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Important Notice
These standards apply to content posted prior to January 18, 2018 that has not been subsequently edited or updated. Visit the main CDE Web Standards for the current standards.

This page is part of the California Department of Education (CDE) Web Design Standards, which only applies to specific CDE Web sites. Visit the CDE Web Standards to determine if these standards apply to a specific Web product (Web site, Web page, Web document, or Web application) that has been developed by or for the CDE.

Most Web pages (not including Web applications) on all CDE Web sites are created using Adobe's Contribute software templates. WebNETS, which is a custom software application that was created by CDE staff, is also necessary in order to create and process most Web pages on the CDE's public Internet site. Portions of these standards, where noted, apply only to CDE users of Contribute or WebNETS software; or to Web application developers.

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Keywords are used by some search engines to help classify and rank Web pages and documents. Keywords are hidden in the HTML metadata for Web pages and in the properties area for Web documents. In the past, keywords were misused on many Web sites, so search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo!) have decided to no longer use them to rank search results. For the CDE Internet and Intranet sites, the primary reason to use keywords is to allow CDE's own search engines to find, categorize, and rank pages.

Use of keywords is optional for all CDE Web pages and documents.


A "keyword" is a single word or phrase included in the metadata of a Web page or Web document and is used to help search engines catalog the content of the page or document.

Requirements (when keywords are used)

  • When multiple keywords are used, they must be separated by a comma and a space.
  • Do not exceed 1,024 total characters for all keywords including the keywords and the commas and spaces that separate them.
  • Keywords must be individually selected for each page or document. Simply copying a single keyword over and over or copying a portion of the title or description is not allowed.
  • A single word may not appear in a page or document's keywords section more than three times.
  • Never use techniques that are designed to fool or confuse any search engine. For example, hidden text or keywords that are not related to the content.


  • Generally there should be no more than three to nine keywords.
  • Don’t use keywords that repeat words or phrases that are in the metadata title or description/subject for Web pages or Web Documents.
  • There is no reason to capitalize keywords because they are read by search engines as non-case sensitive.
  • Consider adding keywords for common misspellings of the most important words associated with the content.
  • Consider adding abbreviations that are related to content, but do not appear in the title, description, or content.

For the Intranet

Contribute must be used to enter keywords into Web pages for the Intranet. After creating a new page or when editing an existing page, the keywords may be accessed while in "edit" mode by choosing Format and then Keywords and Description from the main menu in Contribute.

Keywords for index pages on the CDE Intranet cannot be entered using Contribute, and must be submitted to the Web Services Office because keywords for index pages are added via a database.

For the Internet

WebNETS is used to enter the keywords metadata into CDE Internet Web pages. Once entered into WebNETS, the keywords will be included in the background HTML code of the Web page.

Keywords for index pages on the CDE Internet cannot be entered into Contribute/WebNETS, and must be submitted to the Web Services Office because keywords for index pages are added via a database.

For Web Applications

HTML metadata keywords may be specified for main or login pages and for others if the page will be indexed by search engines. Use <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow"> if the page is not a main or login page and should not be indexed.

Questions:   Web Services Office |
Last Reviewed: Friday, December 28, 2018
Related Content
  • Descriptions
    The Descriptions section of the California Department of Education's Web Design Standards.
  • State Board Web Pages and Documents
    The standards for posting Web pages and documents for the California State Board of Education are contained in the State Board Web Pages and Documents section of the California Department of Education's Web Design Standards.
  • Titles
    The Titles section of the California Department of Education's Web Design Standards.
  • Web Document Metadata
    The Web Document Metadata section of the California Department of Education's Web Design Standards.
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