This post was last updated on November 26th, 2020 at 10:42 am
Businesses must keep up with the constantly-changing search engine demands if they want to continue to rank well in result pages. A good rank often translates into a lot of organic, high-quality traffic that can help a brand reach and even exceed its goals.
There are many different approaches to search engine optimisation. But what if your site is older?
Older websites often have a much more difficult time keeping up with search engine requirements because the expectations aren’t just limited to what the user sees, but also what lies behind, in the website’s source code.
Here’s how to change the SEO code to your site to improve your optimisation efforts.
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First, What Is “SEO code?”
At the frontend of a website, you have the text, images, colours, and other layout elements the user sees and interacts with. But behind this is the backend, meaning everything that allows a website to function as needed, also referred to as the source code.
The term “SEO code” refers to some specific tags that a website can leverage when it comes to search engine optimisation. If you are building a new website now, either by hiring someone or using a website builder such as Shopify, worrying about the SEO code isn’t really an issue, since the standards of website developments now include a strong focus on SEO.
But for older sites, you have a few issues to worry about:
- Their codes may not be up to date SEO-wise;
- Older sites gather a lot of content through the years, which likely means more errors that could damage SEO efforts;
- Depending on the type of website you have, it may be very difficult to bring it up to date.
Taking care of your SEO code is a part of on-page SEO, the set of means through which you optimise the content on a web page for ranking purposes. On-page SEO includes working on HTML source code, as well as the content and layout of the page.
The Most Important Tags to Look out for
SEO tags are varied, but there are a handful of HTML codes or tags that are key for SEO purposes. They help highlight key sections of your site and help web crawlers understand your content, and deliver that information back to the search engine for indexing.
The main tags you should focus on include:
- Title tag – they are used to create headlines you see in search results pages and is a great opportunity to leverage important keywords. They help define the page title for SEO;
- Meta description tag – the meta tag is used to set up descriptions that can appear in search results snippets;
- Heading tag – these are used to structure to content in a specific hierarchy to help users and crawlers go through your page;
- Image alt text – this allows crawlers to “read” images and index this data as well;
- 301 redirect – takes a user from a page that’s no longer available to the right page automatically. This helps avoid the “broken link” issue;
- Anchor text tag – embeds a link into an anchor text;
There are many other HTML tags a website may need for SEO, but making sure your website has these is enough to get started on optimising your site.
But before you start re-writing your website HTML, it’s a good idea to take it through a quick audit to see if there are any SEO issues you need to address. Google Webmaster’s Search Console can give you a better idea of how your site appears in search engine results and will show you any major errors in your site.
How to Change Your Website’s Source Code
To make sure search engines can find your site and index it, you will likely need to edit some of the website’s source code, on top of all the other SEO efforts you’ll need to deploy, such as a social media marketing campaign, and a content marketing campaign.
Doing it ultimately depends on what type of website you’re operating with:
When You’re Using a Content Management System
A content management system is simply a type of software used for creating and managing digital content, such as a website. If your website was built with the help of a CMS such as WordPress or Joomla, then we have good news: editing the source code in these cases is fairly simple.
CMSs are designed to allow for easy website maintenance. For instance, in WordPress, anytime you want to add new blog posts you can set up all the headings straight from the editor. To add a link, you can just highlight the hyperlink and paste the link, and the CMS will take over the rest.
It’s a similar process with website builders, where the whole point is to help non-tech savvy people set up fully-functional sites in a matter of minutes.
Edit the Website’s HTML
Most web hosting services allow editing websites even if you don’t use a CMS, but it’s generally a bit more difficult. One solution would be to download a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) that can enable you to manage your website content easily.
FileZilla is one of the most popular FTPs out there. You can use it to download pages, edit their HTML, and then re-upload them. It’s a bit of a learning curve since you have to add the tags manually, but with a bit of practice you can pick it up quickly.
Can We Help?
On-page SEO involves some of the most tech-forward components of the process, but Australian Internet Advertising is here to help small businesses reach their digital marketing goals.
Reach out to our SEO team for more information!