Every quality SEO campaign setup should start with a thorough analysis of the website’s code.  The reason for the code analysis is two fold: 1.) make sure a search engine crawler can make it through the page and find the pertinent content, and 2.) make sure that a search engine crawler best understands the pertinent keywords of each page.

While the search engine crawlers appear to be very smart in understanding a website, they still make mistakes.  That’s why we like to take the guess work out of it.  To do so, I put together a list of three important attributes that influence the search engine’s understanding of your web page.

Title Tag

A web page’s title tag is arguably one of the most important elements on the page.  The title tags are important for two reasons, 1.) When a search engine crawler finds your web page, the title tag is your first opportunity to set the crawler’s expectation of the web site’s content, and 2.) The title tag is displayed in Google, Yahoo, and Bing’s search results as the link a user can click on to visit your site.

Here’s what a title tag looks like in a website’s code:

Title Tags


Here’s what the title tags look like in your browser:




Here’s what the title tag and meta description look like in Google:

titletag-search result




It is important to note, that a recent study by SEOmoz found that keyword use anywhere in the title tag played a significant role in a website ranking for a keyword term.  The most effective placement for a keyword phrase in a title was in the beginning of the tag.  This tells us that when placing the keyword in the title tag the location of that keyword is important, but it is more important to get the pertinent keyword into the title tag.

Meta Description Tag

A meta description tag is code in the head of your website which you can use to offer a description of your web page to search engine crawlers.

Here’s what a meta description tag looks like in the source code of a website:




Search engines tend to use this description in their results when showing your page.  While the tag does not appear to play the largest part in a search engine’s ranking factor, choosing the description of your page to be shown versus a search engine crawler guessing what should be shown, is important in itself.  A good description is generally about 150-200 characters long.  Search engines may not show the entire meta description, however an excerpt of a good description can be used to qualify a visitor before he/she clicks on the page.  By qualifying the visitors in advance, you are helping to make sure those who reach your page are truly interested in what you offer or have to say.

H1 Headline Tag

An H1 headline tag has been found to play a significant role in search.  An H1 tag should be used to accurately describe the content of the page in just a few keywords.  If you have a web page with content about “Decks”, you want to have your H1 tag say just that “Decks”.

Here’s what an H1 tag looks like in your website’s source code:



When it comes to H1 tags, keeping it simple and concise is the best way to go.  Stuffing extra words between those tags will only lead to the possible confusion of the search engine crawlers.

~Ben Herman