With over 10 billion web pages on the internet, and with 70% of all buyers researching on the internet before they buy, it makes sense for a small business to make their website “search engine friendly” as a key first step to improved traffic and business opportunities.
There are a number of web page elements that help search engines determine whether your web page is relevant for the topic/service/product you are writing about.
Because the web page-seeking programs run by search engine companies (spiders, spider bots) can only understand text elements, it’s important to take a look at all the ways text is used in a page.
1) Webpage URL (URLs=Universal Resource Locators)
The first URL a spider sees is the name you have given your website i.e. www,yourwebsite,com. Many companies use their company name (www.digitaljunkies.com) because it is part of their brand. Other companies will include a name that describes the business such as Digital Marketing Gold Coast, as they target the service with the location.
Beyond the home page, the spider follows the links to the other pages in your site. This is a great opportunity to use creativity in naming your other web pages by using words that describe aspects of your business.
Example: if your business is about chocolate and your name is Carol, rather than have your page link “about us” go to a page URL “about-us.html”, you could use “about-chocolate-lover-Carol.html” as the link destination, and you have now used a key descriptor for your business “chocolate” built into the webpage address, something that the search engine will read and document.
2) Page Titles
The Page Title is the string of text that headlines the webpage in the search results and becomes the name shown in your web browser tab once you’ve clicked through to the page.
If you decide to bookmark the page for future reference, this is the descriptor that will be used when bookmarking the link.
The title of the page is your first opportunity to convince the person scanning the search results that your page is relevant to what they are looking for.
By way of example, if you are selling Digital Marketing or SEO Services in Gold coast, then a Page Title might be:
“Seo Gold Coast by Digital Junkies”
3) Page Description
This is the sentence of text (about 20-25 words, 200 characters) that appears below your Page Title in the search results. If the Page Title attracted attention, then the Page Description represents your opportunity to convince the person that clicking on your link will give them the information they seek.
Following along on the real estate example, a Page Description might be:
“Luxury three bedroom homes in Toronto. We are your best resource to find those real estate listings that fit your home buying needs, with access to competitive mortgages to help you secure financing.”
Combining the above examples (for someone searching for “real estate Toronto” in a search engine) would have a search result similar to this:
Toronto Homes for Sale by ABC Real Estate
Luxury three-bedroom homes in Toronto. We are your best resource to find those real estate listings that fit your home buying needs
These are the titles of paragraphs, tables and lists, usually formatted differently than the detailed information content. Often fonts are used that are larger, colored, bolded or italicized or even a different style of font.
5) Text Content
This is the actual readable content that is (hopefully) providing your visitor with the information they seek.
6) Graphic Content
Images such as pictures, logos, charts are objects that search engines cannot decipher for content – if the graphic contains text as part of its image, the text will not be recognized.
There are two ways to add information so that a graphic contributes meaning:
Rather than calling a picture of house “image1.pg”, make the name of the picture descriptive i.e. “3-bedroom-bungalow-in-toronto-ontario.jpg” would add relevancy to a real estate web page.
Graphic objects can have a text attribute – the “Alt Tag” whereby text can be attached to the image – hovering your mouse above a picture will usually result in a text box popping up – this is the information entered into the Alt tag during web page setup.
With respect to points 4, 5 and 6 above, here’s what Google has to say:
Our search engine analyzes page content Our system, on the other hand, analyses the complete content of a page, taking into account fonts, subdivisions, and the specific location of each word, rather than merely scanning for page-based text (which can be modified by site publishers using meta-tags). We also look at the content of nearby web pages to make sure the results are the most relevant to the user’s query. Knowing how search engines look at your web pages is a huge step forward. Deciding what it is you want to be discovered for is a topic best left for an article on keywords.