One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “Are you an SEO Expert?”
When I talk with the asker a bit, usually what they want to know is, “Can you help my site get ranked higher in the search engines?”
You bet I can do that.
Did you know there is something you can do that will not only help with your search engine rankings but also help make your posts more readable for people at the same time?
There is a catch, though. To do this you have to learn a tiny amount about HTML coding. The good news is that it is pretty easy. So don’t panic. You can learn how quickly. Let’s dive in.
Very Basic HTML
Today we’re going to talk about HTML tags and one type of tag in particular.
Most all HTML tags follow a consistent format. Basically you put the tag inside the less than and greater than brackets like this <tag> so that you are telling the web browsers that look at your site start doing something.
You also have to close out the tag where you want that particular attribute to stop. Do this by using the same tag but with a slash in it like this </tag>. (You can tell when someone has forgotten to close out a tag because the text is bold or italics from that point to the end of the page and looks silly.)
Now there is no such HTML tag called “tag” so lets show how this works using a real tag.
When you are writing something in WordPress, say you want to make some text bold. You know that all you have to do is highlight the text you want an click the “B” button to make it bold.
If you click over to look at the code for that bold passage you will see that WordPress added this tag to your text. <strong> </strong>.
So this sentence
<strong>HTML tags are not so mysterious now.</strong>
Is displayed as
HTML tags are not so mysterious now.
Basic HTML tags are especially useful for formatting your text to make it more readable. When coupled with a good cascading style sheet (CSS) there are tons of things you can do.
One important note: You have to enter in your tags in the raw code entry field in WordPress and NOT with the visual editor. The visual editor is “what you see is what you get” and it will convert your tag to raw text so that it can display it the way you entered it in the window. If your tag shows through instead of changing the text you were trying to modify it is probably because you entered it using the visual tab. Just delete the gobbledygook using the code window and re-enter it again.
Now that we know how to use tags, let’s talk about improving SEO and readability. We can do this using header tags.
Header tags help break up your text into sections so they make the page easier to read for people. The search engines also like header tags because they look at them closely when they determine what is on that page. Combined that makes header tags a useful tool for improving our sites.
Here are the basic header tags:
And so on up to
Generally speaking the headers get smaller as the numbers get bigger, but that isn’t always the case. It depends on how the site’s cascading style sheet is set up.
It can get confusing because the size is determined by the style sheet which gives web designers all kinds of flexibility building sites.
For example, currently here on SuccessCREEations, the site title up top is actually surrounded by h2 tags even though it is bigger than the post titles which are in h1 tags.
You may have to experiment on your site a little to see which size works best. In my case I use h3 tags for post sub headers. So the code for the subheading above looks like this.
I type that into my code window and my style sheet sets the size and spacing for the header.
Use Header Tags Wisely
So now you have another tool in your arsenal to help improve your site’s SEO and make your site more readable at the same time.
Just one word of caution, like everything in this world it is possible to overdo your header tags. Don’t go too nuts with them or you will defeat the purpose all together.
Too many headers will make your site look fragmented and confusing. And the search engines just might penalize you for it too.
Go try it out on your site and let us know how it goes.