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Header tags

Nobody likes running into a wall of text.

Good formatting of your content helps improve the user experience of your website tremendously. It makes readers more willing to spend time to read your content and come back for more, which will ultimately signal your relevancy to search engines.

Proper use of header tags can help break up your content into sections that are easier to read and utilize.

It’s easy to insert header tags in WordPress to improve user experience and improve SEO ranking of your website.

Search Engine Tools

Geographic Target – If a given site targets users in a particular location, webmasters can provide Google with information that will help determine how that site appears in its country-specific search results, and also improve Google search results for geographic queries.

Preferred Domain – The preferred domain is the one that a webmaster would like used to index their site’s pages. If a webmaster specifies a preferred domain as www.example.com and Google finds a link to that site that is formatted as example.com, Google will treat that link as if it were pointing at www.example.com.

URL Parameters – You can indicate to Google information about each parameter on your site, such as “sort=price” and “sessionid=2“. This helps Google crawl your site more efficiently.

Crawl Rate – The crawl rate affects the speed (but not the frequency) of Googlebot’s requests during the crawl process.

Malware – Google will inform you if it has found any malware on your site. Malware creates a bad user experience, and hurts your rankings.

Crawl Errors – If Googlebot encounters significant errors while crawling your site, such as 404s, it will report these.

HTML Suggestions – Google looks for search engine-unfriendly HTML elements such as issues with meta descriptions and title tags.

Meta Tags Make Up

Meta tags were originally intended as a proxy for information about a website’s content. Several of the basic meta tags are listed below, along with a description of their use.

Meta Robots

The Meta Robots tag can be used to control search engine crawler activity (for all of the major engines) on a per-page level. There are several ways to use Meta Robots to control how search engines treat a page:

  • index/noindex tells the engines whether the page should be crawled and kept in the engines’ index for retrieval. If you opt to use “noindex,” the page will be excluded from the index. By default, search engines assume they can index all pages, so using the “index” value is generally unnecessary.
  • follow/nofollow tells the engines whether links on the page should be crawled. If you elect to employ “nofollow,” the engines will disregard the links on the page for discovery, ranking purposes, or both. By default, all pages are assumed to have the “follow” attribute.
  • noarchive is used to restrict search engines from saving a cached copy of the page. By default, the engines will maintain visible copies of all pages they have indexed, accessible to searchers through the cached link in the search results.
  • nosnippet informs the engines that they should refrain from displaying a descriptive block of text next to the page’s title and URL in the search results.
  • noodp/noydir are specialized tags telling the engines not to grab a descriptive snippet about a page from the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) or the Yahoo! Directory for display in the search results.

The X-Robots-Tag HTTP header directive also accomplishes these same objectives. This technique works especially well for content within non-HTML files, like images.

URL Construction Guidelines

Employ empathy

Place yourself in the mind of a user and look at your URL. If you can easily and accurately predict the content you’d expect to find on the page, your URL is appropriately descriptive. You don’t need to spell out every last detail in the URL, but a rough idea is a good starting point.

Shorter is better

While a descriptive URL is important, minimizing length and trailing slashes will make your URLs easier to copy and paste (into emails, blog posts, text messages, etc.) and will be fully visible in the search results.

Keyword use is important (but overuse is dangerous)

If your page is targeting a specific term or phrase, make sure to include it in the URL. However, don’t go overboard by trying to stuff in multiple keywords for SEO purposes; overuse will result in less usable URLs and can trip spam filters.

Go static

The best URLs are human-readable and without lots of parameters, numbers, and symbols. Using technologies like mod_rewrite for Apache and ISAPI_rewrite for Microsoft, you can easily transform dynamic URLs like this moz.com/blog?id=123 into a more readable static version like this: moz.com/blog/google-fresh-factor. Even single dynamic parameters in a URL can result in lower overall ranking and indexing.

Use hyphens to separate words

Not all web applications accurately interpret separators like underscores (_), plus signs (+), or spaces (%20), so instead use the hyphen character (-) to separate words in a URL, as in the “google-fresh-factor” URL example above.

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