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It is for a hospital with about 100 different departmental sites.
For the homepage, i am basically listing the obvious hospital words and thinking of using the different departments - which are pretty much the reason's you would visit the site in the first place. i.e., Radiology, Cancer therapy, etc. (nocaps and no spaces of course)
Does anyone have any suggestions? Or a better attack plan?
I think you are rolling down the "Themed" alley......you could pull a very nicely themed site off with what you have in front of you.
I just checked to see if any of the old, really good threads were left there, but I think they were cleaned out.
Do a search of the site, using the search tool in the top left, for themes and you should find some very helpful info.
I would use general terms on the home page, i.e. hospital and health care, and then when you dig deeper into the 2nd and 3rd levels I would start using the more specific terms like radiology and stuff like that. I don't think that it would be in your benefit to use the specific keywords on the homepage.
There's a keyword tool [searchengineworld.com] you might find handy at our sister sitee, SearchengineWorld. Just thought I'd point it out to you.
Aside from the no caps and no spaces, there are some who like hyphenated versions, with discussion about user friendliness vs. keyword identification. My guess would be that users might type in nuclearmedicine.nyu rather than nuclear-medicine.nyu.edu, but it actually seems a bit clearer with the hyphen. There are some threads here at the board where that's discussed at length, with some differing opinions.
Were you thinking of doing /directories/ or using third-level domain names for them? It seems there's a decided advantage in the latter.
There's been a lot of discussion here lately about setting up large portal/vortal type sites. A site search for themes, as agerhart mentioned, or canonicals will probably yield a lot, but here are a few with a lot of good, solid concepts:
These should be a good place to start.
- I assume these are pre-existing pages? Or are you creating the content too?
- If this is pre-existing content, look for keywords right in the existing titles of the page.
- Pick out the good kw's and put them in your keyword and description tags.
- Look at large and bold print on the page. If there are applicable keywords in them, pick them out and use them.
- Read the first few sentences of actual content on the page and identify the best keywords used in those sentences.
That should set you up nicely.
There are a couple of reasons -- retrieval is actually improved with controlled vocabularies; you don't have to develop your own thesaurus of keywords (which ends up being its own controlled vocabulary anyway, if you do it right), and you will have ready -reference to cross references and alternate terminology without having to think it up yourself.
"innovation innovative products and technologies technology solutions... etc"
To me, this is a classic example of what's wrong with most corporate site optimizing (not to mention marketing copy). Eg, "technology solutions..." that's a classic phrase if I've heard one. Sort of up there with "panacea" for what customers are actually searching for.
Sorry to get off topic here, but this bears a bit on what I think needs to be said... that you've got to define who your target audience is... and then put yourself in the head of searchers in that audience looking for what your hospital is offering... and then to use GoTo to confirm. Some of your targets may be so specific that they'll be under GoTo's radar, which is where my suggestions here might differ from Brett's.
My guess is that a hospital is offering location and types of services... and that to some extent the hospital name may be known and you just want people to be able to find the hospital site and department.
So, on the home page, in the title I'd definitely target the hospital name, "hospital" itself and the location. In the home page description, include some of your main departments.
After that, the individual departments should each be targeted by name in their own sub-home page titles... which should also include location and hospital name. Expand on this in the meta description to include variants (eg, kinds of surgery in the surgery home page description). Getting this same information high up on the page, in actual text content, is important.
If you then have individual specialities with their own pages, you have a further chance for focusing content.
What you need to be mindful of is that you can't put everything on one page... so, the home page needs to be focused almost the way you would be focusing a directory description. Definitely don't try to cram it all into the home page meta keywords, if this was part of the thrust of your original question. Too many keywords can only hurt you. And if it's not prominently on the page, you can't use that page to target those words.
The whole thing ideally is set up like a well-formed directory structure on a hard drive... and you can't put everything in your root directory.
Also, peripheral general targets like "health care," etc, may seem appealing. If they're on your pages already, use them. If it comes to building pages for them, I think you've got to figure out whether they really are relevant to searchers you're trying to attract.
There is a detailed, graphically illustrated representation of hierarchical site structure in this thread:
>An index can be a major navigational tool
That, combined with site search, along with keywords targeted to varied audiences, can be invaluable for certain levels of users.
From personal experience, it took forever last year to dig out information at search engines for a family member about renal diets and effects of phosphorus. It wasn't easy coming up with the right search terms to find the information. It was finally found at a university site, using very simple keywords.
The Health and Safety services section probably shares some of the same keywords a hospital would target, though combined with a regional classification, and additional qualifiers, like types of vision tests and treatments, specific vision proceedures, and maybe even things like Health America covered vision correction.
In heath care there are the services, proceedures, ailments, and as well as the way someone would go about obtaining treatment, specifically, will my health insurance cover it. I'm not quite sure how SEO reach out to the payment part, but aside from the actual treatment or health problem, actually paying for it is likely to be an important topic.
I never dismiss the home page, incidentally. Together with the ODP description, it's vital to a good AOL ranking, not to be ignored... but you do have to focus on the most important terms you're trying to rank on.
Regarding the hospital site... it's not clear whether the site dispenses information on specific ailments and conditions. It's a wonderful idea for what a hospital site could do, and if this one does provide that information, yes, by all means make it accessible to search... via text on the page and in the meta description that contains the terms for which searchers will be searching, headings on the page to reinforce these terms, and title text also to reinforce these terms. Title length of c70 characters is one of the things that limits how much you can target on any one page.
Both are perfect examples of sites that could benefit greatly from a "divide and conquer" strategy.