These elements in the Periodic Table of SEO Factors encompass the HTML tags that you should be using to send clues to search engines about your content and enable that content to render quickly.
Are you describing movie showtimes? Do you have ratings and reviews on your e-commerce pages? What’s the headline of the article you’ve published? In every case, there’s a way to communicate this with HTML. The search engines are used by internet users when they are searching for something Complete SEO.
HTML Title Tag
Imagine that you wrote 100 different books but gave them all the same exact title. How would anyone understand that they are all about different topics?
Imagine that you wrote 100 different books, and while they did have different titles, the titles weren’t very descriptive maybe just a single word or two. Again, how would anyone know, at a glance, what the books were about?
HTML titles have always been and remain the most important HTML signal that search engines use to understand what a page is about. Bad titles on your pages are like having bad book titles in the examples above. In fact, if your HTML titles are deemed bad or not descriptive, Google changes them.
So think about what you hope each page will be found for, relying on the keyword research you’ve already performed. Then craft unique, descriptive titles for each of your pages. For more help about this, see our posts in the category below:
The Meta Description Tag
The meta description tag, one of the oldest supported HTML elements, allows you to suggest how you’d like your pages to be described in search listings. If the HTML title is the equivalent of a book title, the meta description is like the blurb on the back describing the book.
SEO purists will argue that the meta description tag isn’t a ranking factor and that it doesn’t actually help your pages rank higher. Rather, it’s a display factor, something that helps how you look if you appear in the top results due to other factors.
A meta description that contains the keywords searched for (in bold) may catch the user’s eye. A well-crafted meta description may help sell that result to the user. Both can result in additional clicks to your site. As such, it makes sense for the meta description tag to be counted as a success factor.
Be forewarned, having a meta description tag doesn’t guarantee that your description will actually get used. Search engines may create different descriptions based on what they believe is most relevant for a particular query. But having one increases the odds that what you prefer will appear. And it’s easy to do. So do it.
The following category takes a closer look at the meta description tag:
What if you could tell search engines what your content was about in their own language? Behind the scenes, sites can use specific markup (code) that makes it easy for search engines to understand the details of the page content and structure.
The result of structured data often translates into what Google calls a rich snippet, a search listing that has extra bells and whistles that make it more attractive and useful to users. The most common rich snippet you’re likely to encounter is reviews/ratings, which usually includes eye-catching stars.
While the use of structured data may not be a direct ranking factor, it is clearly a success factor. All things being equal, a listing with a rich snippet is likely to get more clicks than one without.
Headings are a hierarchical way to organize and identify key sections of your content. A page will typically have a headline. Behind the scenes, in the HTML code, the headline is wrapped in an H1 tag. This page has a headline and several sub-headings to break up the copy into sections. Those sub-headings use H2 tags, the next “level” down from H1 tags.
Wrapping your headings in header tags is what generates the special formatting. For example, the name of this section, “Hd: Headings” is wrapped in an H2 HTML tag, as follows:
“You have to first think about the experience of the user — how do headings improve it?” Hamlet Batista, CEO and founder of SEO platform RankSense, says. “If you just put a blurb of text from start to finish, it’s going to be very difficult for the user to read and follow it. That’s what the purpose of headings are: to make sure that you can quickly scan the page, understand what it is about and even know whether you want to spend the time to read it completely.”
Using multiple H1 tags (or none at all) is not going to trip up Google’s algorithms, Webmaster Trends Analyst John Muller has said. However, he also notes that having clear, semantic headings is useful for search engines to understand pages and makes your content more accessible to users.
“The main benefit for AMP is you get super fast pages,” says Eric Enge, general manager for consulting firm Perficient.
AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, is an open-source initiative backed by Google and aimed at enabling publishers to have quickly loading pages on mobile devices. Google officially integrated AMP listings into its mobile results in February 2016.
Google’s John Mueller has stated many times that AMP isn’t an official ranking factor. “But, page speed is,” notes Search Engine Land’s Greg Sterling.
“And, even though they said AMP isn’t a ranking factor, if you’re a news publisher, the only way you get into mobile News carousels — which is on the search results page in a prime location — is by using AMP,” Sterling adds. “And so, it’s not a ranking factor, but it privileges you on the page.”
AMP is not just for news publishers. “What you can get [even if you’re not a news publisher], is much higher user engagement with your page and higher engagement rates because your pages are super fast,” Enge points out, explaining that zippier pages may improve your mobile conversion rates.