Hyper Text Markup Language is the basis for every web page on the internet. Regardless of what technologies are used to generate the page (php,asp,jsp, etc) the end result presented to the user is a HTML page.

Basic HTML

Understanding the basic structure of a web page is a big part of on-page and on-site SEO, and the first step on the road to better search rankings. The HTML tags in a web page tell web browsers (and search engines) what things are, where they start and end,  how they should be presented, and in some cases what they should do. After you have a good understanding of basic HTML tags you can move on to things like microformats and microdata which provide even more information to search engines, but for now we’ll stick to the basics.

Here is a list of key HTML tags used in a HTML page:

Title tags are probably the single most important tag on your page in terms of SEO. They are placed between the opening and closing head tags and they give search engines a general idea of what your page is all about.

<title>My Awesome New Product that You Can’t Live Without</title>

Header tags help search engines determine what different sections of your your page are about and should not be negated in favor of simply making text bigger.

Wrong:

<font size=”6”><b>My Page Name</b><font>

Wrong:

<span style=”font-size:16pt; font-weight:bold;”>My Page Name</span>

Right:

<h1>My Page Name</h1>

Anchor tags are the links in web pages that you use to travel around the web from one page to the next, they are also an essential element in the way search engines find and rank content on the web.

<a href=”http://searchfactory.com.au/”>The Search Factory</a>

Below is a very basic example of HTML code used to create a web page.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Title of the document</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1> This is a heading</h1>
<h2> This is a sub heading</h2>
<p>This is a paragraph.
<a href=”http://searchfactory.com.au/”>This is a link to the search factory.</a>.
This is the end of the paragraph.</p>
</body>
</html>

Bad Pages

Consider the following analogy. If you picked up a book and it had no table of contents, chapter titles, and no distinguishable paragraphs. How would you know what it was about without taking the time to dive into it? how easy would it be to find the information you needed in the book? would you even want to take the time to find out what the book was about? This is essentially how search engines view web pages without the proper HTML markup.

The only thing worse than bad markup is having a designer create a “website”  for you using nothing but flash, or image files. They may look cool or pretty but are useless to search engines and potential  customers trying to find your business  online. If this happens to be the case with your site, then the only thing  that search engines will be able to see is the name of the flash or graphic files embedded in the web page, so for SEO purposes your site is virtually non existent.

Conclusion

Now that you have a better understanding of basic HTML you can make sure that your website can be accurately crawled and indexed by search engines, and that your link building and other SEO efforts aren’t going to waste.