Did you know that even the way you structure your HTML code has a dramatic effect on how well the search engines will rank your site? It’s true. HTML, while fairly simple, can be just complex enough to hinder your ability to rank on the keywords you desire. Everything from the type of tags you use, to where you place your code, can put you either higher up the ranking ladder or lower down. Use these tips to SEO your HTML, and ease out in front of the competition.
Nix The Extraneous Code
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to take out the trash. I am sure all of you hardcore HTML coders are saying “but Ted, there is no trash in my code”. To put it bluntly, yes there is. What’s worse, it is actually hindering your ability to rank high on the search engines. Remember, it’s about keyword density, and extra cyber cans and bottles laying around in your code will kill that density. So remember this: Less is more, and the cleaner the code, the better.
Know How the Spiders Read
No, I’m not talking about Charlotte, or Peter Parker here. I’m talking about those illustrious agents of the BSE, spiders! These guys crawl from top to bottom. Some of them also have a limited amount of kilobytes they will read, so you must prioritize all of your content. If it is important, put it at the top. For instance, make sure your menus are at the top of the source code for that page. No menu will ever be big enough to keep at least some of your content from being read. However, if you have a plethora of content on a page it could easily keep the menu from being read. I don’t know about you, but if I am out at a restaurant and can’t read the menu, I am probably going to move on very quickly, or not return to that restaurant. The spiders and robots will do the same thing. You want them to see your menu so they will bore deeper into your site and more of it will get indexed. So put all of the things you want the spider to see the most at the top of your source code.
Think about your off-page SEO as well
The spiders and robots, and crawlers are not the only things to think about when it comes to your HTML code. You also want to think about Average Joe who comes to use your site. If you make the site clean, cross-browser compatible, accessible and quick loading, he will be more likely to come back, and to recommend the site to his friends or link to your site. One quick note: There is a nasty rumor that all of your code must be validated or you risk penalty from Google and other search engines. This is simply not true. However, validated code is a benefit for all of the reasons mentioned above.
So now you have a deeper understanding of how your source code structure can affect your SEO. It’s not just about H1 and TITLE tags. I encourage you to look at your source code and see how it can be cleaned up. Then you will be on your way to better rankings, more traffic, and more revenue. What could be better than that?