When speaking of HTML Tags and their relevance to SEO, we hear more and more that they are insignificant. This couldn’t be further than the truth and is a common misconception. This misconception of HTML tags probably stems from the rise and fall of the HTML META tag, which used to hold unprecedented weight in search engine indexing and now holds next to none (with some exceptions) due to HTML META tag abuse. There are many other tags that can be extremely useful. (As a side note, it appears MSN’s new search engine does give META tags some weight).
Furthermore, the <META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”> HTML tag can be extremely important if you do not want a page to be indexed. This HTML tag can be used to make sure your page is not causing a penalization to your website and also ensures that the links (sometimes to ‘untrusted’ sites) are not counted when weighing your site for page rank. On the subject of HTML META tags, the META DESCRIPTION tag can be very useful as many search engines include this short summary right on their SERP (search engine results page), giving the browser a better idea of what your site or page is about therefore potentially increasing traffic and almost certainly filtering low conversion traffic.
The <TITLE> tag may be the most important HTML tag on your website; adding a <TITLE> that utilizes targeted keywords from your keyword research is a must for any webpage. ALT tags for IMG tags are also important, and keywords can be used here as well. Running further down a typical HTML page, the <H#> tag help the spiders index your page and understand the content flow of your page. Using <H1> tag for broad topics and <H2> tag for sub topics not only helps the readability of your content, but helps with indexing as well. Apart from optimization, this is the proper and logical use of these HTML tags.
One area overlooked when it comes to code and tags is not ‘what tags work’ but what ‘code is unnecessary’. FLASH movies and their respective code are not easy for spiders to read. FRAMES are also not easily read by spiders and usually only the main frame is read – so all of your other content is disregarded – stay away from frames if possible. If you are unsure if your page uses frames, check for the <FRAMES> HTML tag. Believe it or not, load time has an effect on ranking. The faster your page load, the better chance you have of ranking. To have your page load faster, try and minimize your flash movies (indicated by the <FLASH> HTML Tag) and strip your code to the basics. As mentioned in our On Page Optimization article, getting rid of ‘cruft’ – excess superfluous or unnecessary code usually left behind by web authoring tools including some other HTML META Tags – can all help in load times and spider reading – and consequently indexing and ranking.
At Expert in SEO, we can help you convert, clean and optimize your website’s code. If you have questions about your project, feel free to contact us here.