A couple weeks ago I wrote about the 3 most common on-page SEO mistakes to avoid and two of the three mistakes were related to HTML elements on your webpages. Specifically, they were your webpage Title and Meta Description. Those are two critical elements for on-page SEO, along with your webpage Headers.
If you’re like most business owners I talk to, then you’re not fluent in the HTML coding language, and therefore you’re not exactly sure where these elements are located on your webpage. That’s why SEO can often feel like trying to cook dinner using directions written in a foreign language. Unfortunately, a lot of important details can get lost in incorrect translation.
Even if you’re outsourcing your SEO it’s important to understand what your consultant is doing. For example, I recently completed an SEO Tune-Up for a client and at first he didn’t think anything was actually changed on his website. That’s because webpage Titles and Meta descriptions are not obviously displayed on your website. So in this post I want to explain how you can easily find your Titles, Meta Descriptions, and Headers to verify they are set up properly for SEO.
How to Find Your Webpage Title
If you use Internet Explorer 10 as your web browsers, then the webpage Title is displayed as the name of the tab. See image below.
This can be confusing because the webpage Title is not displayed on the actual webpage. It’s displayed as part of the browser. If you use Firefox, then the Title is in the upper left corner of the browser, as well as the name of the tab. See image below.
As you can see in the examples, the Title can get cut off so the best way to get the exact Title is to view the HTML code. Don’t get freaked out. I promise this is super easy to do and this skill is critical for analyzing your on-page SEO.
Here’s how to find the Title in the sea of HTML code on your webpage.
First, go to the page in your browser. On a Windows computer, you’ll right click your mouse and select “View Source” or “View Page Source.” Source code is just a fancy way to say you want to view the raw HTML code (and any other code that’s on your page).
Once the browser loads the source code, then you’ll see something like the image below. The webpage Title is everything between <title> and </title>. In my example the Title is “3 Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid | Main Street ROI.”
If you have trouble finding the “<title>” in the sea of HTML, then use the Find function. Again, on Windows you can select Ctrl + F and then type “title” to quickly find the Title. That’s all there is to it. Now you can easily find the webpage Title for any page on your website.
How to Find Your Webpage Meta Description
The webpage Meta Description is what search engines will display in the search results below your Title. This is a critical element because your prospects will use your description to determine whether or not to click on your listing. A compelling description will earn you more clicks, which in turn, will help improve your rankings even further.
But there’s one little catch. It’s impossible to see your Meta Description by simply visiting your webpage. Browsers do NOT display the Meta Description. Only search engines read and use this information.
So again we need to view the source code (aka HTML code) just like we did to find the Title. But instead of searching for <title>, we’re going to search for “<meta name=”description” ….” See image below for an example.
In the example above, the word “description” is highlighted because I used the Find function to quickly search for the Meta Description. That’s how I recommend you find the description in your source code. The actual Meta Description for this page is “Here are the top 3 on-page search engine optimization mistakes to avoid.”
How to Find Your Webpage Headers
Finally, there is a lot of confusion regarding webpage Headers versus Titles. The webpage Title is displayed by your browser and search engines like Google use it as the title of your listing in the search results.
Webpage Headers are key headlines on the page (think of newspaper headlines). The top Header is between <h1> and </h1>. Then lesser headlines are between <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, etc. Since Headers generally include important information, Google and other search engines use them to determine if your webpage is relevant for certain keywords. That’s why it’s important to use your target keyword and variations of your keyword in your webpage Headers.
We already walked through how to find your webpage Title and Meta Description, and finding headers is no different. Simply view the page source and find the <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc. That’s it!
Now you can check your own pages to make sure you, your team, or your outsourced consultant is doing a good job with your on-page SEO.
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