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The Anatomy of a Webpage

Fortunately for my clients, my understanding regarding anatomy of a webpage far exceeds my knowledge on the anatomy of the human body. Seriously, I have the college transcripts to prove it.

According to Google webspam leader Matt Cutts, there are over 200 factors Google uses when determining which pages should rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Some of these ranking factors include the HTML elements that make up a webpage. Some of these HTML elements are visible to a site user and some live only within the code of a page.

Understanding these elements and their impact on organic search results is important to more than just SEO professionals. The PR team needs to know how to optimize their press releases so that they have greater potential to show up in the SERPs. If the social media team is creating content on the website about a Facebook contest, the page needs to be optimized so that searchers can find the content via organic search.

Below breaks down and explains important HTML elements of a webpage and how you can begin optimizing content today to drive high quality traffic to your client’s website.



The URL is unique to each page and acts as the address of each page.

Key Recommendations:

  • Should include keyword targeted product/category name
  • Should utilize hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) when separating words


If you’re going to optimize one thing on your page, make it the <TITLE> Tag.

Key Recommendations:

  • <TITLE> Tags should be no more than 70 characters
  • Append the brand name to the end (especially for known and trusted brands)
  • Only optimize for up to three keyword phrases

META Description

The META description has no algorithmic value. However, it is important for “earning the click.”

Key Recommendations:

  • Should be no more than 155 characters (spaces included)
  • Should be written as sales copy
  • Should include keyword phrases

When creating, consider benefits to the searcher. What is your unique sales proposition? Examples of this include lifetime returns, free shipping, etc.

<H1> & <H2> Tags

Heading tags supplement the <TITLE> Tag

Key Recommendations:

  • Targeted keyword-focused
  • Space to target secondary/tertiary keyword phrases

ALT Attribute Tags

An ALT Attribute Tag describes the picture it’s referencing

Key Recommendations:

  • Targeted keyword-focused
  • Opportunity to optimize images for image searches and images in the universal search results

Body Copy

The body copy of a page explicitly describes the content of the page. For retail sites, body copy is mostly found on product pages.

Key Recommendations:

  • Targeted keywords should represent 3 to 5 percent of the copy.
  • Space to implement a strategized internal linking structure

Understanding each of these HTML elements and how to optimize for them is important for any client initiative that involves adding or modifying content on their website. With an established content management system and knowledgeable back end or technical team, optimizing these elements and adding them are easy and have a lasting impact.