Making content findable

Is your content easy to find? Have you used the right words for the topic of the page? Are your pages labelled and described well? Try these exercises and see if you can make some improvements.

Exercise 1

Check the last 5 pages you published.

For each page, note the main topic or purpose of the page. What topic terms or phrases did you use in your page title, file name, main heading?

Make a list of synonyms for the main topic terms. For example, if your page was about ‘job openings’ at your organisation, you might have a list like this:

  • jobs, job openings, job opportunities, job postings, job vacancies
  • employment
  • careers
  • work with us, work for us

Which of the options do you think most of your target audience would use when searching? Are all the terms easily recognisable, or are some jargon that might not be understood? Which terms should you be using?

Do you need to change the words you’ve used in your page title, file name, main heading?

Free keyword research tools you can try:

Exercise 2

Select a page you published recently.

Find the title for the page and write it on a piece of paper. Show it to a colleague, neighbour, friend or family member. Can each identify what the page is about?

Now find the meta description and write it on a piece of paper with the title. Show it to a colleague, neighbour, friend or family member. Can each identify what the page is about now?

If your page title or meta description didn’t perform very well, rewrite them and try the test again.

Exercise 3

Select a page to check.

Write the page title, meta description and file name on a card. This is a preview of what your page might look like in search results and some social media channels.

Are you happy with this? Can you make improvements?

Exercise 4

Review the titles and meta descriptions of the last 5 pages you published.

Does the title:

  • Start with the keywords (topic terms)?
  • Accurately and fully communicate the page content?
  • Have fewer than 70 characters?

Does the meta description:

  • Provide a useful summary or description of the content?
  • Have fewer than 160 characters?

Exercise 5

Review how your pages would be listed on Facebook if someone shared a link to them. Check the last 5 pages you published. Here’s how to do it.

  • Paste a link (you don’t have to post it) to the page in your ‘Update status’ box on your Facebook wall.
  • Wait a few seconds while the system generates the entry for your link.

What does the entry look like? Note: Facebook usually uses the text from your title and meta description, unless they are missing or you are using Open Graph metadata.

Is it very clear what this page is about? Are you happy with the text Facebook is using to label your page?

If not, go back and rewrite your title and meta description (or your Open Graph metadata).

Exercise 6

Use Google to try to find a page you published recently (and if you have a different search engine for your local site search, try that too). How easy was it to find?

If you need to make improvements, check out the resources linked below, and update your page. Try the same exercise in a week or two (when Google should have re-crawled your site and updated its index).

If you’re on an intranet, try your intranet search to find the page. How easy was it to find?

Contact your intranet administrator to see if you can get information on how your site search works. For instance, do keywords count? What can you do to improve search results with this search engine? What content elements are visible in the search results?