You published your content online, now what? One of the essential parts of publishing content on the web is to make it accessible to users. About 93% of online experiences start from a search engine. The premise behind any website is to drive traffic, isn’t it? Among the best ways to engage an audience is through using HTML tags for SEO. In fact, search engine visibility can be vastly improved by adding SEO tags in HTML.
These little codes or snippets of coding play a crucial role in not only making your content visible on search engines, but also in your website’s overall success.
What Are HTML Tags for SEO?
At its root, HTML is related to documents of web pages. The idea behind HTML tags is to tell browsers which elements the web pages contain and which particular ones need to be displayed on the screen. In simpler terms, as a human, people see sections, subheadings, images, and links on a web page. While these web elements are visible to users, HTML tags are invisible to them.
HTML tags basically provide data about your page to search engines. They tell the search engines how to properly “read” your content and help them understand what your content is about. HTML tags for SEO highlight the most important parts of your page to let it stand out in the SERPs that are meant to allow users to encounter your content on the internet. In short, HTML tags for SEO affect how your website performs on the internet.
Here is what Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager of Bing has to say about SEO –
“On a broad scale, I see SEO becoming a normalized marketing tactic, the same way TV, radio, and print are traditionally thought of as marketing tactics.” Hence, you need to build your site by keeping SEO in mind.
Do HTML Tags Still Matter in 2020?
Although their influence of search engine rankings has been decreasing lately, HTML tags are undoubtedly still relevant in 2020. HTML tags provide better navigation and best match with queries of users. They find the most important parts of the site to emphasize or which parts to overlook. Plus, HTML tags for SEO make SERP snippets look more attractive and informative. Without these tags, you are far less likely to really connect with your audience.
As the search engines have gotten smarter at reading and interpreting data over the years, arbitrarily using all kinds of tags to manipulate search engine rankings has become an obsolete method of generating online traffic. However, by using new tags and new ways of organizing data, and by changing the approach a bit, you can make great use of both old and new HTML tags for SEO.
Let’s dive into the various types of tags and check out their SEO importance.
Important HTML Tags for SEO
Every result that is seen in a search engine, whether it be Bing or Google, is derived from the title tag, making it one of the most important HTML tags for SEO. The title tag must relate to the article title. Moreover, it is advisable to keep it under 70 characters long, or else it may be cut short in SERPs. Refrain from stuffing your titles with a million keywords and using them closer to the beginning of the title.
For example, using the title, “5 ways to do laundry” and then changing the title tag to: “<title>5 Reasons to not do laundry</title>” would result in confusion. A person looking for ways to do laundry would surely skip content that would be presented like this.
Instead, using “<title>5 ways to do laundry in 2020</title>” would let people know that the ways are up to date for 2020.
HTML titles have traditionally been and are still to this day the most important HTML signal that search engines use to understand web pages.
Provide each page with a unique title that describes the page’s content not only concisely but accurately as well.
Use maximum 50-60 characters for the titles so that they don’t get truncated in SERPs.
Place important keywords first but in a natural manner.
Mention your brand name in titles.
Meta Description Tag
One of the oldest supported HTML elements, the meta description tag allows you to suggest how you’d like your content to be described in search listings. It is another vital HTML tag for SEO. Like titles, this information is also displayed in the search results. The meta description tag also gives your viewers a gist of what your content is about.
It occupies the most substantial part of a SERP snippet and promises a clear and comprehensive solution to their query. This is a golden opportunity for searchers to click on your site.
The meta description HTML tag for SEO is placed inside the <head> container. It includes keywords, page description, indexing rules, and other data. A well-crafted meta description may help “sell” that result to the user.
Have a unique meta description for each page that clearly reflects what value the page carries.
Google’s snippets typically max out around 150-160 characters (including spaces). Hence, the recommended length of the meta description is 70-200 characters, which is 400 to 930 pixels.
Include your most significant keywords. However, you should not overuse them.
Use an eye-catchy call-to-action additional hint on what to expect.
Popular digital marketer Neil Patel gives a very good example of how to use this tag. He writes, “say, for example, that you use the phrase “digital marketing” in your title tag, but only use the phrase “SEO” in your meta description. Search engines will rank you lower because they can’t determine what the content is specifically discussing.”
HTML meta tags SEO example: <meta name=”description” content=”HTML tags for SEO”>
Here is Google’s take on how much time you should spend on meta tags and which ones actually matter.
