We offer Siteimprove, a website quality assurance tool, to all GW website owners. We highly recommend using Siteimprove to help keep your website up to date and easily identify issues. Some of the key features include:
- Identifying misspellings and broken links
- Providing recommendations for improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Scanning for correct content usage (e.g., "GW" instead of "GWU")
- Scanning for unwanted content (e.g., outdated GW terms such as "SPHHS")
- Listing all pages on which specific text appears, such as a phone number, email address or a custom phrase unique to your site
- Listing all documents grouped by type (PDF, Word, etc.)
- Scanning your website for digital accessibility issues
You can also use Siteimprove to measure analytics on user traffic on your website: which pages are most popular, how long users stay on your site, how they get to your website, demographic information and more. With this data, you’ll be able to develop a digital strategy that best serves your organization’s goals.
Siteimprove provides several online training videos on their website. GW-specific trainings are offered throughout the year and ad hoc support is available during our regular office hours or by emailing [email protected].
Website analytics are a powerful data-collecting tool you can use to garner valuable information about your website’s users and the effectiveness of your website content, digital marketing and social media. With this information, you can tailor your communication strategies across all of your channels to better serve your users and meet your marketing goals.
All GW Drupal sites come installed with Google Analytics, the industry standard for tracking website data, such as:
- Sessions: a visit to your site
- Pageviews: recorded every time a page is viewed
- Unique Pageviews: the number of individual visitors who have looked at a page; repeat viewers are counted once
- Pages/Session: Pageviews divided by sessions, showing the average number of pages viewed per visit
- Average Time on Page: the amount of time visitors spend on a particular page
- Bounce Rate: percentage of sessions that last only one page before exiting a site
You can also track advanced metrics, such as:
- user demographic and location
- the browser and device types most frequently used to access your website
- Google search data
- how users are getting to your content from other websites and social media
Think Like a Digital Detective
With Google Analytics’ straightforward interface and an inquisitive mindset, you can investigate a wide array of data. Paired with context and insight specific to your site’s content, you can uncover answers to your questions while also discovering new information you may not have thought of before.
The key is to look for statistical trends and aberrations and always ask what the reason may be. Remember: Your data is only as good as the insights you collect and analyze from it.
An Example: While browsing Google Analytics, you notice that traffic to a specific program page jumped considerably over a two-day period last March. Why might that be? After examining referrals for that specific page, you see much of that traffic came from Twitter and Facebook, and you remember partnering with other university departments’ social media accounts in March to promote your program launch. Analytics has revealed that social media can be quite an effective marketing tool in reaching a larger potential user base. This should impact your web and social media strategies.
You'll need a Gmail account to access analytics and your @gwu.edu address won't work. We recommend you use a shared, office-wide Gmail account. Once you have that, email [email protected] to get access to your site's analytics.
About 50% of traffic to GW’s websites comes from organic search. With good search engine optimization, your site can appear more successfully in search results so you can better reach people looking for something related to your content. SEO is not about achieving a high rank in a search; it is about providing high-quality content that meets the needs of your audiences. We can’t control where a page appears in a given search result. In fact, search results are often different for every person.
Creating Good SEO
Know your audience and your keywords
Use what you know from your content strategy to identify and understand the words and phrases your audience is likely to use when searching for the topic. They should be specific to the content on each page. Combine your own knowledge of your audience with data from Google Analytics, Google Trends or Google Ads.
Keep in mind that your audience might use different words than you. For example, you might say “athletics” while prospective students search for “sports.”
Make good web pages
The quality of your content is the most important factor in your SEO. Pages that are well-written and well-structured are preferred by users and search engines.
- Put your most important keywords in your page title and headings.
- Create a hierarchy with your subheadings.
- Search engines use headings to understand the structure of your page. Don’t skip heading levels: we offer levels H2 through H6 so you can prioritize content on the page. You can easily apply these headings in the WYSIWYG editor in Drupal.
- Body Content
- Use the keywords you’ve identified throughout the text of your page. Instead of overwhelming your content with buzz words, focus on writing unique and valuable content, using keywords where you can.
- Write descriptive links to tell your users where you are sending them. Links that use descriptive text, instead of “click here,” will boost a page’s search rank for those keywords.
- Don’t use images as the only way to display important text.
- Include quality alt text on all images to accurately describe what is displayed.
- Page Performance
- Make sure your page loads quickly. Use images that are sized appropriately and minimize external references.
- Keep your page mobile-ready. GW Drupal automatically formats a page for mobile devices so you don’t need to mess with this responsive design.
Use GW Drupal’s Metatags Feature
Metadata is information seen by search engines but not in the main content of your page. If you have content supervisor or site admin roles in GW Drupal, you can add metadata to pages.
In the “Description” field, summarize your page’s content in about 150 characters. This will then automatically show in search results beneath your page and when someone shares the page on social media. This information gives context and can help drive people to click on your page in search results.
We offer Flockler, a social media curation tool, to all GW website owners. Flockler allows you to display social media feeds on your websites and digital signage and works with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and RSS. Flockler offers a number of display options including waterfall, grid, and carousel, all of which come with customization tools and have been configured with accessibility in mind.
Account login credentials are required to configure Flockler for YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter. Administrator level privileges for the page(s) you manage are required to configure Flockler for Facebook. To configure Flockler for Instagram, you must have a business Instagram account. If you’re unsure about your account status or need help configuring the correct settings, please contact our team at [email protected].