Proper HTML Code for SEO

    September 27, 2005

What could be worse than your viewers not seeing your site display properly?

What if they never get to your site to see it?

If you want your site listed on search engines then make sure that you have correct HTML code. Many search engines cannot properly catalog or index a site that has HTML errors. This can greatly reduce the amount of traffic your web site receives from search engines.

The lowest form of “browser” out there is the search engine. The search engine is about the equivalent of a version 2 browser. It can’t read flash, DHTML, JavaScript, dynamic pages, – even having trouble at times with frames. Search engines may have difficulty crawling, indexing, and extracting the content of your site if you have broken HTML.

Search engines score a page by looking for relevant terms in key HTML components in specific places within a document. These key components are titles, descriptions, visible text, alt image tags etc. If they don’t find them because of typos or other mistakes, the spiders may leave without reading the content of the page.

Poor document structure like a META tag placed in the BODY section of the page instead of the HEAD section – can cause the spider to ignore the tag and cost you a good ranking.

What if you were tired and under deadline to get a new page up, (Not at my job!) you might type TILTE instead of TITLE for your TITLE tag. TITLE tags are very important to search engines. If you made this one little error the search engine will ignore all of the content of the title tag.

If you create the page properly and have content that contains your keywords it “should” get read and picked up by the search engines. (off page factors like inbound links excluded) However if you have a simple error like an open tag <p – missing the closing bracket of the paragraph tag when the search engine reads the page it assumes that all of the content – search engine optimized or not – is an attribute of the paragraph tag. So the search engine just ignores all of the content in that paragraph. This could be an even bigger goof than a typo in the title and could very well cost you a good ranking.

Internet Explorer is very forgiving of mistakes in code. By building only for IE you are creating for the most error forgiving browser ever. Thinking that a search engine will “browse” your site like Internet Explorer 6 is a dream. If the site won’t display right in Netscape, Firefox, Opera or an old version of IE chances are good the search engines can’t read it either.

So next time you get frustrated with having to design for Netscape, Firefox, Opera and IE, just bust out your favorite HTML editor and settle in for a long night of code checking.

Your marketing department will thank you!

Written by Terry Mickelson, President of PageViews, Inc. Search Engine Marketing and Optimization Company based in metro Phoenix. For a free report to see where your site ranks in the search engines go to PageViews can be reached at 480-556-9752 or