Category Archives: WordPress

HTML tags and

Website SEO Checkup: Headlines

Here’s how to check headlines on your website. It’s something you can do during quarantine downtime

Why is this important? Headlines are a priority in search engine optimization (SEO).

Quick Explanation: Heading tags are in the code of websites. The tags are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6. The should have keywords that are:

  • relevant to the content on the page
  • likely to be used in searches on search engines

If you know how to check these in the software you use (WordPress for example), use that software. Add and edit the keywords if needed.

Universal Headline Check

Here’s a way to see the H tags using any computer or mobile device.

  1. Go to https://validator.w3.org/
  2. Type or copy-paste the address of the page you’re checking into the Address field.
  3. Click More Options.
  4. Select Show Outline.
  5. Click Check.
W3 Validator Form

Next, scroll down to the Heading-level outline in the results. This validator tool shows errors and warnings, but they’re not important for checking headlines. Ignore the warnings and errors.

W3 Validator Results showing Heading-level outline

If you don’t see this section, make sure you selected the option Show Outline.

Important Advantage: The W3 Validator shows all the headlines on a page including those in the header and footer.

WordPress with Gutenberg Headline Check

On WordPress using the Gutenberg editor for a page or post, find the headline outline under the “i” icon near the top.

Important Shortcoming: This shows only headline blocks in the content of a page. It excludes the header, footer, and headlines created by shortcodes.

Click the “i” icon to see the Document Outline.

WordPress Gutenberg Content Structure, Document Outline and heading tags

Keywords in Heading is First Priority

First, these headlines should have keywords. That’s what’s most important about headlines and SEO. Edit your page or have your web editor add some keywords if you think they’re lacking.

Heading Organization is Important but Not Critical

Google says headlines should be nested like an outline. If you can, do this. But this is not critical to SEO.

Find more details in our blog post about organizing headings.

Bonus: Updated Page

I think Google gives a slight bump to pages and sites that are recently updated. Making a small change might-could give you a .0001% boost… that is, a minor boost.

Schema.org Structured Data

Structured Data: Mark Up Website Content for Search Engines

Schema.org is the place. It’s the primary source of information on structured data for websites. Why is that important to business? Because it’s used by Google, Bing and Yahoo.

First some terminology:

Structured Data
On websites, a way to mark information so major search engines can better read it. Schema.org explains in detail the how and what.
Schema
A prescribed list of data to include. Sometimes it’s general like data about any kind of organization. And sometimes it’s specific like data about a tattoo parlor.

It’s hidden from casual visitors. Behind the scenes, though, search engines and anybody with a little know-how can find the data.

Which leads to another point: structured data is a little technical. You need to know a little bit about HTML to implement it in code, but there are several WordPress plugins that make it a little easier on WordPress sites.

With this mark up, you can give search engines easy access to important information about your company, products, events, locations, and lots more. For most businesses, priority should be on the basic data: company name, locations, description, contact information. For online selling, you should add details about your products. For restaurants, the menu, hours and location are important. For any place with events, event details are important.

And specific types of businesses have their own schemas like dentists, tattoo parlors, and attorneys. And specific offerings have their own schemas like creative works (songs, photographs, books), events, and products.

It Helps How Your Site is Displayed on Search Engines

First understand that it’s a thing: structured data is a semi-hidden part of website development. It won’t necessarily boost your ranking. But it can change what information Google displays.

With the right structured data, Google shows rich snippets for some searches. See Google’s “Understand how structured data works” for more info.)

So priority should be your basic information: company name, contact information, description, link to your logo. Then evaluate other opportunities based on your business goals like products, events and pictures.

 

Test Your WordPress Contact Forms

Test Your WordPress Contact Forms

You better check your website contact forms. A significant change in the popular WordPress plugin Contact Form 7 (CF7) could break your contact forms if you’re using reCaptcha.

A recent update to CF7 removes support for reCaptcha version 2; now it supports version 3 only. If your site has the latest version of CF7 and was using reCaptcha version 2, your forms might not work or they’re letting more spam through. If your site is set to automatically update plugins, it could happen without you knowing it.

The Solution

Several options are available.

Auto Update – This is Why You Shouldn’t

This is why we disable automatic updates in WordPress. You never know when it will break something. In December 2018, WordPress changed its page editing software. One of my current clients lost the ability to update his site because the automatic update conflicted with the Divi theme that was installed. (Full disclaimer: He wasn’t a client at the time. I got it fixed for him.)

So if you have automatic updates turned on, check your website forms. Even if you don’t, check your forms anyway. Go to your site and submit the contact form. Make sure you get it.

Test Your Website Periodically

It’s good to test your website periodically–submit a form, make a purchase, comment on a blog post. Test whatever functions you have on your site.

And, by the way, update the content, even if it’s just the small changes in wording you’ve been meaning to do. It’s good for SEO.