The Header Tags
Header tags are meant to break down information in an article to make reader-friendly. The fact is about 55% of visitors will only spend no longer than 15 seconds skimming your content. Here are all the header tags:
<h1></h1> – reserved for web page titles.
<h2></h2> – used for the topic of the title.
<h3></h3> – reflects points.
<h4></h4> – sub-points of <h3>.
<h5></h5> – not often used, but can be used for supporting points of <h4>.
Search engines also use header tags to determine segments of content and create featured rich snippets. Hence, these are important HTML tags for SEO as well.
The <img> Tag
You can get up to 94% more views if you use graphics in your articles. And, to help search engines find these graphics, you need this important HTML tag for SEO. The <img> tag exists on any page that contains an image. It displays images in PNG, JPEG, or GIF formats. Images can also be added in the form of a link to another file. It has three attributes:
The src attribute describes the URL of the image.
The alt attribute clarifies the image’s alternate text if it cannot be viewed for some reason.
The title attribute describes the image’s content.
It also provides context since search engines cannot see images. Hence, you should always do your best to optimize the most prominent images that are likely to show up in Google images search.
Structure of the <img> tag: <img src=”image.jpg” alt=”Rayban sunglasses on beach” title=”Sunglasses”>
The <a> Tag
Without the anchor text tag, it is impossible to create links in HTML files. The href attribute describes the URL of the page that the link goes out to. The hreflang attribute of the <a> tag defines the language of the document in the link, making it an essential HTML tag for SEO.
For example: <a href=”URL”>The link</a>
<a href=”URL”>The link to the Hindi version is here</a>
Open Graph Tags
Open graph tags boost search and display abilities for social media. For instance, social media sites like Facebook will use an open graph to display information if your content is shared. Hence, this is an important HTML tag for SEO, as well as for social media.
For example: <meta name=”og:title” property=”og:title” content=”Article Title”>
Here, Facebook will pull the title directly from this tag if the article is shared on social media.
Open graph supports descriptions and images as well. It comes in handy when you are trying to target a specific set of users on search engines and another set of users on social media as it allows you to have one meta description for social media and another for search engines.
The recommended resolution for the open graph image is 1200×627 pixels, the size — up to 5M.
The Twitter Card Tags
The Twitter card tags are like open graph tags, except they are only for Twitter. The social media site has its own platform called cards. Twitter cards can include images, video players, titles, site names, and even the author of the article. It is one of the most important HTML tags for SEO for social media.
For example: <meta name=”twitter:card” content=”Article summary”>
If a user forgets to add a part of the Twitter card, he/she does not need to worry. Twitter will fall back on open graph tags in the event that it cannot find specific information. However, if you need to target specific users on Twitter, then customizing this tag is ideal.
The <i>, <b>, and <q> Tags
These tags are responsible for making text bold, italic, underline, etc. It can be quite handy when you need to highlight an important part of the text, both for readers and search engines. These are not only important HTML tags for SEO but help your target demographic, too.
<i>Is used for italicized text</i>
<b>Is used to make the text bold</b>
<q>Highlights a quote in the text</q>
One should steer clear of excessive use and only use these tags where it really makes sense. See a piece of content as a whole, to make sure it isn’t overloaded with accents.
The robots tag is an important HTML tag for SEO as it helps you to prevent particular articles from being indexed. These tags can stop crawlers from sites like Google from accessing the content. Use case: You created a post for your readers, but it lacks in terms of real quality value.
You should close unnecessary/unfinished pages with thin content. These pages have little value and no intent to appear in the SERPs.
Structure: <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”>
Here, “noindex” is used not to index the content of the page. And, “nofollow” is used not to follow any links from the page, and also do not take link juice into account when calculating rankings.
The <ul>, <ol> and <li> Tags
<ul> tag: defines an unordered (bulleted) list.
<ol> tag: defines an ordered list.
<li> tag: specifies the value of a list item, where each element in the list must begin with the <li> tag.
<li>One more list item</li>
<li>One more list item</li>
When you have some pages with identical content, you can use a canonical tag to tell the search engines which particular page out of the similar ones should be prioritized. Moreover, this HTML tag for SEO shows them that such pages are not duplicate content.
Structure: <link href=”URL” rel=”canonical”>
Increase Traffic With HTML SEO Tags
These days writing awesome content is not enough – you need to make it visible on search engines. The HTML tags for SEO mentioned above will help you grab the attention of your visitors as well as rank on search engines. In view of the amount of competition on the internet, you need to make use of the advantages you have by strategically using all the HTML tags for SEO.