Underneath all the beautiful images, perfect typography, and wonderfully placed calls to action lies your website source code. This is the code your browser turns into delightful experiences for your visitors and customers on a daily basis.
Google and other search engines “read” this code to determine where your web pages should appear in their indexes for a given search query. So, a lot of search engine optimization (SEO) comes down to what’s in your source code.
This is a quick guide to show you how to read your own website source code in order to make sure it’s properly SEO-ed and, really, to teach you how to sanity-check your SEO efforts. I also will go over a few other situations where knowing how to view and examine the right parts of source code can help with other marketing efforts.
The title tag is the holy grail of on-page SEO. It’s the most important thing in your source code. If you’re going to take one thing away from this article, pay attention to this:
You know those results Google provides when you’re searching for something?
ll of those results come from the title tags of the webpages they are pointing to. So, if you don’t have title tags in your source code, you can’t show up in Google (or in any other search engine, for that matter). Believe it or not, I’ve actually seen websites without title tags.
Another important part of your webpage’s head section is the meta description tag. This 160 character snippet is free advertising copy that gets displayed underneath your title content in the search engines.
So, check to make sure it’s on all of your web pages. More importantly, check to make sure you’re not duplicating it across multiple pages. Duplicating a meta description tag is not a search engine penalty, but it’s a very big marketing mistake.
A lot of people gloss over the meta description, but you really should put some thought into it because it is read by search engine users. Think about what copy would help pull in more visitors and increase click-throughs.
H1 headings carry a little on-page SEO weight, so it’s a good idea to check your pages to make sure you are using them properly. For each page on your website, look over the source code to see if you spot this tag: