6 HTML tweaks that can boost your search visibility

You've built a great looking website, but how do you attract visitors? These simple HTML tweaks will help.

You spend hours on your business’s website, making sure visitors can find the information they need to make a buying decision. But in recent years, most marketers have realized that a well-crafted website is only one part of online marketing. If customers can’t find your page, you’ll never convince them to buy from you.

At one time, businesses offloaded their website design to professional firms, who charged a lump sum for a design that mostly remained stagnant for years. However, today’s do-it-yourself options allow brands to create a website in a matter of minutes, tweaking it on a whim. With these tools come a few complications, since businesses don’t have access to the expert skills of a dedicated website designer.

But you don’t have to be an expert to win over Google’s algorithms. Here are a few small things you can insert into the HTML code of your sites to beat the competition in customer searches.

Title tag

Your page’s title tag is an essential part of ranking and reaching customers. Each page should have its own tag and, if possible, it should include words customers are most likely to enter in search boxes. If you sell dog collars, for instance, the words “dog collars” should appear in your title, whether or not you use your business name as the title. Try to keep your title tag as brief as possible, realizing that search engines will truncate the title if it exceeds a certain number of characters.

Page description

From the outset, you should have an accurate, informative description of your page. This is often the snippet you’ll see in search results and for some customers, it will be the sole determining factor in whether they click over to read more. Instead of focusing on cramming key phrases into this description, take the perspective of a potential customer and consider what selling points you need to include to convince them to learn more about what you offer.

Charset

Short for “character set,” charset refers to the character encoding in an HTML document. By specifying your charset in your header, you give the algorithms vital information on the character set you’re using to code your website. Does your charset matter for SEO? If you want your text to display properly in Google’s search results, it does. Google recommends Unicode/UTF-8 if possible, but it’s most important to ensure your charset code is encapsulated in quotes. Otherwise, Google’s algorithms may make a mistake in cataloging a site.

Rich snippets

One way to gain an edge over the competition is through the use of rich snippets, which place information directly beneath the page title but above the snippet that includes your page description. Rich snippets can include a product’s star ratings, special offers, product availability, or other specific information. You don’t need a professional developer to insert this code into your HTML. Instructions for various types of rich snippets is available here.

Header tags

Those headers that neatly divide sections in the articles you read have a secondary purpose. They give algorithms more information on the subject matter of the text on a page. Simply bolding the text isn’t enough, though. You’ll need to use header tags on each blog post or article to identify them as such. If you use a blogging platform, header tags are a formatting tag, but you can easy add them manually with <h2></h2> tags.

Image tags

Today’s websites are filled with images, but that can be challenging for algorithms, which are programmed to read text. You can fix this by including HTML tags for each of your images that describe the nature of the picture. This is especially true if images showcase the products your business sells. Image tags bring the added benefit of helping the screen readers used by hearing impaired website visitors translate images. This could lead to more sales, in addition to the customers you’ll be reaching by ranking well in search results.

High-quality content and regular updates can ensure your page remains visible in search rankings for your key topic areas. However, a few small HTML adjustments can boost your visibility without having to do a great deal of work on your content. Businesses should continue to monitor SEO algorithm changes to ensure their tags are optimized to meet current requirements.

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