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Key Components of Web Page Optimization

Every web page has 5 basic components that are important to Google's bots and search engine users. These 5 components are as follows:

  • Title Tag
  • Meta Description Tag
  • Header Tags
  • Alt Tags
  • Text Copy

Title Tags announce your web page's purpose in a big, bold way!

To see what a title tag is, look up at the top of your browser. The title tag is in the very uppermost left of the screen, and the title tag of this page reads, 'Key Components of Web Page Optimization'. Anybody looking at this immediately gets the snapshot picture of what this page is going to be all about. In addition to this, the title tag gives the bots the same information, and it is very, very important.

Neglect of title tags remains prevalent on the Internet, even amongst paid designers and it is one bit of your code that you don't want to miss! Take the time to write each title tag individually, for each page of your website. Optimize your title tags so that they include your most important keyword phrase pertaining to that page. The keyword phrase in our title tag, above, is 'web page optimization'. If you're selling a Duracraft Ceiling Fan, that should be the title tag of that page. Don't use gimmicky words like #1 or 'really great'. Those aren't keywords. Keep the title tag keyword-focused and descriptive.

Are Meta Tags important or not?

Chances are, if you've been researching SEO for your small business web site, you have run into some controversy on this issue. Undereducated web designers may not know what meta tags are. Scamming SEO companies tell you SEO is all about stuffing meta tags full of keywords. Here is some straight talk on meta tags.

The two main meta tags most commonly used are the Meta Description and the Meta Keywords tags. These tags are generally found in the top portion of the code of a web page. We believe that the Meta Description tag is very important, and that the Meta Keywords tag is of very minor importance. The main thing for you to understand is that Meta Tags Have Nothing To Do With Search Engine Rankings.

If an SEO company approaches you and tells you Meta Tags improve your search engine rankings, say goodbye and hang up the phone. This misconception is like the calling card of a bad SEO company. Believe us on this! Yet, the meta description tag does serve an important role, when it comes to click through rate (the number of people who see your listing in the search engine results and click on it to visit your site). Because the search engines frequently use the meta description as the second line of text in your listing, having a well-written, compelling tag may lead more people to choose to click on your listing, instead of someone else's. The following example shows how Google has used the Title Tag and the Meta Description Tag to list our page for an Expert SEO Review:

Image of Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

The meta description reads, "Offering a quick, affordable and expert SEO review of your small business website". Sounds pretty good to me! It's clear and easy to understand, and contains important keywords in a natural manner. Google is currently ranking this page at #1 and lots of people must think it looks like a good page to visit, because we get lots of traffic to this. So, take the time to write individual meta description tags for each of your pages in hopes of making a good second-line sales pitch to the public.

It was once felt that the Meta Keywords Tag was a key component to search engine rankings. Whether this was ever true, it certainly no longer is, and spammy techniques of stuffing this tag full of every keyword known to man are now looked down upon. We know for a fact that some professional SEO companies are now no longer even using the meta keywords tag in their code. Others use this tag to list plurals of words (i.e. watch, watches, cow, cows, etc.). Or, we've seen some folks using it to list common misspellings of their keywords. For instance, if you sell wallpaper, and your keyword research leads you to the discovery that a lot of people searching for this product are spelling it 'walpaper', you might opt to include those misspellings in your meta keywords tag. At this point, Solas Web Design continues to use the Meta Keywords tag on the sites we build, but we never list more than a couple of keywords for any given page we build. They simply don't seem to make much difference, as far as we can tell.

Header Tags

When you were in school, no doubt you had to write essays that were broken down into sections by a title and subtitles. You may have started out with the title 'My Summer Vacation' and then had subtitles later on in your essay, such as 'We Visit the Grand Canyon', 'Our Ride on Pack Mules', 'Singing Around the Campfire'. These titles and subtitles served to break up your essay into smaller, meaningful chunks of information that prepare the reader for the main subject and each subsequent theme of the essay as the story moved along.

That is what header tags do, as well.

In the style of your website, you will be designating the font size of your header tags with the biggest being the H1 tag and then smaller tags being H2, H3, H4, etc. This guide does not intend to be a CSS tutorial, teaching you how to write these tags, but the basic principle is that header tags are used to emphasize the important main subject and then the sub-topics within that subject. The H1 tag on this page, up at the top, reads: Key Components of Web Page Optimization. That is the subject of this page, so that is its main header. If I wanted to break up the rest of the page using further, smaller header tags, I could move on to use H2, H3, H4, etc. tags for lesser sub-topics. Header tags enable both the human visitor and the search engine bot to clearly understand the focus of your page.

Alt tags have already beend discussed in the previous section of this guide, and that leaves us with text copy, which we will be moving on to next.

So, to recap the lessons you've learned here, you now know good SEO for your web pages requires that you individualize your title tags for each and every page to make the most of your important keywords. Good meta descriptions foster higher click through rates. And, good use of header tags will help to further clarify the focus of each page on your website. We are now ready to move on to one of the key aspects of creating web pages that are valued by the search engines: text content writing.

Next: Good web content makes the Googlebot your friend.

Return to the SEO Guide Outline.