Does talk of optimizing your ecommerce site’s source code or HTML make your eyes start to widen in fear and your brow knit in confusion? While it might not be the most exciting subject, HTML is one topic area that could make a huge difference in how well your site performs — and since knowledge is power, it’s well worth understanding the role that optimization plays in any site’s HTML.
Get a View of Your HTML Code
Want to get a quick view of your HTML source code? Go to any of your webpages. Then, hold down on the “CTRL” and “U” keys simultaneously. What you will see is the code for that webpage. Pretty cool, huh? You are basically seeing all the data that’s used to create your page, from the colors to the text to the links.
To those new to HTML coding, it’s a remarkable insight into the way that the Internet works “behind the scenes” or at the backend — even though it includes frontend data.
Why HTML Source Code Matters
As you’re looking at the source code, you’ll begin to understand how Google and other search engine crawlers see your site. As they rapidly read through page after page of HTML, the crawlers interpret the data they find. This allows them to promptly come up with search engine results for any number of keywords.
What to Look for FIRST in Your HTML Code
Starting at the top of the HTML code for your webpage, look for something in a “title tag.” This is very important and tells search engines what the page is about. Not seeing one? Seeing one that is inaccurate? Seeing more than one? That’s a no-no by the way. Write yourself a note to do something about that.
Next, look for the word “meta.” Typically, the meta tag is followed by a somewhat-brief description of what is available on the page. For an ecommerce product, the meta description would include what the product is, what it does, what it looks like, etc. Be concise and use clear, appropriate, natural keywords. Again, this is providing search engines with a tight summary of what to expect on the page.
No meta? That’s a problem. Again, keep a note that you need to update your meta description on this page — and possibly others.
Finally, you should be certain you have one H1 title. This will be bound in HTML by <h1> and </h1> brackets. Again, the H1 title needs to be infused with one of your primary keywords. You may be shocked to discover that it says nothing about what’s on the product or content page of your ecommerce site. Fortunately, you can remedy this problem.
How HTML Links Help to Improve Optimization
Linking from your webpage to another webpage on your site, or a webpage somewhere else, is highly recommended for optimization purposes. Of course, all the links have to be active and working, so check to see. If you have thousands of web pages, there are tools to assist you so you don’t have to do this manually, which would be cost and time prohibitive.
Every link contained within the text is “anchored” by a word or a few words. For instance, if your webpage for a t-shirt notes that it goes well with “skinny jeans,” the term “skinny jeans” might be highlighted and link to an applicable page within your ecommerce site. The anchor text brings more understanding to the search engine crawlers, giving you another boost in your natural optimization results.
Study Your Image ALT Tags
As an ecommerce site, you likely have at least one, and perhaps several, images on each product page. You should include ALT tags for every image. The ALT tag is designated by “alt=” — and the correlating text should accurately describe what the image is.
You would be amazed at how many ALT tags say nonsensical words like “jpg image one” or “store image 72.” This is meaningless to search engines, and it does nothing to help you.
Improving your image ALT tags will improve your search engine optimization (SEO), so update them yourself, have an employee do it, or hire a firm to help.
Some Final Thoughts
As you can see, it isn’t complicated to arrange your ecommerce site’s HTML for optimization. It just takes a little effort to set it up.