On-page SEO factors have changed over the years.
In the past, meta tags were crucial to your SEO strategy. Today, many digital marketers and Shopify store owners aren’t sure where they should focus their efforts.
And for good reason. With all of Google’s algorithm changes, it’s easy to see how a modern-day marketer might not know what to focus on and what to ignore.
We’ve put together a complete guide to page markups and meta tags, so you can get a better understanding of which on-page SEO factors matter, and which you can breeze over.
Let’s dive in.
The Ins-and-Outs of Modern SEO Markup
Back in the day, SEO markup was somewhat straightforward. You worried about your page title, your keywords, your headline tags, and your meta description. Today, there are several new components of SEO markup you need to pay attention to as you put together your page.
There’s still your title and your meta description, which function similarly to how they did in the past. We also have a meta data tag, which can reference widgets like Twitter Cards or Open Graph.
Take note that Google doesn’t use every type of schema available. In fact, they use a small handful of schemas, compared to the complete list you can find on schema.org. Schemas aren’t directly used in Google’s ranking algorithm, they’re used as a tool for Google to better understand your content. And the better Google understands your content, the better chance you have at ranking highly on their SERP pages.
What’s New With SEO Markup?
Most of the changes to SEO markup are small, but there have been some significant additions. Most of these additions are found in the header of the page. The biggest additions you should pay attention to include:
Open Graph Markup
The Open Graph Markup is used by Facebook. If you have a significant social media presence (or plan to), you’ll want to consider using Open Graph Markup in your page’s HTML.
The Favicon refers to those little icons you see at the top of your browser. It’s been around for years, but only recently has it grown in importance. You might not need the Favicon directly, but read-later apps like Pocket use it when they pull data from your site. Learn how to use it in order to make a presence on more platforms.
Twitter Cards are new to social media, but they provide businesses with an excellent tool to advertise their brand. When your Twitter cards are optimized, you can more effectively reach your brand and make the most of this great social media feature.
What’s Not Important?
Unlike before, some meta data isn’t important anymore. Your H1, H2, and H3 tags are one of the biggest shockers to new digital marketers. In the past, these used to play a key role in determining your page’s rank, but they do little to help or hurt your rankings now. You should still use these tags, as it’s best practice to do so, but they won’t make or break your page.
The same goes for strong and bold text. Search engines pay almost no attention to these tags, thanks to the ever-growing popularity of CSS. Sure, you can use them, but they won’t have an impact on your rank.
How Can I Check My Pages?
Now you’re probably wondering if your site’s pages are properly optimized according to modern SEO markup practices. Luckily, you don’t have to go back through each of your pages manually and check the code. There are a few free apps and extensions you can use to analyze your markup, including:
Facebook (Open Graph Checking)
Twitter (Card Validator)
What are your tips for modern SEO markup practices? Let us know in the comments below!
Special thanks to Rand Fishkin from Moz in clearing this up for us all.