SEO helps users find your website on search engines such as Google. It is important to build a site that is SEO friendly, scoring high points will make you the first few results on Google. HTML tags help search engines read your content correctly, by being able to identify what it is and how to categorize them. For example, if your H1 tag contains the words “Picking apples” and a user searches “apple picking near me”, your site may be among the first few sites to be shown on the results page. But hold on a second, what are HTML tags?
HTML tags are snippets of code that determine on web browsers how content will be displayed and formatted, or in this case how a search engine will crawl the site. Tags can be closed or unclosed, closed tags contain 3 sections: opening, content and closing.
So let’s get to it, here are the 7 HTML tags you need to know for SEO.
Title tags are used to display what is shown on SERP (search engine results page), this is one of the most important tags. Although title tags do not have to match the searched keywords in order for the site to appear in SERP, it is important to display your site title accurately for the human user.
A few other things to note:
Title tags should be placed inside the head element, and are closed tags:
The first 160 characters of the meta description tags are shown right below the title tag in SERP, oftentimes the keywords will be highlighted in the description if used. Google may not always pull from the meta description but instead, show pieces of your article/content that contains the keywords the user searched for.
Meta description tags should be placed inside the head element, and are unclosed tags:
Header tags are pieces of elements in a body that breaks down your content into sections, this makes it easier for the user to read and find the section that is relevant to what they are looking for. This is similar to writing titles and subheadings in articles. Oftentimes users will skim through your site, so it’s important to highlight the content/section that is relevant to what your user is looking for.
Header tags start from h1 – h6 and should be placed inside the body element and are closed tags:
NOTE: H1 should not be used more than once!
Images are important assets to add to your content to increase views. But unfortunately, search engines cannot view these images, so in order for them to crawl the images, alt tags are used to describe the image. Alt tags are also important for accessibility reasons, for users that are visually impaired they will be able to have alt tags read to them.
Alt tags are used inside img tags and img tags are placed inside the body element:
Anchor tags are hyperlinks that link one page to another. To build higher rankings in SEO, it’s a good idea to have internal links that link right back to your site and external links that are relevant to your content. Keep in mind if you link something that is irrelevant to your topic you will be penalized, to remedy this you can use the “rel=”unfollow” (see below for example).
Anchor tags are placed inside the body element and are closed tags:
Semantic tags can be a variety of tags, but all these tags have one thing in common, they are used to identify various components of the page. Semantic tags help search engines identify what your content is, and the importance of the content. They also help aid text-to-speech, for those who can’t visually read, it’s important they understand that the content being read to them is part of the nav or when a new section starts. Semantic tags can be and not limited to the following:
It’s no surprise almost half of the users are using their mobile devices. Search engines will look for sites that are responsive/mobile friendly and place those sites at the top of the search results. In order to signal search engines that your site is responsive, use this: