SEO success is so much more than finding and using the right keywords. You also need to structure your content, so it addresses the needs of the user and allows it to be easily crawled by search engines.
By Tina Kelly
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical component of any successful digital marketing strategy. While it is critical to focus on keywords and content optimization, search engines now put more emphasis on user experience and consider the structure and makeup of a web page when determining organic search visibility — even how a web page is displayed on the search engine results page (SERP).
One of the key aspects of the structure of a web page is its organization. For optimal user experience, a reader should be able to quickly scan a page and get a feel for what it is about. A well-organized page also makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand the content of the page.
There are six elements to address when laying out a web page for optimal user experience and crawlability. Each of these structural elements can play a key role in user experience and ranking.
URLs are the foundation of an effective website hierarchy, passing search equity through the domain and directing users to their destination. A web page’s URL should be easy to read by a user and a search engine and always contain the primary target keyword.
2. Title Tag
Title tags are HTML code that indicate what a page is about and are an important ranking factor. They should be clear and concise, and always include the primary focus keyword. They appear in SERPs, browsers and social media posts so they are the first impression users will have of your web page.
3. Meta Description
A meta description is an HTML element of a page that provides a brief summary of what a page is about. They are displayed below the page title in a SERP and alongside of the title in social media posts. Meta descriptions should always include the primary focus keyword to reinforce what the page is about. Meta descriptions should be between 155 and 160 characters and include a call to action whenever relevant to entice a user to click.
4. Header Tags
Header tags are HTML tags that tell a browser what styling it should use to display a piece of text on a web page. Just like headings in print, header tags are used to title or introduce the content that follows them. These elements provide structure to a page and break up blocks of text.
There are six header tags available, and they follow a hierarchy from H1 to H6. Only use one H1 tag on a web page.
- H1 tags should be used to mark the most important text on the page and reinforce the title or theme.
- H2 and H3 tags are most often used as subheadings of a web page.
- H4, H5 and H6 tags should be used to provide additional structure when there are more sections on a page.
Header tags can also influence featured snippet results. To help earn featured snippet results, you can optimize the header tag to match a long-tail voice search keyword and place the answer in the <p> paragraph tags. You can also use header tags to differentiate items in a list that Google may in turn use in a featured snippet result.
5. Internal Links
Internal links help users and search engines find related content. Be sure to include links to other relevant pages throughout your website on your web pages, but only when they add value to the user. Internal links can help site hierarchy and spread link equity across your site.
6. Schema Markup
Schema markup is structured data that helps search engines determine what your page is about and how to display it in SERPs. There are 32 different types of schema that Google understands. If your web page includes any of these schema types, it’s important to code the web page accordingly so that Google understands your content and can serve users a richer search result. Some of the most common schema markups are:
- Local business
If you pay attention to these essential structural elements and optimize web pages with your target keywords, you will ensure that you’ve covered the key on-page ranking elements and you’ll be offering the best possible user experience to your website visitors.