HTML tags are a very important element for SEO as they allow search engines to understand the context of a webpage.
Nowadays, you can easily edit some of these HTML elements using a plugin on popular content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla! and Magento, so it might not be quite obvious what exactly is getting changed when it comes to the actual HTML code of the page.
As an example – when you change the Page title or Page Description, you are in fact changing the meta title and description which is an element of HTML. The same is true when you use an editor (WYSIWYG or similar) and declare certain elements as H1, H2, H3 and so on.
If you view the code of the page, you will understand what I mean. A typical HTML structure of a page will look something like this.
Here are some of the most important HTML tags that you need to care about when it comes to your on-page SEO. Starting from the top of a page to the bottom
A meta title tag is the title of the HTML document. It is what you read on the top of the browser tab.
Think of it as a post-it note stuck on a file sitting in a filing cabinet drawer. What does the post-it tag do? Tell the user what the contents of the file are without the need to open the file.
You can also see the title as the headline to a search result.
And that is why crafting the right meta title is very important for SEO.
The right meta title will get you more clicks from the user and a higher CTR can potentially result in a better search position.
Some of the best practices for crafting a good meta title include:
- Following the word-limit (under 60 characters).
- Make it unique.
- Use actionable words e.g. buy now, call now, shop now.
- Use keywords in the copy.
A meta description is a HTML tag that summarises the content of the page. This is what gets displayed on the SERP result page under the heading.
Think of this as an introduction to the content of the page.
Some of the the best practices for crafting a good meta description include:
- You have 160 characters to play with.
- Avoid long sentences.
- Concentrate on points that users will have in mind while looking for a similar product or service.
Header tags are titles or subtitles that are used to break down the content of a page in order to make the content more legible to a user.
From an SEO point of view, header tags tell the search engine about the content of the page in terms of priority (H1>H3) and also can be used to add keywords on target pages.
Heading goes from H1 to H6 with h1 being the most important followed by the other. It is important to follow the hierarchy when using heading tags on a page.
Best practices for heading tags include:
- Breakdown the content in a logical manner. H1 to H6.
- Use keywords in the heading tags.
- Use them to answer questions for users in order to maximise the chances of appearing on featured snippets.
- H1 can only be used once.
- Make them short and meaningful
An Alt attribute is an HTML tag that allows you to attach text to an element that cannot otherwise be read by search engine spiders. The most common use of an alt attribute is to name images and files.
Some recommendations for alt tags include:
- Make them descriptive in line with what is being shown on an image.
- Use keywords but don’t stuff them.
- Make sure all your images have an Alt tag.
Tags for Outbound Links
When linking to other websites, in some cases, it is important to declare the relationship to the linking site. This can be done by simply adding a rel tag to hyperlink.
Search engines accept certain rel values such as sponsored, no-follow, canonical and ugc.
Sponsored tag is used for paid links, no-follow is used when you don’t want the juice from the link to flow through to your site or in other words you don’t want the search engines to associate your site with the linking site.
Canonical tags are used when similar content is published at two different URLs and allows the webmaster to declare which version is the original copy.
ugc links refer to user generated content and are used for comments within forums or on blogs that are open to the public.
Open Graph Meta Tags
Launched by Facebook in 2010, Open Graph Meta Tags is a way a webmaster can control the way a page is displayed on social media.
This information is a part of the html code and will include the title of the page, a description and an image, language and type, similar to a meta title and description that a search engine shows on the SERPs.