SEO HTML Tags That You Should Know

Understanding SEO and HTML is crucial if you wish to properly optimize your website.

For Google to interpret an article, it needs to take a peek at the HTML document. The search engine analyzes tags that are within this document, which allows it to understand what the post is all about and to rank it accordingly.

While optimization of tags is very important, and it can have a major impact on visibility, it is just a small piece of the SEO puzzle. In this article, we will take a look at how HTML meta tags and SEO work together.

(You might also be interested in checking my post on SEO writing or have a look at some market research tools)

Controlling The Search Snippet

When Google’s robots discover your content, they will analyze the HTML behind it. Specifically, they will focus on various tags such as title tags and meta descriptions. By “reading” this data, the search engine can understand the content better.

Through optimization, an SEO expert can point the crawlers in the right direction. For example, if you wish to rank for a particular keyword, you need to make sure that all your metadata points in a specific direction (towards the keyword that you are after).

HTML SEO will affect the performance of not only one article but all the content that you will ever post. Furthermore, metadata optimization will also have an impact on how social networks perceive your article. Let’s start by analyzing title tags and meta descriptions as the two most important pieces of data that you provide to Google.

Title tags

Optimizing the title is the most important part of SEO. By simply having the targeted keyword in the title of your article, you can increase the odds of ranking in the top 10.

The tag that you put into HTML will be shown in the snippet. While most experts focus on its impact on SEO and Google, it is also crucial for the users. Having a well-optimized title can have a major effect on the click-through rate (CTR).

Nowadays, there is a lot of talks that Google’s algorithm is becoming more reliant on user data for ranking content. So, by having a high CTR, you can get the secondary benefit from your title tag. In other words, you need to find a nice balance where you will use the precise keywords but also lure visitors to your page with a catchy title.

Do you need to have the exact-match keyword in the title tag? No, but it will help if you do.

Sometimes, especially when your main keyword is a question, it can be a bit hard to add it to the title tag. The phrase might sound a bit awkward. Because of that, you might have to decide whether to use an exact match phrase and potentially reduce your CTR or use a more user-friendly tag and reduce the relevancy of the article.

<title>HTML SEO Tags That You Should Know</title>

Meta description tags

The second part of the search snippet is the meta description.

With meta description, you can provide users a brief description of what your content is all about. The ideal length of a meta description is between 155 and 160 characters. If you go beyond that, the description will be cut mid-sentence, and readers won’t be able to see the rest.

In a way, optimizing the meta description is very similar to optimizing the title.

Like with the title, you need to use the main keyword in your meta description tag. Back in the day, these descriptions were much more relevant for Google’s algorithm, but that’s no longer the case. Nowadays, Google mostly utilizes them to improve user experience.

Good metas can have a big impact on your CTR. In that sense, they have a direct and indirect impact on the algorithm and rankings. The first sentence is especially important for conversion.

It is worth pointing out that Google will not necessarily use your meta description, so it is more of a suggestion to the search engine.

<meta name=”description” content=”HTML SEO is an impotant part of on-page optimization that helps search engine to better understand your content”/>

Optimizing Content

When optimizing your content, you should especially be careful of headings, images, and links. Here are some of the best practices.

Headers

When it comes to SEO and HTML, you should also pay attention to headers. Among others, your title will be in the form of a header (usually H1).

The most important thing about them is that they allow you to break up content. According to studies, half of all website visitors spend 15 seconds on an article. In most cases, they will just skim through it in an attempt to find an answer to their exact question.

Headers make it much easier to find these answers. While you might think that it’s better for people to struggle to go through your posts, as this will make them stay on the website for a while longer, this isn’t true. If visitors are unable to find an answer quickly, they will most likely “bounce.” Keep in mind that Google analyzes bounce rates, and a high bounce rate will negatively affect a content’s ability to rank.

Google analyzes every interaction that a user has with a website so, the longer they stay and click around, the better for you.

Header tags can also be crucial for allowing Google to segment the content and create featured rich snippets. These snippets provide a detailed answer to user’s questions, having a bit more text to them.

As mentioned, the H1 header is usually reserved for the title. H2 will be used to mark a section of the article, while H3 will be used for subsections. You can also utilize H4 and H5 to further break up the content, but they are very rare.

Lastly, we need to mention the importance of using keywords in your headers. Google assigns headers a bit more importance than regular sentences. By using your main keyword in a header, you can increase the relevance of a particular section. While they are not as potent for SEO as some other things, they might be relevant when Google creates featured rich snippets. 

