SEO Mistakes:

What does Weetabix’s controversial tweet show us?

Posted on February 11, 2021

On Tuesday night, a tweet by the cereal brand Weetabix went viral for its odd pairing of the famous wheat biscuits and Heinz baked beans. This has sparked, to date, nearly (more…)

Posted by Emily Jones

Wait, did Google just say it’s OK with duplicate content?

Posted on February 2, 2021

In two of his recent SEO office-hours hangout videos, Google’s Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller responded to questions about (more…)

Posted by John Murray

How to use HTML H tags on blogs

Posted on April 8, 2020

When writing a blog, especially a feature or guide that goes over 500 words, using subheadings often helps to make your writing more structured and presentable.

A beginner to HTML-based content management systems like WordPress might not know how to do this and might make the subtitles and paragraphs all appear in the same size and font. Others with a little more experience might put their subheadings in bold or italic letters, which at least makes it more pleasing to the eye, but the best technique is to master H tags.

When I was first introduced to the idea of H tags, my misunderstanding was to think that they were simply another way of making subheadings stand out from the rest of the writing, just like typing in a bigger, bolder font or underlining text. They do achieve this, but they also have positive search engine optimisation effects.

What are H tags?

H tags (the ‘H’ stands for ‘Header’) are ways of indicating the importance of your headings, and they range from <h1> to <h6>. They help to format the piece and make it easier to read, but they also aid search engines in making sense of the content. In 2015, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller confirmed:

“We do use H tags to understand the structure of the text on a page better.”

That alone means there is more value in using these tags that simply printing subheadings in bigger or bolder fonts. If your subheadings take the form of questions and are tagged appropriately, there’s more chance of Google returning your page in a search for that question, and perhaps featuring it in its Snippets.

Why are there six H tags?

The numbers indicate hierarchy. They dictate the importance of the header and how prominently it will be displayed.

The most prominent and important is <h1> and that will be your title. A page should only have one <h1> tag, whereas the others can in theory be used as many times as you like.

Most blogs will only include an <h1> tag for the main title, and <h2> tags for any subheadings. The above subheading, for example, is written in HTML as <h2>Why are there six H tags?</h2>.

There may be times when you want a subheading with several smaller subheadings underneath it. On these occasions, you can use <h3> tags. For example, if your <h2> tag was “What animals might you see on a farm?”, you might want to have subheaded paragraphs underneath this about ‘Cows’, ‘Sheep’, ‘Ducks’ and so on. Each of these could be an <h3>.

Perhaps under ‘Cows’, you might want to mention ‘Frisian cows’ and ‘Highland cows’, so each of them could be an <h4>. I don’t think I’ve ever gone any further than <h4> myself, but you can keep carrying this pattern down to <h6>. This may have its purposes if you’re writing something where detailed instructions are required, such as a user guide.

Can you use an <h3> tag without an <h2>?

This is not recommended. It will look fine on the page, but Google and other search engines won’t understand the hierarchy of your headings if you skip <h2>. Some bloggers and website owners complain that their <h2> tags appear too big on the page, but if this is the case, it’s best to ask your web designer to change it for you than to go straight from <h1> to <h3> or <h4>.

To get the best out of your blog, both from an aesthetic and SEO perspective, why not speak to us at Engage Web?

Posted by John Murray

When Google Search Console warns of coverage issues for no reason

Posted on February 25, 2020

Google’s Search Console is a great tool. It’s an absolute must for every website owner as it gives you invaluable information about your website and the way Google sees it. You can locate errors, submit sitemaps, see what you’re receiving traffic for and what searches you’re appearing for. You can see if you’ve been manually penalised and even check your page speed.

If you’re not using it, you should be.

The tool also sends you regular updates of issues that affect your website, such as one we received recently. Google sent us a message warning of coverage issues on a particular domain.

Coverage issues, you say? This sounds like something we need to take immediate action on. At least, that’s what you’d think. The message stated:

“Search Console has identified that your site is affected by 1 Coverage issues”

The warning went on to say:

“Warnings are suggestions for improvement. Some warnings can affect your appearance on Search; some might be reclassified as errors in the future. The following warnings were found on your site: Indexed, though blocked by robots.txt”

This sounded serious. Some content on the website was indexed by Google, but it was being blocked by the robots.txt file. Robots.txt is a simple text file that sits in the root of your website and contains a series of lines of code telling search engines which files they should and should not access.

The fact Google says some files have been blocked means the content can’t appear in a Google search. Unless we fixed this we’d have a big problem, right?

Wrong.

After investigating the issue in Google Console, we could see there was just the one affected page. It was a page flagged up by Google a few days ago, and was one that was intended to be blocked by the robots.txt file as it’s a page inside the Admin directory.

You don’t want pages inside your admin directory to be indexed as you don’t want people finding them in Google searches. They’re private files, used only by logged-in users.

What this teaches us is that you don’t need to panic just because you receive a message from Google Console. Not everything it flags up is an issue. Not everything it says is a problem is actually a problem. Sometimes you can just leave the ‘issue’ alone, as it’s supposed to be that way.

This is also the case for many other online marketing tools with which website owners can, sometimes, get a little preoccupied. Tools such as YOAST for WordPress, Majestic, Google PageSpeed Insights and many others are all there to ‘help’ you to improve your website in search. They are just tools, and you need to know to use them effectively, interpret their findings and understand what they actually mean before you can get the best out of them.

If you base everything on your Trust Flow score on Majestic, your mobile website score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights or whether or not you get a little green smiley face for your homepage on YOAST, you’re missing the real point.

The tools we mentioned, and many more besides, are great. We use them, and you should too. They can highlight really important issues or areas for improvement with your website. Please don’t get bogged down with the detail, however. Digital marketing for your website is about a lot more than ticking boxes and getting a clean bill of health from online tools.

If you find you’re not getting the results you want from your website, we’d be happy to take a look for you.

Posted by Darren Jamieson

An introduction to Google penalties

Posted on September 16, 2019

The term ‘penalty’ is thrown around a lot in some SEO circles, and sometimes it’s not the most accurate word to be (more…)

Posted by Alan Littler

New study highlights importance of blog structure

Posted on September 2, 2019

A study conducted by Perficient Digital, which looks into the structure of blog posts, has found that the majority of blogs are making a (more…)

Posted by Alan Littler

Five essential considerations when getting a new website

Posted on August 7, 2019

If you’ve decided to get a new website, it can be a very exciting time, as your site brings with it the promise of increased business, more opportunities and a chance to update your brand online. However, it can also be (more…)

Posted by Darren Jamieson

A look at KLM’s breastfeeding Twitter boob

Posted on July 23, 2019

There are certain groups it’s wise for companies not to offend on social media, unless they want a storm of negative publicity. One of the groups at the very top of this list is mothers, especially those of (more…)

Posted by Darren Jamieson
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