When creating your pages, you should take into account several aspects of both your content and your HTML coding. For starters, web pages have a <title> tag, meta “description” and “keywords” tags, and page headings, such as <h1>this is a heading </h1> ( heading tags are usually h1 thru h5). All this HTML (the title, meta tags, and headings) should be tied together in the best way possible, including the actual filename of your webpage. Search engines value webpage’s that accurately reflect in their headings, titles, filenames, and meta tags, the actual content that resides on the page itself. Whatever information you place in your HTML should reflect as closely as possible your actual pages content. If not, then you will lose impressions of your pages. Search engines have several typical ways of returning content depending on a users search query. Some of these ways are, by displaying information that is relative to a search query, or providing exact results, such as matching a search query to an actual phrase found in a document. Also, use proper headings, such as h1, h2, etc. Google and other search engines tend to look at headings and titles as being an important part of any document, in this case, a webpage. Also, keep your page titles short but descriptive, since search engines like to show a pages title in their results pages.
Your websites content is really just as important as its presentation of code (HTML, etc.) Google made many changes over this past year with respect to how they grade your webpage’s and overall site content. One of those changes is the quality of your actual content, not your code! As said before, use proper headings, also, is your content readable, and does it make sense to others? Are you using proper grammar in your pages? If not, you are going to have problems. The internet is not a forgiving place for the illiterate. Nobody’s perfect, I for one am not an English professor, and would never claim to be, but you need to take the time to look over your content. Don’t just write an article and post it! Write out an article, edit it, re-read, and then edit it again. Just do your best to make your sites content as simple as possible for others to comprehend. Pages full of misspelled words that make no sense, and discuss content that is entirely unrelated from paragraph to paragraph, is largely frowned upon by search engines. Search engines have algorithms in place right now that will easily detect the improper structure of code, poor grammar, or unrelated topics scrawled allover a webpage, and effectively give you a negative grade.
Here’s a few more notes about good web design coding practices. If you are displaying images in your pages, use an “alt” tag to provide additional information about your image. This is really important because, believe it or not, many people are visually, mentally, or physically impaired in some form of another, and you need to take into account how they, just as any other user, will access and interpret your information. Also, it’s actually federal law! You are required by U.S law to include alt tags in your web pages for this very reason. I found this out only recently myself. Infact web designers are required by U.S federal law to make the content they produce accessible to the disabled.
Ex: <img src=”example-image.png” alt=”info about your image file” />
You can also provide additional information about the contents of elements or links in your HTML by including a “title” tag that provides additional information about a link, an elements content, etc. When someone hover’s their mouse cursor over that particular link or element, a “tool tip” appears citing the additional information that you included. Also, including extra information with a “title” tag helps to give search engines more information about your content as well.
Ex: <a href=”css-positioning-tutorial.html” target=”_self” title=”Learn how to position elements using absolute positioning”>CSS Positioning Tutorial</a>
If you are using buttons for links, such as:
<a href="index.html"><img src="home-page-button.jpg" /></a>
Then you should definitely include an alt tag, and a title tag wouldnt hurt either, such as this:
<a href="index.html" title="home page"><img src="home-page-button.jpg" alt="site home"/></a>
If your site has dynamic URL's like "all%20%poemranians%20%main.html", or you are incorporating flash buttons as links on your site, then you you should definitely use alt and title tags throughout your site. And, in special cases such as the issues we just mentioned, it may make sense to submit an XML site map to search engines. This will help crawlers to find links within your site and index them properly. If you are using text links, then a site map means nothing, honestly, and you don't need it.Continue to Part 7