Top five things you can do in CMS Lite to improve your Content and Search Results

CMS Lite is the content management system used by gov.bc.ca. As a CMS Lite content creator, you can follow the recommended steps below to help your users find your content. For more detailed information, refer to:

1. Ensure that you have an accurate and unique page title

Search Engines display page titles in search results to website users. If your page appears in a search results page, the content of the title tag may appear in the first line of users search results. Search engines also will look for language that relates to the search phrase that users use.

  • Do this: Frequently asked questions about the Speculation and Vacancy Tax
  • Not this: FAQ 

Do a search of your title within gov.bc.ca and see if there are any other pages with the same title. Note that you do not have to include ‘B.C.’ in your page title because CMS Lite adds ‘Province of British Columbia’ to the title meta data to help identify content within gov.bc.ca as official.

2. Use the metadata description field as a preview of the page

The metadata description field’s purpose in CMS Lite is to describe your content to search engines.  It is important because search engines may use it in search results as the description provided to users. While the description field is used by many search engines, some search engines may use a page’s content in a search result if they find it more relevant to the search query, or if the meta tag description is poor, short or missing. Tip: Many CMS lite users reuse the intro field in CMS Lite (under the topic tab) as content for the description tab.

Avoid:

  • Writing descriptions that have no relation to the content on the page.
  • Using generic descriptions such as "This is a web page" or " Theme page for British Columbians and Our Governments".
  • Filling the description with only keywords.
  • Copying and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag.

Read more about the description field and metadata in the CMS lite manual.

3. Use the Synonym field for appropriate search phrases and terms

The custom Synonym field in CMS Lite allows content creators to provide alternate search terms that might be used by people to find your content. To ensure search engines find your metadata reliable, you should only use alternate search terms (ones that do not appear in the content) in the Synonym field. Example: In the case of ‘Income Assistance,’ users might search for information using the terms ‘Welfare.’

4. Be selective when choosing keywords, phrases and alt text fields

Be specific and accurate when selecting keywords, phrases and in providing alternative text for images. Using too many or too generic or unrelated terms may result in confusing search results.

Never use ‘Click here’ when offering a link. Manage people’s expectations, be screen reader friendly and provide more information to search engines by providing a descriptive hyperlink. 

5. Make sure your content is specific, trustworthy, current and in plain language. Update your links. Take down old content.

Most importantly, write for the needs of your audience and ensure that your content is accessible to all. If content is easy to understand, has no broken links, is up to date, and contains expected words and phrases, people will find value in it and will be less likely to ‘bounce’ (leave immediately) from your page. Metrics like bounce rates inform search engines how likely the next person will find what they are looking for on your page when they use a specific search phrase or word. Consider using the Hemingway and Web Aim Wave and Color Contrast Checker tools to evaluate your content and aim for a grade 5 reading level for content intended for the general public.