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Search Engine Optimization

Our target groups use search engines to find exactly what they’re looking for on UZH’s websites. By adopting the following measures, web editors can make sure our content can easily be found on Google and other search engines.

“Content Is King”

High-quality content that is structured and geared toward the web and specific target groups is key when it comes to ranking highly on search engine results pages:

  • Use your website’s navigation structure to ensure that Google optimally indexes content.
    Navigation Structure
  • Structure the content of individual pages clearly (inverted pyramid: put key information at the top of your text). Follow the recommendations for web writing: write concise, clear, simple sentences, in the active rather than the passive voice.
    Structure of Content and Web Writing

Using the Right Keywords

For a webpage to be found through Google, the search terms users enter must feature in its visible content. You can also enter additional search terms in the page properties (metadata).

When preparing a text for your website, you should determine the keywords that your users will enter into Google to find a specific page. Use these specific terms as well as synonyms on the page within the text and in all important places.

Identifying Relevant Keywords

To find the right keywords, put yourself in the place of a target user for a particular page. Identify synonyms and related words as well. Consider colloquialisms, technical terms, abbreviations, regional spellings and search entries that consist of multiple words.

Keyword research with Google

Be imaginative: browse search engine results to find additional keywords. Display related terms from previous searches. Use Google’s autocomplete feature (Google Suggest). Look at your competitors’ websites or search queries.

Google Trends, a tool that displays terms often entered into Google, can also be useful:
Google Trends

Placing Keywords Prominently

Put the keywords for a specific page in the following important places:

Talking URLs

Search terms should appear in the page’s URL. The earlier in the URL path, the more weight Google gives a term.

URLs should consist of lower-case letters, numbers and hyphens. Don’t use upper-case letters, special characters or umlauts.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Naming Conventions (in German)

Page title

The page name displayed at the top must contain keywords. The sooner a keyword appears in the title, the more it affects search engine rankings.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Renaming a Page (in German)

Page text

The beginning of the text should have the highest keyword density. In total, there may be about 3% keywords. However, the text must still be comprehensible and worth reading for your target group. Repeating keywords too often and using too many synonyms can make a text difficult to read. This kind of “keyword stuffing” is a negative ranking factor.

Pages with fewer than 250 words are considered too irrelevant by search engines. Successful web texts often contain around 2,000 words.

H1, H2, H3 headings

Use a separate text/image component for each new section and topic. Always add a heading (H2) there that contains keywords. Note the hierarchy levels, i.e. don’t use H3 headings where there are no H2 headings.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Text/Image Component (in German)

Page properties – meta data

Keywords: Add several additional search terms (separated by commas) that yield search hits when entered. These keywords complement the search terms already appearing in the visible page content.
Meta data (description): Enter the page description (full sentence, min. 110 to max. 160 characters, including spaces) that will be displayed in Google results. It should encourage users to click on it in the search results page. The most important keywords should be at the beginning. If this field is empty, Google will display a random section of the text from the page as an outline in the search results display.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Page Properties - Meta Data (in German)

Link texts

Use texts that speak and ideally contain a keyword for your links. Users should know where a link leads to. Avoid generic link names such as “here”, “more”, “further information” without reference to the target page. Don’t use long URLs as link texts; meaningful short URLs, on the other hand, are suitable.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Links and Anchors (in German)


Image names and captions should also contain keywords, including the “Alternative Texts”. Alt tags (short image descriptions) appear when images can’t be displayed. And they are read aloud to visually impaired people visiting the site with a screen reader.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Renaming Asset (in German)

File name

Videos and downloads on a specific topic will also only be found if they contain appropriate keywords in their name and meta data.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Assets (in German)

External links are among the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. The more links that lead to a page, the higher it ranks. This works similarly to citations in academic publications: the more publications link to a source, the more important it is considered to be.

Link-building through relevant content

Content marketing (see box on the right) helps you generate relevant content with added value that other websites link to and users share on social media. Raise the profile of your website. Get others to link to your content: reference it in news, newsletters, blog posts, e-mails, etc. Communicate your website URL in your print products. Use sharing buttons to allow your users to easily share a page on social media.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Sharing Buttons (in German)

Linking Internally

Having a user-friendly internal link structure for your website will improve your Google ranking. Link to subpages from higher-level pages to “harness” their “linking power”. Otherwise, subpages with few visits will not be indexed by Google.

Place internal links in the appropriate context within the text’s body and name them with keywords. A very good example of internal linking is Wikipedia, where every important keyword is linked to another page.

Influencing Google’s Indexing

You can influence the indexing process of search engines like Google by following the measures below.

Technical measures

The Magnolia CMS and the web infrastructure of UZH generally support indexing by Google. Sitemaps, content and mandatory elements are stored in such a way that Google can optimally “crawl” them. CMS elements, loading times and hosting are implemented accordingly.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Search Engine Optimization & Crawling (in German)

Support re-indexing

Search engines such as Google should be informed about any restructuring of your website so that they do not refer to pages that no longer exist. For this purpose, we store a robots.txt file on each UZH web domain, which contains the link to the structure of your website (see e.g. and is evaluated by the search engines. (If this file is missing from your website, create a corresponding message in the UZH SupportDesk).

However, search engines only update the index of a website in portions, so it may take a few weeks before your entire website is re-indexed.

Deindex content pages

It is also possible to exclude specific pages from search engine indexing. This can increase the visibility of the important pages. Deindexing is also recommended for duplicate content or for temporary help pages.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Search Engine Blocking (in German)

Ensuring Accessibility

Accessible web content doesn’t only benefit people with an impairment, but also helps search engines. Make sure accessibility according to the Magnolia CMS User Guide.
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Accessibility Quick Guide (in German)
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Accessibility Tips (in German)

Accessible PDFs

Additional accessibility criteria apply to PDFs:
Magnolia CMS User Guide: Accessible PDF (in German)

Analyzing the Effects

By implementing these SEO measures, you will improve the Google ranking of your web content and increase its usage. To track the developments, you can request Matomo access statistics.

Matomo also offers suggestions for further keywords: based on the displayed, entered search terms, you can continuously optimize them.
Central IT Website: “Matomo” Web Access Statistics

Weiterführende Informationen


Google is the most widely used search engine. UZH also uses Google for onsite searches.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO refers to measures that improve placement in organic search engine results, which increase traffic on a website.

Content Marketing

Content that is relevant to specific target groups and prepared in a way that is appropriate for the channel improves Google rankings.

Content Strategy

Operational strategy for planning, sourcing, producing and managing successful, targeted content.