HTML-ready snippets that other websites can plug right into their content
- Ask departments, offices, professors, etc., highlighted in an article to post the link to the story on their website and/or social media accounts
- Create an RSS feed for your content
- Work with local & national media to share your content
- Encourage users to share your content via social media