  • <h1>HTML Tags That You Should Know</h1>
    • <h2>Controlling The Search Snippet<h2>
      • <h3>Title tags</h3>
      • <h3>Meta description tags</h3>

Image Alt Attributes

Using image tags is important when you wish to help your images rank.

Since images are graphic content (duh), search engines are unable to interpret them properly. The algorithm is simply unable to tell what’s on them, so you need to provide instructions by assigning tags.

When creating a tag, you need to use a certain keyword that you wish to rank for. Keep in mind that Google returns different results for articles and for images. So, while your post might be first in Google, that doesn’t mean that images on that post will also rank first within image search.

A keyword that you use for images can be different from the main keyword you use for the article. However, it is important that these phrases properly describe what’s on the image. Besides using the right image alt attribute, Google ranks images based on relevancy, interaction, and a few other factors.

<img src=”https://costofincome.com/image.jpg” alt=”SEO HTML Tag Example”>

Link tags

Hyperlinks, or simply links, are one of Google’s main ranking factors. 

When a high-quality website links to your content, this is like a vote of confidence. Getting quality links is an important part of SEO strategy, but giving links – influences your rankings too. We differentiate two types of links: internal and external.

Internal links, as the name implies, are placed in your content. You can utilize them as a way of leading visitors through your website. If you do this properly, you can reduce your bounce rate and make sure that people stay for a longer period of time. Internal links can also be used to improve your SEO.

External links are the links you get from other websites. In order to avoid potential penalties, it is very important that these links are from reputable sites and that they’re relevant to your topic/industry.

NoFollow links

When posting external links to other websites, you are effectively boosting their SEO.

Oftentimes, companies want to “link out”, to make their content better. But, they don’t necessarily want to boost competitors or simply – are not looking to give out SEO authority of their own pages. When this happens, they add a nofollow tag to specific links.

<a href=”https://www.thatdomain.com/” title=”Target Domain” rel=”nofollow”>Click Here</a>

The link can still be clicked, and you will still go to that website. However, you will not transfer the so-called “link juice” to another domain.

Sponsored post links

When creating sponsored posts, you have to create content yourself, but also to pay for the addition of a link. 

In order to comply with Google best practices, all the links that were paid for must be marked as “sponsored” links. 

As Google strictly forbids any type of link scheming or link buying, this “sponsored” tag will make sure that neither side will be penalized by Google.

In the eyes of Google nofollow and sponsored have a similar effect on rankings. They can even be used together. 

Controlling Accessibility & Indexation

With proper SEO HTML practices, you can also control the accessibility and indexation of your content.

There are a lot of issues that can occur here. For example, robots might not be able to access your content and properly index it. Sometimes, they will access pages they shouldn’t, which will lead to duplicate content (a common problem for eCommerce websites).

Here is what you need to know about robots (crawlers), canonical tags, and schema markups.

Robots

You can use the robot’s tag when you wish to prevent crawlers from accessing certain pages.

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>

For example, there might be some pages on your website that you don’t want to rank in Google. They might only be important for your website visitors. This might include pages with sensitive information or pages that are only relevant for your fans.

Among others, by preventing the crawling of certain pages, you can prevent the creation of duplicate content. (Alternatively, you can mark the original page with the “canonical” tag).

Canonicals

Upon creating a website, this website can be accessed in several ways. Although the name of the website will always remain the same, there might be small differences in the URL. This is where canonical tags come into play.

These are very important for your Google rankings. By using a canonical for a particular URL, you can tell the search engine which version of the URLs is most important for you. In the future, Google will only show a specific domain layout according to your instructions.

Canonical tags are very important as they prevent variations. Otherwise, there is a chance that you will compete against yourself within Google rankings. 

Schema

Schema markup is a joint work of Yahoo!, Google, Bing, and Yandex. Its main purpose was to create additional types of information for the search engines. In a way, Schema makes your snippets much richer and adds information to the basic title and meta description.

One of the better examples of Schema markup is the star ratings that you can put on almost anything. They are especially important for books, movies, and other types of products. They can also be used for restaurants, bars, museums, and other attractions.

While this markup has a wide variety of applications, it is best used for events, organizations, places, products, and creative work. These tags are specifically made for users, as a way of making their search journey and decision process a bit easier.

Conclusion

Google bot is very smart by itself. A lot of times it will pick content snippets and meta that it finds better suiting than the ones that you suggested.

That being said – the goal of on-page SEO is to make Google’s bot job easier and suggest the best possible description of the items that you have on the page. 

If you will properly apply the SEO HTML tags from this post, you will “help Google to help you”.

SEO HTML Tags FAQ

Why are HTML tags important?

They help search engine crawlers understand what content is on the page.

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