SEO — Inner Factors — HTML markup rules

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Inner Factors website optimization is comprised of many different disciplines, which, unfortunately, can not be all done programaticaly. Therefore, this part of the job is the most time consuming.

Nonetheless, finding out, what the challenges of your website are and then correcting them to satisfy the Search Engine rules, allows us to reach very good search results ranks and be a few steps ahead of our competition. Today, Inner Factors are the most important part of website SEO.

HTML tags

HTML code has to be valid (or mostly valid) as per international W3C standards. HTML tags play very important role in SEO — Search Engines read their text content and therefore know the content of the site. Moreover, HTML tags help Search Engines to section information on the page (eg. where is a heading, subheading, what is highlighted in bold and so on).

  • Title tag is considered to be one of the most important tags on the page, as it contains the actual page title. Page title has to contain main keywords of the page. Title is what you can see in your browser’s tab heading.
  • Description (one of meta tags) is used to describe the contents of the page in confined manner. It is not shown to the user anywhere on the page.
  • Keywords (also one of meta tags) contains the most important, comma-separated keywords, which are on the page. This tag should provide us with the meaning of the page. Again, those keyword are not shown to the user.
  • Tag H1 is the main heading of the webpage and it is second most important tag after the title tag. It needs to be place on top of the page. The heading of the page must portray the content of the page and it is good practice to put page keywords there also. Every page should contain only one H1 tag.
  • H2 through H6 subheading are also very important as they divide the page into separate blocks. Again, these subheadings should also contain some of the keywords of the page, if possible.
  • B and STRONG tags are the means of highlighting some of the more important text on the page with bold font. Search Engines prioritize them more if they contain the information consistent with the rest of the text on the page.
  • EM tag allows us to highlight quotes, names or some therms in the text with italic font. If used correctly, text highlight can improve the page value in the eyes of Search Engines.
  • P tag divides the text into separate paragraphs. It is very important to use this tag for paragraphs and not separate sentences as we can sometimes see produced by some content management systems. If you need a newline in the paragraph, you can use BR tag. Try not to use SPAN tags for text highlighting. Nowadays, SPAN tags are meaningless to the Search Engines, as they are today used mostly for design purposes.

Formatting recommendation

Text formatting defines, how readable and relevant will the page content be to Search Engine. The ammount of formatting is defined as a ratio between actual text and tags.

  • Optimize the text and highlight the keywords the pages are promoted by.
  • Make sure the H1 tag is present on all pages in the header. This heading must not be a link.
  • Use at least one H2 tag containing at least a part of user’s search query (keywords, the page is promoted by).
  • It is useful to have H3 heading on the page, again, containing at least a part of user’s query.
  • Highlight the text with STRONG, BR and EM where appropriate and divide the text into paragraphs with P tag.
  • Main heading must not contain anymore highlighting. Codes like <H1><B>Heading</B></H1> are unacceptable.
  • Many CMSs (Content Management Systems) provide you with an option of editing the text in Word-like fashion. However, those visual editors can often generate meaningless and unnecessary code, which doesn’t break the page in any way, but is considered useless by the Search Engine algoritms. For instance, this code <B>&nbsp;</B> represents a bold non-breaking space. The page must not contain codes like this.
  • If you have a list to display, use UL (Unordered, bulleted list) or OL (ordered, numbered list), Search Engines can relate to that and understand it better
  • Paragraphs should be, without any highlighting, 300 characters long, at most. Length could be inreased to up to 600 characters when there are link and highlighting in the paragraph.
  • Tabular data have to be displayed in tables with the use of table tag.
  • Try to use at least one image every 1000 characters of the text.
  • Do not cross HTML tags (eg. <P><STRONG>some text</P></STRONG> is not acceptable)
  • Every tag used should have meaning and purpose, do not use unnecessary tags
  • Do not cheat the Search Engine algoritms through some obscene HTML tag usage
  • Opened paired tags have to be closed (<EM>italic text</EM>)