Search engine optimization (SEO) tips

SEO tips from the Office of Marketing and Communications

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website to get it to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Why does SEO matter at Messiah University? 

Online search is the most popular method for beginning the college decision journey. In fact, college websites were the most important source of information used to research colleges in a 2022 survey with 90% of respondents citing their importance. 

This is why SEO is a vital piece of the Messiah University website and enrollment strategy. 

With that in mind, here are a few simple things you can try to help do your part optimizing the Messiah University website for search engines and prospective students. 

Tips for optimizing Messiah University's website 

  • Create unique, accurate page titles. As you create the pages on your site, keep in mind that the Messiah website is incredibly robust and unique page titles help users AND search engines find what they are looking for. Some examples of this would be rather than creating a page called “Contact Us” create a page called “Contact the Department of Business” or rather than calling your faculty page “Our Faculty” it should be called “Department of Nursing Faculty.”
  • Make use of the “Description” meta tag: Think of how you would describe your business to an interested stranger in 1 minute. Write a description of your website in one complete sentence – you should repeat the words that you used in the keyword phrase of your website. This description often appears as the second line in a search engine listing, so put the most important words at the beginning of the sentence. This sentence should be completely factual and void of boastful claims and marketing hyperbole. You are limited to 160 characters in Google, including spaces. You can find the meta description tag in Jadu here: 

Screenshot of where to find the "meta" tag in Jadu


  • Use niche-specific keywords: Do your best to incorporate keywords strategically into your web content. Well selected keywords not only help a website receive higher organic traffic but also with the internal searches on Messiah’s own website. 
  • Keep your content compelling, concise, and up to date: The quality of your content is important to users, as well as search engines. Try to keep your sentences short and break your page up naturally with headings, paragraphs, and bulleted lists. Update your content regularly and delete outdated content when appropriate. We encourage you to schedule an audit of your subsite to ensure it’s up to date quarterly or, at minimum, once per year. 
  • Use appropriate anchor text when linking throughout the site: Anchor text should be useful and tell users, and search engines, where the link leads. Avoid “click here” links. 
  • Provide alt text for images: Alt text is important for search engines and accessibility. It should provide an accurate description of the image contents. You can add your alt text in here: Screenshot of where to add alt text in Jadu


  • Use headings in order and for emphasis, not for aesthetics: Headings used throughout a page have a direct impact on SEO, so it’s important to use them when necessary and not just as a stylistic choice on a page. The appropriate order of use should be: 
    • Heading
    • Subheading
  • Consider how your page will appear on mobile devices: Remember that many users will be accessing your site from their phone or tablet. Consider how your page will render on these devices. 

These are just a handful of tips for optimizing your part of the Messiah University website. If you’re interested in learning more about SEO or optimizing your site, reach out to the Director of Web and Digital Marketing, Kris Hardy at or Web Services Manager, Jen Romanchak at