Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps people find web content through search engines. More than 50% of NREL.gov visits are referred to NREL.gov from a commercial search engine.
To learn more about search engine optimization, read the Moz Beginner's Guide to SEO.
Apply these best practices to HTML pages on NREL.gov.
Create Unique, Descriptive Page Names
- Choose a name that effectively communicates the topic of the page content.
- Avoid using vague names, jargon, or marketing slogans.
- Each page should have a unique name (H1) that makes it clear to users what the page is about and how the page is distinct from others throughout the site.
Create Unique Title Tags
On NREL.gov, the page name (H1) is used to create the title tag for your page. Titles list the page name first in this format:
Corporate page: Mission and Programs | NREL
Research page: Publications | Buildings | NREL.
If the title tags uses "and," it is spelled out versus using an ampersand—with R&D as an exception.
Provide Alt Text for Images and Text Versions for Video
Providing alt text for images and text versions for video are best practices for accessibility and also give search engines a text description of the visual content. Provide alt text for all images and a text version of video and audio content to ensure words and phrases used are indexed by search engines and picked up by screen readers.
PDFs and Native Files
We optimize PDFs, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and other native downloadable files so they can be found and indexed by search engines.
Add Properties Metadata
To optimize for SEO, add metadata to a native file’s Properties fields. Go to File > Properties (or Control + D), and fill out these fields:
Add the full title of the document. This automatically adds key search terms to the metadata. Also, some users search by full titles.
For PDFs, go to File > Properties (or Control + D), and add the title. In an Excel, Word, or PowerPoint file, go to File > Properties > Summary, and add the title.
The subject will appear as a summary in search results, so make it descriptive and limit it to 150–160 characters. To keep it concise, it doesn’t need to be a complete sentence.
To create a subject summary for a PDF, go to File > Properties (or Control + D), and add the subject. In an Excel, Word, or PowerPoint file, go to File > Properties > Summary and add a subject.
You can also include additional metadata based on key or potential search terms, if needed. This is helpful when there are acronyms or abbreviations associated with the content that users might use as search terms. When adding additional metadata, separate the terms or keywords with a semicolon.
For PDFs, go to File > Properties (or Control + D), and add the additional metadata to the Keywords field. For Excel, PowerPoint, and Word files, go to File > Properties > Summary, and then add keywords.
Include Keywords in File Names
For SEO, it’s also important to create file names for your PDFs and other native files that contain key search terms.