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Author's profile photo Jason Lax

SEO: The Devil is in the Detail

Perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree with this but since we’re a community of software developers, process experts and enthusiasts, I thought I’d give it a try.


Clean code should also extend to your online publishing.


As if it weren’t already complicated enough, reading software code gets increasingly more difficult if the formatting isn’t clean and annotated properly. Now, let’s imagine you’re a search engine crawler doing nothing but reading web page code, day in, day out: wouldn’t little touches such as using descriptive titles for uploaded image files and indicating when something is a header be appreciated? Well, they are.  I would even speculate that the cleanliness of the web page code is a SEO: Google Panda and You as it can demonstrate the commitment of the author to the content and audience.


Some Tips on Cleaning up Your Web Pages

Format Text on Web Page Text Editor Toolbar

Apply Formats

For starters, it helps to tag your text according to what it is.  Keywords are weighted differently according to what they are (in order): page title, headers, bold paragraph text, paragraph, alt text, etc.  
Let’s take headers for example: All too often people just bold and increase the font size of text to make it appear as a header.  In reality, that text just remains paragraph text that has been formatted bold and made bigger!  Most text editors give you the ability to specify the format so use it.  Apply this to documents too.

Optimize Links

The web is built on links so it’s encouraged to add links where possible (but in moderation).  Links are easily and quickly optimized by simply hyper linking text that describes what the link is pointing to (i.e. not “Click Here” or “Click Here“). Adding alt text, the tool tip that appears when hovering over links/images, is a way around this but don’t count on that option always being available. I’ve written a Click Here.



Insert Image GUI on Web Page Editor ToolbarAnother easy optimization is using keywords in the files names of embedded images.  Instead of a generic “image1.jpg” or “screenshot.jpg,” make the effort to describe the picture so that someone reading the file name would get an idea of what it is.  This will also help surface those pictures in Google image search results too.  Do the same for attaching the alt text.  


Use Spell Checkers

Spelling errors just look sloppy and add an extra step for crawlers that will have to determine what the correct word should be in order to properly index the content. If a spell checker isn’t available in the text editor or browser, just copy and paste the text to a word file or new eMail message and scan for errors.


Small, you say, eh?

Yeah, you can say that these are small things that don’t have as much impact on SEO as optimizing the URL or a page title but these do add up: there is power in numbers 🙂


At the same time, you’ll also be making the web page more accessible for users that rely on screen readers to tell them what on the page.

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