Back to Basics – Part 3 – SEO, Page and Site Elements
In this part of our Basics series we will introduce elements within each page that can effect rankings.
The URL name can be important. Google does use the keywords in the URL to some extent in ranking your page. If the search has a matching keyword then this can boost the ranking of your page on this result.
More than this, Google even looks at the domain name owner. If this owner has something deemed dodgy about them, they are linked to spam sites, had sites punished for bad practices in the past, this may effect the ranking of other sites owned by them. If they have their name withheld on WHOIS this can also effect them.
If you buy a website from someone else, be warned. Google can look at a varied history of owners and assume the sites positive ranking factors should be reset to zero – essentially wiping away the history of links incoming to that site, and nullifying their benefit. Yet, if the previous owner has destroyed their reputation/reputation of their site with Google, this will carry over to you. It can be a difficult process to recover from this. See our blog on this issue.
Whilst the main content is very important in SEO, there are other page level factors that are very important.
These are whether the keyword is in the page ‘title tag‘, in the H1 headings within the page, and in the description tags and content.
The Title Tag
Description (meta) Tags are extra information that tells Google what you would want to put in the description area. The pink area above shows the description text. If you don’t provide these description tags in your HTML then you leave the job up to Google which will do it automatically. The keyword relevancy, how close they are together, the number of them, in your main content will influence Googles ranking. The meta tag description does not get used in the ranking however, but it does provide a good opportunity to have Google display something you want them to show in the results, and that can greatly effect if people click on your result.
In the main content and in title and heading tags, the position of the keyword (nearer the start) and the position of keywords in relation to each other are important. A matching string is going to score much better than if the keywords are miles apart in a long essay.
This, if the page contains mostly identical or only slightly modified information, will harm rankings. You can use certain tricks to prevent this from penalising you, by the use of the Rel=Canonical tag.
Similarly, you will be punished if Google thinks your content has been scraped off another site.
Google also looks at new content on your website / blog, and how often it is updated. The more the better, in general. It also counts edits to the main content as meaning it is newer, and rewards this to some extent in the rankings. So editing and improving content is much the same thing as adding new content, particularly on longer pages.
Next, Part 4 introduces the topic of Social Media and Blogging (publishing on 30th of July)