The HTML (and the other web programming) you use to build your online platform is the key component when taking a focus on search engine optimization.
A well-developed site provides the groundwork for SEO – it:
- Ensures the site loads in a timely fashion
- Has intuitive usability
- Is structured to maximize interlinking
- Informs search engines and social platforms of meta data
- Allows for easy sharing to social networks
SEO is the staple business game-changer for online marketing according to Neil Patel. Once you have the foundation in place you can then begin using those strategies, like those suggested on his wonderful blog, to really maximize your total potential.
So what elements of the HTML should you focus on to start your SEO right?
- Structure – The HTML code needs to be squeaky clean; you should avoid adding any elements that aren’t required. The HTML should be there for the base while CSS and other Web programming will handle the most of the functionality. Semantic markup of your site is crucial in order it to be consistent among the various Web browsers but also so that search engines can easily scan and index your content.
- Headings, Tags, and Meta – These are starting to fall out of favor in terms of SEO but from a usability standpoint they really do matter. It doesn’t hurt to properly populate your headings, tags, and other metadata with information especially for those that may need to use text-to-speech programs to use your website. The correct use of HTML also comes into play when using canonical URLs, which will help reduce duplicate content and tell search engines which pages to correctly index.
- Sitemap – A well-structured website will naturally flow in the direction to take users to their desired content, product/service page, or to complete the checkout process. By taking a strong focus on the HTML and structure of the website you will create a hierarchy that is later beneficial to search rankings via sitemaps. The sitemap, being structured appropriately through the up-front work in the site development, will easily share what pages are most important to search engines which will help with rankings for their appropriate keywords.
- Microdata – Google, Yahoo, and Bing sponsor the use of Schema.org and their commitment to use structured data. Structured data leads to microdata which appears in search engines such as star ratings, displaying author information, and other forms of rich snippets including data for events, places, products, and media. Most of this information can be found on the Schema website though this guide to microdata is perfectly fine to understand the basics.
- Social – You want your website to be found and there’s no better way outside the search rankings than through social media. Social platforms will provide you with code to include on your website but at the cost that it may slow down the load time and performance. Understanding HTML will allow you to include these valuable social sharing tools without this hit to your website while continuing to provide a great user experience for visitors.
Many factors come into play with search engine optimization and HTML is the key component to starting it off right. Why spend thousands on advertising if the site visitors find is clunky, hard-to-use, and don’t allow them to easily convert on the offer? This is why you start with a strong foundation in HTML because all else relies on it.
You don’t have to be an expert at HTML to get it right. There are thousands of wonderfully coded templates that are semantic and pass the test. Otherwise, make it a point to your developer that the code is up-to-par for your needs. Now you’re set to maximize your efforts in SEO and all other strategies that come along with online marketing.