There are ways to use the HTML tags on your web page to improve your Search Engine Optimization, SEO. These tags are things like heading tags <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc., paragraph tags like <p> and even the alt="" attribute for image tags.

Search engines place more importance on the content in <h1> tags than the content in <h2> tags or <p> tags. On the other hand, the search engines will penalize your site if it overuses heading tags. This is why it is important that you outline and organize your content by placing heading tags in appropriate areas. It is not just good for search engines, it make your site more readable and useful to the visitor.

You should make it a practice to use these heading tags when writing your page content. Do not use the text editor like a word processor and just change the font and height of your headings. You should use the text editors pull down selectors for Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc. Style these heading in your style sheet for a consistent appearance throughout your site.

What to put in the <h1> tag

There should only be one or two <h1> tags for each page. The <h1> tag should be a good representation of the contents of the page. 

With a Joomla site, the <h1> tag is decided by your template or your customized edits to your template. It is often used for the title of the Menu Item or Article.

What to put in <h2> tags

You can break up major areas of your content with <h2> tags. This have a great deal of importance for search engines indexing your page. Be sure these <h2> tags contain important keywords. Some Joomla templates will make the page title an <h2> tag.

What to put in <h3>, <h4>, etc.

These other heading tags carry less weight than the <h1> and <h2> tags, but still can be a good way to break up the content on your site.

What to put in <p> tags

The paragraph tags are where you put the bulk of your content. You should still be sure to include keywords in the <p> sections.

Other HTML semantics to consider

The alt=" " of your image tags. The images that you place on your web site are great fro the visitor, but the search engine bots don't have eyes to see these images. They won't know what the image is unless you put an appropriate description of the image inside the alt="" attribute for the image. This can be done with a good text editor when you insert the image. You may also consider adding a title="" attribute. The title is also read by the search engine bots, by readers for the visually impaired and the title shows up in a little box if the user hovers over the image. For example:

<img src="/../images/redrose.jpg alt="Photo of a Queen of Scots red rose" title="Queen of Scots rose" />

If you have a table of data, you need to consider the headings, or <th> tags for the columns. These will also be read by the search engines.

Put your most important content near the top of the document

The search engine crawlers may only crawl a portion of your page. You should put the best keywords and important information near the top of the HTML document. This can be a simple and not having any modules in the left had column, as it it likely seen before the main content with most templates.

How do you know what the crawlers are seeing when they visit your site. Use a diagnostic tool to disable the stylesheet and JavaScript and you will see your page in straight HTML format. This is what the crawlers see for your page. Be sure the important content isn't buried beneath a mountain of menus, advertisements, graphics, etc.

  • Crawlers don't see anything introduced by JavaScript or AJAX that uses JavaScript.
  • Crawlers don't see the styles applied by CSS.
  • Crawlers can't translate images or videos into words.
  • Crawlers can't get past login forms to index your restricted pages.