Viewing HTML code is helpful for understanding the concepts in this section. The screenshot on the following page depicts selected
HTML code for the website Amazon.com, the code that’s most important for the purposes of SEO.
See the Code for Yourself
If you’re in Microsoft Internet Explorer, go to View, and then click on Source:
In Mozilla Firefox, go to View, then Page Source:
The page title appears in the title bar of the web browser. Amazon has set their page title to say “Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more.” The title tag is <title>. This is also the title that most search engines will use when they display a page in their search results. Believe it or not, many web designers skip this vital step and end up with pages titled “Untitled.”
The title should be between 50 and 80 characters, including all symbols, spaces, and letters. The title should include the most important keywords related to the site and should be completely relevant to the content of the site. Be sure to keep the keywords, especially the important keywords, at the beginning of the title. This ensures that, if the title is cut off by the search engine, the sites keywords are still up front and visible on search engine results pages.
The page description also appears in the <head> information of the page. This is a short description of the page that lets search engines know what the page is. Just like all other HTML tags in the document, the page description should incorporate as many keywords into the document as possible. This description should pack as much information as possible into the space. Be sure that the page description accurately describes the page, correctly uses the right keywords, and is easily read and understood. Try to limit the length to two sentences or less. Lengthy descriptions can cause information to be overlooked by web spiders because spiders will simply overlook pages that aren’t compatible with them.
Meta tags are used to convey keywords about the site. In the old days the Internet, pages could increase their rank simply by putting various popular keywords within the meta tags of their document. After all, search engine algorithms weren’t as choosy back then, and these meta tags were the bulk of the keyword searching the search engine did. Today, meta tags are a part of the larger picture, but still a vital part of SEO.
Since websites often deal with several different topics, these keywords can help direct visitors to a page by showing them what the page is about. These tags can be more general, like “shopping,” or “sports,” or include increasingly specific keywords to describe the page. For example, while “sports” may fit the theme of a site, the keywords that are more specific should also be included, i.e. “football,” followed by “football statistics,” then followed by “football rushing statistics.” In the HTML code screenshot, Amazon included more than forty meta tags to describe their site. Websites that cover a variety of topics should use a variety of keywords.
Webmasters should refrain from using tags that have nothing to do with the site, though. This is considered bad form and could result in a search engine ban.
A cookie is a tiny HTML-based document that users download automatically from certain websites just by visiting. Cookies are used generally to enhance the experience of the site’s users. Viewing cookies firsthand is helpful for understanding the concepts outlined in this section.
See For Yourself
If you’re using Internet Explorer, go to Tool then click on Internet Options. In the General tab, click on Browsing history Setting button.
Now click on the View files button:
If you’re using Mozilla Firefox, the procedure is similar. Go to Tools, and then click on Options. Go to the Privacy tab, and then click on Show Cookies like below:
What did you see in the cookies folder? For the most part, you probably saw a row of boring looking .txt files, or Notepad files or rows of folders. You probably recognize the names of some of these files and folders as websites to which you’ve been recently. Others you might not recognize at all.
The Purpose of Cookies
What do these cookies do? They help provide an interactive environment for users when they visit web pages. If a website can get a user’s computer to save a small bit of information, that website can know who the user is, even if the user leaves and comes back later. The site can use that cookie to help make shopping carts on shopping websites, to remember user’s personalized settings, or to specify information just for a particular user. For example, some advertising is based on cookies that are saved on a user’s computer.
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