HTML Coding and On-Page Search Engine Optimisation

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Use Meta Tags and Header Tags combined with Bolded and Italic Text to add structure and degrees of importance to your page content

Meta Title Tags

In other sections of this website, we have spoken in brief about Meta Title Tags.

This, coupled with well researched content, is the most important 'On Page' factor for productive Search Engine Optimisation. Below are the guides to improve your rankings.

Priority one, is to ensure that your Meta Title is a short title about the main topic of the page. Try to be unique. This will be much tougher in some industries. Ensure that your Title Tag is 'echoed' with the 'Page Name' and the 'H1 Tag'.

The amount of characters for a Title Tag does not want to exceed 70. Anything over this amount will likely as not yield a truncated display in the SERP.

Some search engines use even less, 60 characters, so ensure the main key phrases are inside the first 60 to ensure a truncated title in a SERP still has good impact.

Write readable and to the point Titles for each and every page. Repeating the same Title on every page will work against you and the search engines will almost certainly create their own title from other content on your page. Even text displayed in your menu text. This might result in entirely the wrong result as far as you're concerned.

Above all, take the time to write a good page title and to not something like 'Home Page'. Even your 'Contact Us Page' should have something like 'Contact Us about CMS Web Design | Graphic & Logo Design'. Your Contact page will get listed and could be the 'Landing Page' of a visitor, so create a good reason for them to visit other pages. Makes good sense doesn't it...

Meta Description Tags

Second only to the Title Tag, the Meta Description provides that little snippet of information displayed in the SERP (search engine result page). As a rule, it reflects the first paragraph or two of text on the page.

The Description really does need to be what it says it is... A description of the page content. It must be readable. The description displayed in the SERP is only two or three lines of text, so it's very important to ensure your first paragraph or two of text does not exceed what would be displayed in the SERP.

So how long a description should you write? Google will include approx 160 characters including spaces and punctuation. Yahoo approx 165 whilst MSN will increase to over 200 characters.

In our opinion, it's a good idea to write a description between 160 and 200 characters long. Make sure the juicier stuff is in the first 160. Anything else that is included in the SERP is a bonus.

H is for Headers

The H Tags are multi-functional. They add formatting to important page headers making your page easier to understand. Also, the H tags add a hierarchical structure for the Search Engines.

There are six types of H Tag: H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 & H6. The H1 Tag should always be the Page Header and should also be the same text as the Title Tag.

Only use ONE H1 Tag per page. The H2 Tags can then be used once, twice or even three times to add definition and importance to Page Section Headers and the other H3 to H6 in a lesser importance order as required.

When it became fairly common knowledge amongst web designers that the H Tags help greatly in SEO. Many designers made the huge mistake of writing entire paragraphs in the H Tags, particularly the H1. Stuffing an H1 Tag with a large paragraph not only makes your page look awful, it's seriously frowned upon by the  search engines and could have drastic effects on your ranking.

Bold and Emphasize

Page headers and sub headers us the H Tags. If you need to add emphasis to text within a paragraph without formatting the entire passage of text the same way. Use Bold or Italics just like you would in a word processing document.

For example, this passage of text has the words Bold Text written in Bold and the words Italic Text written in Italics.

It creates focus and adds to the page structure. Also, weight is added to the search engines listing of your indexed pages. The SE's read the <b>Bold</b> and <em>Italics</em> tags in much the same way a visitor to the page would.

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