Content is still king!
Content is the compilation of a page’s customer facing text, images, video, links, and include a page’s non-user facing variables, such as open graph tags or meta tags, that are considered by a search engine when evaluating a page’s relevancy for a user’s search query.
- All pages should have at least 200 words of content that includes relevant keywords and phrases.
- Avoid hiding text. Text should never be positioned off screen or set to display:none without a way that it can be displayed by a visitor.
- Only use AJAX to improve functionality for users, don’t rely on it as a way of driving traffic from search engines. Do not use AJAX for navigational elements unless necessary to meet functional and/or specific business requirements that supersede discoverability requirements.
- Avoid placing text in images. Use text formatted with CSS, rather than including text in images.
The title of the page that appears in the browser window & typically the page link shown in search engine results.
<title>Acme Hardware: Quality stainless steel mails and tacks</title>
- Use unique <title> tags on each page.
- 60-65 characters – The first 65 characters are shown in search listings with subsequent characters truncated. Bing truncates at ~65, Google at ~70.
- The title should contain a product name or service & brand identifier, such as “-Acme Hardware”
- Avoid repeat words & place important keyword phrases first in the title followed by supporting keyword phrases.
- Top level pages should focus on broad keyword phrases that have the most traffic and most competitive
- Sub-pages should focus on keywords specific to the content on the page
Canonical Link Element
A canonical suggest the preferred single version of a set of pages with highly similar content. This set of pages may only vary by parameters or strings on the URI. A canonical can contain parameters that are required to properly render the page.
For: http://www.example.com/products/nails-and-tacks.aspx?source=1234&bfdcode=7654321, the canonical link element would be
<link rel=”canonical” href=” http://www.example.com/products/nails-and-tacks.aspx” />
- The canonical URL must be the intended resultant page
- There should be only one canonical linking element per page.
Meta Description Tag
This is the “description” that shows in Google & Bing results immediately under the page link search results. It must be Keyword centric & focused on page topic, promotion, details, etc.
<meta name=”description” content=”The Acme stainless steel nails and tack exceeds the most stringent quality assurance established by the industry, and provides the best value for commercial or home users.”/>
- All Meta Description tags must be unique per page
- Meta descriptions should range between 120-160 characters with some platforms requiring a maximum of 150 characters. The first 150 characters are shown in the search engine listing descriptions with subsequent characters truncated. Bing truncates at ~150-160, Google at ~170.
- Keyword centric, focusing on page topic or subject, promotion, product or service details, etc.
Written for human users in complete sentences with important keywords towards the beginning.
- Use all keyword phrases that are in the Title Tag, and add additional supporting keywords that are relevant.
- Should contain a product name or service & brand identifier, such as “from Microsoft” for branding and long tail queries
Page Header/Heading Tags
Necessary for query relevancy – Every page should contain a H1 tag that describes the contents of the page and includes the keywords users are likely searching for. Properly nested heading tags add a level of priority to on page content titles that help search engines refine the topic & keyword specifics of a page.
<h1>One per page! Each page should at minimum have an H1 heading tag</h1>
<h2>Represents the second most important. Should have few.</h2>
<h3>Represents the third most important. Can have many.</h3>
- All pages should have only one <H1> tag
- Pages can have several supporting (<H2>, <H3>, <H4>, etc.) tags, as they still lend keyword richness to the search engines
Images, pdf, media & ALT Tags
<img src=”http://www.e2ideas.com/images/big-cute-dog.gif” alt=”relevant text that describes this image”>
- All <img> elements should have consistent alt= attributes not exceeding 150 characters
- ALT tags are required for Accessibility and 508 compliance, and are required on all images across the site
- Keep ALT tags to less than 16 words. Do not stuff ALT tags with keywords, just use enough words to effectively describe the image. Specify image dimensions in the HTML to speed page rendering times.
- Use ALT to describe only images that need to be described. Icons, spacer images and lines do not necessarily need to have ALT information because they do not add any meaning to the page.
- If you are automating ALT tags, use a short phrase, such as the name of the product plus additional keywords for the main image on the page or the image of that product.
- If text is used in the image, include the text in the ALT tag. Add relevant keywords to supplement text in the image.
- Logos should be implemented with an <img> element including an Alt tag.
- ALT tags also aid in bookmarking for social media websites
Meta Keyword Tag
Google no longer places value on the meta keywords tag, and has not since 2009. This tag has noted low value on Yahoo & Bing. Meta Keyword tags are still being used by Yandex and Baidu. The Meta Keyword tag is recommended for internal site search & internal optimization tracking. Since the Meta Keyword tag is still valued on international search engines it is recommended to include them to help with international rankings
<meta name=”keywords” content=”Acme Hardware page relevant keywords” />
- 3-7 keywords or key phrases
- Specific to topic, keywords and keyword phrases targeted for a page including relevant keywords that were used in the Title, Meta Description and used in the page content. Both Google and Bing have confirmed that, if you spam the Meta keywords tag, they could penalize your site
- List the most relevant phrases first in a comma separated list within the tag
- End keywords with top level broad branding – “Acme Hardware, Hardware, Etc.”