We've had a fantastic response to the free DIY SEO book and also a whole bunch of questions have been asked, which on reflection is not surprising as the book leaves quite a bit of detail out. So, I'll try to add to the general knowledge of things through this blog and hopefully de-mystify some of the more complex areas of the whole SEO world.

Tags – what exactly are they?

This question comes up a lot and it is easy to see why. Us web types throw geek-speak around like it's normal English and we expect everyone to pick up on it and just understand. Well, people don't and so it's our task to educate and inform. Here we go…

‘Tags' can be many things, but when we talk about them in the context of SEO, we generally mention things like ‘Meta Tags' or ‘Title Tags' or even ‘Header Tags'. It stems from the basics of how web documents are created. You see, you just view a page and see a bunch of text on it, however in order to format or display that text in a particular way, you need to tell the browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox etc) to do something to it.

If I wanted to display some of this text in bold, I would add ‘<b>' before the text and ‘</b>' after the text. I have therefore ‘tagged' that text and the browser will know to display it in a nice bold font.

For example:

A great Search Engine Optimisation company in Birmingham is rendered in bold simply because it has a tag around it tell the browser to make it so.

Other tags are available however and these are used to format in different ways. When someone tells you that you should ensure your ‘title' tags should contain important keywords, you should ensure the keywords have <title> in front of the text and </title> at the end. That last tag closes it off so the browser knows to only treat as a title the text between the two.

Let's take another example. Without stating bold or font size, let's use the <h1> tag to format some text:

Search Engine Optimisation Birmingham

See what happened there? The ‘h1' tag is a ‘heading' style that displays content based on your current ‘style sheet' (more on that in a later blog). Not only that, the tags is generally seen as a good place to have a summary of the rest of the text in the page. Google knows this and so it will look within this tag for good keywords. So, if the body of your article or page talks about ‘Search Engine Optimisation in Birmingham', then it's good to have similar keywords in your h1 tag.


OK, but that's not all. In the ebook I talk about ‘anchors' which are yet another type of formating but in this case they tell the browser to send the visitor to another page when clicked on. These are really useful in SEO, especially if you're linking from other sites because you can get lots of useful information in there.

Take the above example. If I want to optimise my site for ‘Search Engine Optimisation Birmingham', then I can really up the ante by linking to a page that talks about this particular topic, using ‘anchor tags' that describe this particular topic. In HTML, it would look like this:

Search Engine Optimisation Birmingham

In the background, the above line actually looks like this:

<a title=”Search Engine Optimisation Birmingham” href=”http://www.callowaygreen.co.uk/search-engine-optimisation/Search-Engine-Optimisation-Birmingham/” target=”_blank”>Search Engine Optimisation Birmingham</a>

All the code you could need, hidden where you don't need to see it. It's also extremely well optimised and ready for the search engines to view and understand what you're talking about.

Oh – additional. For an experiment I've created a completely new website based on the e-book, it's here : http://www.birminghamlaundry.co.uk/(Birmingham Laundry Service) The idea? Can I get it indexed really high without much work? Let's see…