Basic SEO for HTML Coders

Search engine optimization (SEO) is usually something marketing people handle, but HTML coders play a role in it, too. To avoid having to redo code to meet SEO standards, keep the following in mind.

Meta Tags

The meta tags in the head of the document have to be filled out for proper SEO. They're not as important as they used to be, but they're still part of any real SEO strategy. The Title, Description and Keywords tags all have to be filled out properly. The Title tag should contain your keywords; the Description tag needs to contain them as well. The Keywords tag is obvious enough as to what it should contain. They appear in this format.

<title>Title Here</title>
<meta name = "description" content = "description of your site">
<meta name = "keywords" content = "keywords separated by commas">

Content and Navigation

Breadcrumb links are vital for SEO: They're the easiest navigation scheme for search engine robots to follow. Text-based navigation menus are far preferable to ones that use images.

Your content needs to contain your keywords, though this will be most important to the people who write it, not the coder. As a coder, however, you can help make sure that the site gets the best search engine optimization possible. The keywords in the content should always appear in headings. Whenever you're using H1, H2, and so forth, the keyword should be included. Subheadings are good ways to bring your density up.

Time Waster

There's a pretty common myth out there that you can bring up your search engine visibility by adding the keywords to comments. This isn't true. There's no point in putting your keywords in any <!-> tags.

It's best to make sure that your homepage does have between 2-5% keyword density to ensure good search engine visibility. Too high a density is regarded as stuffing.