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Brand execution guidelines

Content authority standards for asu.edu

Duplicate content across asu.edu causes harm to both SEO and user experience by:

  • Negatively impacting search engine rankings, search crawlers:
    • Don't know which version(s) to include/exclude from their indices.
    • Don't know whether to direct the link metrics (trust, authority, anchor text, link equity, etc.) to one page, or keep it separated between multiple versions.
    • Don't know which version(s) to rank for query results.
  • Providing conflicting, out of date or partial information to site visitors.

Goals

Optimize search results

So that the correct website with the most accurate information to be the asu.edu authority for the topic and rank first in internal and external search results.

Improve user experience 

Help users find the content they’re looking for quickly with as little cognitive lift as possible.

How we address these issues, collectively

Determine which ASU unit is content authority for shared content on asu.edu

The unit who is ultimately accountable for delivering specific information or services for the ASU enterprise is considered the content owner/authority for asu.edu.

Example: The ASU Business and Finance unit is ultimately accountable at the enterprise level for standards, processes and service delivery for parking, human resources, (non-student) jobs, facilities and is therefore the asu.edu authority for content related to these areas. Any feedback or changes should be coordinated directly with the CFO team.

If you have changes, edits or feedback about the content provided on content authority pages/sites, please reach out to the site contact directly to discuss instead of replicating content on your page/site and increasing the chances of frustrated users who are finding conflicting or out of date content.

Centralized university systems such as degree search, ASU News, ASU Events and iSearch/directory are considered the content authority for asu.edu. Modules with feeds to display content from these systems will refer search engines (through canonical tags) to the source as the content authority for that information on asu.edu:

  • news.asu.edu
  • asuevents.asu.edu
  • isearch.asu.edu
  • webapp4.asu.edu/programs/t5
     

Duplicate content standards

Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely matches other content or are very similar. Pages on asu.edu should NOT contain text copied directly from another page (this does not include feeds).

To avoid creating duplicate content:

  • Link to the content authority page on asu.edu instead of duplicating content
  • If the same content is needed for a specific purpose or audience, write an audience specific introductory summary of content that is unique and link to the official authority asu.edu page for further information
  • Check for default duplicate title tag and page description when webpages are cloned
  • Create unique H1, H2 web page and paragraph headers for your content
  • If the same content is needed for a specific purpose or audience, write an audience specific introductory summary of the content that is both unique and seo-friendly. 
  • Add a canonical tag to pages containing duplicate content to point search engines to the asu.edu content authority page. This tells search engines which page to crawl and rank as the official source for this subject matter on asu.edu. Learn more

Determine which duplicate content solution is right for a page.

Search ranking/priority

  • Internal: Pages that represent authority, priority university content for the enterprise will receive a promoted result within asu.edu search 
  • External: If providing non-authority summary content for unit specific needs, implement a canonical tag to point to the official asu.edu authority of that information to tell search crawlers where to index the official ASU content. Learn more