SEO Markup – Basics

Obviously, we’re only going to be able to scratch the surface here, but here are some of the key tags and ideas to pay attention to while you’re doing markup:

Title <title>

  • Use short, descriptive titles. (70-90 characters.)
  • Keywords at start of title.
  • Include brand if appropriate.

Page Description

<meta name="description" content="Describe the page as accurately as you can. This may be used by Google as a snippet in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)">

Semantic Tags


  • include semantic tags as an indicator of quality, and to make it easier for the robots to index content
  • use <header> for the banner information <nav> for navigation elements and <footer> for the author, copyright, date, etc.
  • <figure> for important illustrations
  • <article> for the unique content
  • <section> for parts of the article
  • <aside> for extra information that is related, eg., links.


  • include the <h1> to <h6> tags. Try to include keywords in the first few words of these headers.
  • alt tags are indexed, so do include some keywords if appropriate


  • for links to comments and message boards, avoid spam by including a “nofollow” rule:

<a href="messageboard.html" rel="nofollow">

Table of Contents

There’s some indication that a table of contents or jump menu for a page will help with ranking, and will make your content more useable, so we’ll try including this too.

Western University: Faculty of Information & Media Studies

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