Hypertext Markup Language or HTML has been the main language of the Internet since it began. It is easy to code in HTML and any designer can have a web page in a matter of minutes. However because it is so easy to code in this language, it is also easy to create pages in such away that they are detrimental to search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. So by following accepted practices of HTML design with regard to standards and optimization, you can achieve an attractive website for both the viewer and the search engine crawler. Here are a few of these accepted practices to help design SEO-friendly pages.

Use CSS (Custom Style Sheets) to separate layout directives from content. Search engine crawlers are not evaluating the layout of your page. They are mainly looking at your content and links. In the early days of web design, the HTML <table> markup was used to do the page layout. Typically, in those days, changing a page’s layout was tedious—especially if multiple pages needed changing. Nowadays, the web designer can put all of the layout directives in the CSS file and place only the content in the HTML file. This allows a search engine crawler to immediately read and evaluate the content for indexing.

Where you place the keywords in your HTML document is important for successful SEO. Keywords have the most impact when they are part of several important places in an HTML document. Places of importance where keywords should go include the <title> (page title), <H1> (heading), and <alt> (image alternate text) tags. Additionally, keywords are significant for successful SEO if they are part of the URL. Link anchor text is also another important place for keywords. And finally, keywords placed towards the beginning of your content are more likely to be picked up than keywords at the end.

Try not to use Javascript inside of the HTML file. In fact, it is recommended that you try as much as possible to replace Javascript with equivalent CSS directives. For example, the Javascript hovering effect can be replaced through CSS. But regardless of what language you choose for coding the various effects, it should be kept out of the HTML file because doing so only complicates the reading process for the search engine crawler.

Avoid using transparent characters inside of your HTML code. What is meant by transparent characters? Usually they are keywords that are rendered with the same font color as the background in attempt to grab the search engine crawler’s attention while appearing invisible in the browser. This is easily done in HTML but it is what is known as Black Hat SEO and the website in violation could get a penalty from a search engine such as Google which ultimately results in delays for indexing.

HTML code always should be validated. There are several free HTML validation tools plus the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has its public version. W3C is an organization that sets standards for HTML programming practices. Validation of HTML is important for SEO because you don’t want HTML errors interfering with the efficient reading of your code by search engine crawlers. Browsers can compensate for many HTML errors unbeknownst to the user however with search engine crawlers error compensation might affect indexing.

Your HTML pages should always contain META description tags. However, META keywords tags are not as significant to search engine crawlers as they used to be. This is because in the early days, search optimization specialists would oftentimes try to stuff the META keywords tag with keywords and attempt to gain an unfair advantage. Thus, search engines like Google reduced the impact they have on indexing. In fact, Google actually ignores the META keywords tag and you can reasonably assume that many others do too. But the META description tag is still important because the text of it will show up in the search engine results page (SERP).

Post to Twitter

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.