Although engaging content, targeting the customers question is still very important to the success of your web site, there are other items that must not be overlooked. In the graphic below, we highlight some of the key aspects of a landing page or an optimized web page.
The Page Title is one of the most important data elements for your web page. The key terms or phrases should match the content on the page and help the search engine position the page. As you can see from the image to the right, the Title is prominantly displayed at the top of the search engine results. Research suggests that your title should be 50 to 60 characters to ensure that all the characters are shown in the top tab, although it appears that the search engines do recognize longer titles.
Page Titles can be specially crafted to support online advertising campaigns when used for landing pages, but they still need to contain text that relates to the page content and any offer being made to the user.
The Title contained in a <title> </title> tag and is usually formed by seperating keywords or key phrases by the | bar character. Many, including Wix, recommend that you use a construct as follows:
"keywords | location | brand" to enhance your results for "local search".
The Page Description is also important. It appears on the search results page and should provide an overview of the page to ensure that the user has enough information to make the decision to click through to your page. Traditionally description tags have been restricted by the search engines to around 150 characters, however more recently descriptions upto 320 characters are now being shown on the search results pages.
Title & Microdata are two of the most important elements of any landing page. They're used by search engines to help understand what the page is about. Titles should be 70 characters or less to ensure they show properly in search results, although some results pages are now showing longer titles.
We develop specific Titles and Descriptions for all your pages and ensure consistency with your page content.
It's amazing how far search engines have come over the past 10 years. Their ability to understand the meaning of our web page content has vastly improved. And their ability to evaluate the relevance of content by usage and linking is sort of magical. However, it is still difficult for them to always determine the meaning of your content and position it against other sites. We know that eventually search engines will embody artificial intelligence that will solve these issues, but in the meantime, the search providers have defined a set of rules and microdata to allow web developers to assist in describing their content in a structured way.
- INLINE - HTML5 includes the ability to include microdata directly inline in a web page. This means the structured data is identified by special tages inclcuded directly in the text of your site. Some of today's content management systems (e.g., Joomla & WordPress) are now offering options to assist in this.
- JSON-ld - Java Structured Object Notation for Linked Data is Google's preferred methodology for including structured data. This allows all the structured data to be placed together in one section so the search engine can read it at one time prior to matching it with the page data. We use this methodology for our clients to provide information about their business to the search engines. The example to the right is a sample of the JSON-ld structured data for Collins Brook Group.
There are schemas for a wide range of businesses, products, people and other things. To learn more about microdata and schemas see www.schema.org.
So What's the big deal with structured data?
Most websites that were developed several years ago do not include any structured data. This means that over time they run the risk of loosing search positioning to sites that are similar in scope and appeal, but who have implemented structured data. Remember, the goal of the search engine is to get the user to the BEST answer to their question and the more certainty the search engine has in their ability to understand your content, the more likely you'll rank higher. For example, if you sell the same product that others sell and you're not using structured data to describe your offering to the search engines you may not be shown along with those sellers who use structured data.
Although the use of structured data by itself is no guarantee that the search engine will display your search results with a snippit, you can be sure that it will help them understand your data. Letting them know the description of your page, most important image, your offer price, hours of operation, etc. are all important items to include in your structured data. It gives them more confidence that they got it right!