Join David Booth for an in-depth discussion in this video Interpreting the code behind webpages, part of SEO Foundations.
- The end goal of a search engine when it's crawling a page is to try to determine what a webpage looks like to regular people. But the search engine can't see a page like we do. Instead, it sees the code that the web servers send back to our browsers. And to help illustrate this, let's take a look at the Explore California homepage. To us as humans, we see a rich and colorful web page with lots of content on it. Pictures, text, menus, and videos, and all kinds of colors and styles. It's visually appealing, and we know how to absorb all of this information and to navigate through it.
But to a search engine crawler, this same page looks like this instead. Now to the untrained eye, this may not look like the same page we were just looking at, but it is. All of this markup and code is really just a bunch of instructions that our browsers can follow in order to render a great looking web page onto our screens. The important part is that this is the code search engines look at. Webpages are ultimately created with HTML code and markup. This code helps browsers figure out where to find and download all the files we'll need to produce this pretty page, where everything is visibly placed on the page, how things are laid out, what fonts, colors, and sizes to use, what side menus will look like, where links will appoint to, and where content elements are going to be placed.
If you take a close look, you can also see that there's lots of stuff in the HTML that may not end up on the screen. These are the items that provide us with extra opportunities to help search engines understand our content even better. HTML code is also responsible for referencing and loading style sheets, which are extra instructions that help define the visible attributes of a page. Font coloring, content sizing, line spacing, background images, page conventions, all kinds of rules for the visual representation of your page can be found here.
While this isn't a course on web design or programming, it's important to understand the perspective of the search engine as we go through this course and see what it sees. As you can probably guess, making sure that your website's code is clean, efficient, and free of any coding errors will help ensure that your pages are displaying properly to your users, but it will also save the search engine some confusion. The cleaner your code, the easier it will be for you to make adjustments to improve your on-page optimization and the more search engines will trust that your pages will be a good experience for your users.
will be a good experience for your users.
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- What is SEO?
- Understanding how search engines index content
- Researching keywords
- Using SEO tools
- Optimizing pages for keywords
- Optimizing code and site structure
- Building links to your content
- Optimizing nontext components of a webpage
- Analyzing content quality
- Defining your audience, topics, angle, and style
- Promoting your content via social media
- Measuring SEO effectiveness
- Setting up Google+ Local
- Optimizing ecommerce sites for search
- Configuring sites for mobile