- Canonical Tags, Rel Tags, Meta Tags & HTML Code
- Canonical Tag Configuration
- Noindex Robots Tag
- Rel=Next / Rel=Prev Tag Configuration
- HTML Code Check
- Meta Keywords Tag
- NOODP Robots Tags
- NOYDIR Robots Tags
- Hidden Text using CSS
This guide looks at a small range of valuable SEO HTML checks to ensure all of your vital SEO page components are working correctly.
Canonical tags tell search engines where the original source of the content located on the page that the canonical tag is located. Usually this is a canonical tag pointing to the same page that it is located on, it may be that the page is accessible from multiple URL’s due to query strings, upper and lowercase characters, etc.
Ensure that rel=canonical link elements resides on every page of the website to minimise the possibility of duplicate content issues from occurring.
Additionally, ensure that the page URL matches the URL specified within the canonical tag - if it doesn't, try to determine if this was intentionally done (usually a unique canonical tag may be used to attribute link authority to another page of the website and to prohibit the page from being indexed).
A canonical tag is constructed using the code below, in this example the page that it is located on is www.example.com.au/page-1.html and the content on that page is unique to that page.
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com.au/page-1.html" />
This tag is a Meta Robots tag, and when present on a page will prevent that page from being indexed by search engines. Sometimes tags are ignored but it would be very rare for Google to ignore this tag. Ensure that only pages that you do not want to appear within the search results have this tag.
Adding this tag to every page or important pages will prevent them from receiving organic traffic.
- Ensure that noindex is used correctly on the site
Where content has been split out into different pages but is all essentially part of the same content, for example when a link that reads “page 2” or “continue reading” it may be relevant to use pagination to inform Google that this content is all part of the same content.
Google has provided functionality through rel=prev and rel=next to manage pagination and concatenate all pages into one search entity, consolidating search value and de-cluttering the Google index.
- Ensure that rel=prev/next link elements have been utilised on paginated series.
There are also code validators such as http://validator.w3.org/ that will check code on page adheres to the W3C standards.
Check if the website is using the "keywords" Meta tag. Since this tag is unsupported, obsolete and can only have a detrimental effect on the website, these should not be used at all.
Often when this tag is present it is misused often with hundreds of characters of keywords stuffed into the tag. Ensure that this is not the case, if the tag cannot be removed, simply use the target keyword for the page within the tag.
Google may use descriptions from the open directory project within the SERPs in place of the page title and Meta descriptions that have been specially created for that page. Since Dmoz listings are factual and not very attractive for CTRs, it is recommended that we prohibit the DMOZ data from appearing in the SERPs. This is done with the use of the NOODP robots tag.
Visually check the source code of the homepage for the existence of a code below entry in the <head> content.
<Meta name="robots" content="NOODP">
Google may use descriptions from Yahoo within the SERPs in place of the page title and Meta descriptions that have been specially created for that page. Since Yahoo listings are factual and not very attractive for CTRs, it is recommended that we prohibit the Yahoo data from appearing in the SERPs. This is done with the use of the NOYDIR robots tag.
Visually check the source code of the homepage for the existence of a code below entry in the <head>...</head> content.
<Meta name="robots" content="NOYDIR">
Displaying content to users that differs from the content displayed to search engines (or vice versa) could be seen as “cloaking” by Google. This could result in a penalty as it is seen as an egregious violation of Google’s guidelines.
There are many ways to hide text on page, none of them are legitimate and none should be implemented on a website.
To ensure that the website utilises a customised image to display in the address bar, bookmarks and Android device home screens, ensure that a Favicon has been implemented. Check for the following code in the <head>...</head> of the page:
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" />