Researching and choosing keywords and then writing keyword optimized copy for your website is only one part of the equation in search engine optimization (SEO).
Implementing proper HTML code is another way to give your site’s search engine performance a boost.
Many websites don’t go this deep into SEO, and some may perform well without optimizing the code, but if you can find an SEO specialist who can provide code as well as content, you’ll see better returns on your investment.
Wikipedia defines HTML as follows: “HTML or HyperText Markup Language is the standard markup language used to create web pages.”
HTML tells a web browser what to display and how to display it. The snippets of HTML are called tags. Here’s an example of an HTML tag:
<img src=”http://www.yoursite.com/image-001.jpg” />
This tells the browser to display an image that is stored at the URL shown within the tag.
But sometimes we want to do more with an HTML tag. We might want to put a border around the image, change its dimensions, or provide a description of the image for people who can’t view images. To do that, we add attributes to the tag:
<img src=”http://www.yoursite.com/image-001.jpg” border=”1″ height=”100″ width=”100″ alt=”this is an image” />
Most of the attributes are self-explanatory, but the alt attribute might be vague. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of the alt attribute: “The alt attribute is used in HTML and XHTML documents to specify alternative text (alt text) that is to be rendered when the element to which it is applied cannot be rendered. It is also used by ‘screen reader’ software so that a person who is listening to the content of a webpage (for instance, a person who is blind) can interact with this element.”
What Wikipedia doesn’t note is that search engines also look at alt attributes.
<img src=”http://www.yoursite.com/image-keyword.jpg” alt=”keyword” />
When you use a keyword in the alt attribute of your images, you might be giving your site a boost on the search engine results pages. This goes for the image file name too.
All About Algorithms
Nobody knows for sure just how powerful the code of your website is with regard to its search engine performance. Nor do we know how much of a boost a site gets when the code is optimized in addition to the copy. And even if we did know, search engines change their algorithms regularly, so what works today might not work next month.
But we do know that certain SEO practices do work. Google also publishes information that reveals some best practices to help a site’s SEO performance. And a lot of what we do is basic common sense. By understanding how search engines work, what their goals are, and what they’re looking for, we can determine actions that are likely to benefit a site’s search engine optimization.
Coding Your Site
This article offers just one example showing how an image tag can be optimized to improve your business’s search engine results. There are many other tags and attributes where keywords can be implemented so your business can leverage the power of search engines.
As with all SEO campaigns, it’s critical to practice white hat SEO, and optimize for keywords that truly reflect your site’s offerings. Don’t try to game the system or your site could get banned from search engines altogether!
I offer a variety of website services, including search engine optimization, for small businesses. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you draw more traffic to your website and grow your business.
Melissa Donovan is a website consultant and copywriter. She is also the founder and editor of Writing Forward and the author of over seven books.