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Titles

Do HTML title tags contain keywords relevant to page topics?

Every page on your website should have some sort of Title tag associated with it. Title tags are very influential in SEO, so make sure you are utilizing them to their fullest potential. You should include the popular keywords and search phrases in your title tags for your website, but in a way that makes sense. Don't use this as a free-for-all and spam a bunch of keywords. The preferred character limit for title tags is 60 characters.

Think of title tags as the cover to your book and each page is a different book. Search engines won't know how to rank you if your book cover doesn't help them determine what your content is about. Your titles should be descriptive of your content and performing thorough keyword research will help this this.Title tags are utilized in the snippets of search engines displayed to the searcher on the search engine results page.

Description

Do meta description tags describe what pages are about?

In addition to title tags for each page - meta descriptions are also very important. The meta description tag further helps the search engines get a better understanding of what your content is about. This is another tag where you want to ensure that you're covering the target keywords and search phrases for the content on your page.

If the title tag is the book cover, think of the meta descriptions as the introduction to the book. It provides a very brief overview of the content the user can expect. Along with title tags, meta description tags are utilized in the snippets of search engines displayed to the searcher on the search engine results page.

Structure

Do pages use structured data to enhance listings?

Structured data is not believed to be a direct ranking factor for SEO, instead it's more of a success factor in conversion. Structured data are considered "rich snippets" such at ratings system, review features, comments etc. These features enhance the quality of a website by providing real user information to other potential visitors and search engines "eat that up".

Headers

Do headlines & subheads use header tags with relevant keywords?

Continuing with the book analogy - the headers on your page can be chapter titles, subtitles are even content headers. Built in to any website is the ability to use the proper header tags such as H1, H2, H3 etc. There are also unwritten rules associated with using the header tags. Each page should only have 1 H1 tag, limited H2 tags and as you move down the line having more of each is acceptable.

  • H1 header tag is the chapter title
  • H2 header tags are the section titles
  • H3 header tags are the content titles/descriptors
  • H4 H5 and H6 header tags can be used for several subheading options or more commonly used for consistent styling.

Stuffing

Do you excessively use words you want pages to be found for?

Search engine heavily frown upon the old school tactic of keyword stuffing content. Search engines have evolved over the years and are now able to detect when a page is "stuffed" with keywords and will issues penalties for that page and even your site.

Write your content so that you achieve your end goal of converting visitors to customers or clients. You will go through many revisions of the content and through those revisions look for places to logically replace words with more keyword driving and search phrase inclusion words. If your content is well written - you will already be including keywords and search phrases at an acceptable rate because that's what your talking about in the content.

Hidden

Do colors or design "hide" words you want pages to be found for?

Hiding text or playing tricks with colors is a great way to upset the search engines and get you put on their radar. As previously mentioned, search engines have evolved and they are become smarter. They can detect the old school and black hat tricks that used to work 5-10 years ago. Those same tactics don't work and they get your page and site penalized for using them.

If the user visiting your website can't see it or access it, the search engines are smart enough to pick up on that. You might notice short term gains, like any other questionable tactics, but the long term penalties and lack of trust aren't worth it.

Conclusion

Your HTML markup is another part of the equation for your search engine optimization strategies. It's an important part because this is where your research pays off and you start to put your knowledge to work for you. Utilize the available tags that are influential factors in your SEO such as title tags, meta description tags and headers. Don't use them as an opportunity to spam keywords, instead use them to enhance your content for the search engines and their respective results pages. Avoid stuffing your content or hiding elements to better gain rank - it's a short term gain with long term penalties.

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