Do you remember what Facebook looked like in 2010? How about Amazon? The look and layout of websites have evolved a lot over the last couple of years and so has HTML SEO.
A lot of previously sweared-by SEO and keyword tactics have grown outdated. Using them may not only waste your time, but it may also hold you (and your SEO results) back.
To make sure you’re doing all the right things to help you succeed in 2018, let’s take a look at some of the HTML SEO best practices you need to do today.
HTML SEO: What Not to Do
Before we build the new habits, let’s get rid of the old ones.
Google has become more intuitive to how people are searching for things. For example, we’re seeing far more weight being given to longtail keywords.
This means people are searching for complete questions, and expecting complete answers. “How can I find a divorce lawyer” instead of “best divorce lawyer Chicago.”
This means 2 old school SEO tactics are now out the window:
Exact match keywords
Remember having to stuff a grammatically awkward exact match keyword into your writing; like “sports bar Pittsburgh.”
Thankfully, those days are over. Google has become intuitive enough to recognize more natural and organic (and grammatically correct) variations of keywords.
Regardless of whether you come up with your own keywords or look at your competitors’ keywords, this means you’re now free to write the way human beings actually speak and write. You don’t have to ruin your writing with exact match keyword “stuffing.”
This is more good news for content writers and marketers.
For years, SEO experts tried to find the magic number of times you needed to use a keyword for it to be given enough weight. That number usually floated around 2.5% of your total word count.
But in 2018, Google is looking for quality over quantity. You will be rewarded for using keywords well, instead of often. This means using them in an organic way in your HTML, and your body copy. Again, the death of stuffing.
HTML SEO: What to do
There are, however, tried and tested SEO tactics that you want to work on your web copy and your HTML. These still work and likely will for years. Some of them include:
Your title tags still carry a lot of your SEO weight. So make sure you work strategic keywords into your title tags. Again, you don’t need to worry about exact match keywords, so there is no reason to create an awkward title tag.
However, make them as close as you can.
Try to get your keywords into at least one of your headings, preferably an early or top H2.
Also, for readability sake, it’s always good to use as many h2 tags as possible to break up big sections of text.
A big, thick, intimidating read turns a lot of users off, and they will click away from your blog as soon as they see the layers. This will increase your bounce rate, and hurt your overall SEO score.
Hyperlinks and Anchor Text
You need to be very careful here. Both inbound and outbound links need to be relevant, or they will be punished by Google.
Not too long ago, you could have had an arrangement to just swap links with another site/ business to build your SEO. And you would both probably use an exact match keyword as anchor text.
You can’t do that anymore, thanks to the Google Penguin update. Or rather, you need to be more careful in how you do it.
Again, relevance is key. So you can’t just stick an exact match keyword and exact match anchor text on just any site and expect it to help your SEO.
In simple terms, if you’re a physical therapist, you can’t just get a camping supply store to add a link to your site, with the anchor text “best physical therapist.”
Google will see that there is really no connection between your two sites and this is really just a link building ploy. Google will roll its eyes and ignore you both.
Relevant and organic links are still SEO gold, but literally, everything else is a waste of time.
Don’t forget to optimize your images. Most businesses do, and they waste a golden opportunity to build their SEO clout.
This means you should add your keywords (organically, as always) into your image’s tags, description/ caption, and even the file name.
These things matter, so don’t ignore them!
We’ve already covered a lot of what you should be doing with your keywords on your page or blog’s body copy. Most importantly:
- Don’t worry about exact match keywords
- Don’t worry about keyword density
- Don’t hyperlink words unless it’s relevant
- And use all keywords organically
No keyword stuffing means that there is no excuse for bad web writing anymore. You’re rewarded for writing with human beings in mind, instead of search engines. This means using keywords in a more conversational way.
One “old school” SEO principle you will still want to hold onto is using a keyword early on in the body copy.
Google still appears to put more weight on the first 200 words of a page, so try to keep your keyword usage top-heavy, without stuffing of course.
This is just a good practice to embrace. Your visitor is coming to your page/ blog for an answer to something. And there’s a 90% chance that answer involves your keyword. So, always keep your answer in the first 200 words, or even higher.
Failing to do so is called “burying the lead,” and this kills your readability and your SEO score. Readers scan your content for what they need, and if your answer is below the fold, they will assume they’ve been duped and you can’t help them.
They know they can find what they’re looking for elsewhere in just a few clicks. So their first click will be away from you. This gives you a high bounce rate and your SEO will suffer.
Get More Detailed HTML SEO Help
Are you a webmaster, coder, blogger, or web designer? Then, WebCodeBuddy.com is your new best friend. We can help you with HTML SEO and dozens of other topics.
You can start by clicking here to find more articles on web design.