Congratulations to last week’s winner, Agape Love Designs and Photography!
In this section of the series, I will address the more technical aspect of SEO; the actual code. The HTML coding can make a huge difference in how your site or blog appears to your visitors. Bad code can either make it a pain to read, or a most pleasant experience. The same is true for search engines. As a general rule, search engines will use a certain structure to dictate importance to text.
The first and more important tag is the <title> tag. This is what the Search Engines will use to identify the primary idea behind your site, after all, this is what you call your page so it must be extremely relevant to the subject. For those of you who use Blogger, there is by default an issue here for which a simple solution will do – The title is displayed as Blog Name – Post title. This is bad, basic SEO and marketing strategies teach that you should “get over your brand, and focus on the users needs” – With this logic, the first item should be the Post Title followed by your Blog Title, and keep it short. Usually 11 words to 70 characters is the recommended maximum.
There is also a simple fix for this for the Blogger users out there, as follows:
First, Change the design tab to “Edit HTML” and choose to “Expand Widgets”, then find this line of code:
<b:include data=’blog’ name=’all-head-content’/>
Then replace it with:
<b:include data=’blog’ name=’all-head-content’/>
<b:if cond=’data:blog.pageType == "index"’>
<title>Some Keywords Here – <data:blog.pageTitle/></title>
<title><data:blog.pageName/> ~ <data:blog.title/></title>
And voila!! SEO Optimization in your title tags. This will bring your Post Title to the front (unless your on the main landing page) and the your Blog Title, a simple fix for your Google search results. Some people will got one step further adding their tags to the title, but I believe using breadcrumbs would be a better use of space and content. The usual limit to title tags is 11 words or 70 characters, so adding tags could be counter productive.
Next is the META tags. Now, many professionals will say that the keywords META tag is obsolete, and this is true in many cases, however, some search engines still place SOME weight on it, even if minimal. It can also help webmasters and marketers alike know what your intended market is and help you in your quest. The META Description however is more important, and is what would show up in your Google results! This should be given special attention to ensure that text is geared to the people you want to reach, and entice them to click your link!
Again, these are not in Blogger, but can be added in the “Edit HTML” section of design.
Simply find the <HEAD> tag in the code, and immediately after enter the following two items:
<META name=”Keywords” content=”any keywords you like, separated by commas”>
<META name=”Description” content=”The best darn catch phrase you can think of to attract people to click to your page”>
Now, the general consensus is that you Keywords and Description tags should not exceed 200 characters or 70 words, more than this is useless for most popular search engines as they simply discard the rest. Do the maximum with what you have, and make sure it’s legible to readers! Remember, if your description isn’t catchy, no one will click your site.
Item number 3 on the list are your header tags. This is what “organizes” the importance of the words on the page itself, starting with H1 all the way to H6. H1 is your most important tag, and should only be used once on the entire page, be the main topic and keyword rich. H2 can be used twice, but usually more than this is an issue. Limit it so search engines don’t penalize you. H3 is your subtitles and can be used even more often, and if necessary H4-H6 as well. Little weight is given after H2 so it’s up to you if you use them. Note that in some Blogger templates, H2 is used for the dates and the titles of each of your widgets, then H3 is used for the post titles. You can code it so as to switch them around, this way, H2 is your post title, and H3 everything else, so as to give more importance to your post titles.
Anchor text is another important item. These are your links on a page <a href=”some page”>click here text </a>. Anchor text is actually given a fair bit of weight to search engines as these topics are things that you, the host, think is important enough to link to and possibly leave your site. Many people I’ve seen have embedded this into their text with the words “Click Here” and make no use of this whatsoever. This text is important, so use Keywords here. Something like :find out <a>more about SEO optimization here</a> is always the better option. Use it!
Last but not least of the important tags is the the “alt” element in the IMG tags. It’s bad code not to implement these and bad SEO to leave the blank. This text is not seen by anyone except search engines unless you image fails to load, and can be specifically used to tell the search engine what the image is about, after all, search engines see text, not pictures. If things are important enough to have an image given, then tell the search engine what’s so important with the “alt” and make sure it’s keyword rich.
These are the big tags, the things which will help you in your quest to climb the search engine charts.
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