SEO Copywriting: Using HTML Headings and Open Graph Protocol

Luke Gorski on SEO

SEO CopywritingSo far, you’ve learned about content writing, the differences between B2B and B2C written content, and the indicators Google uses to rank your content. The next step is to structure your written content using HTML elements.

In this lesson, you will:

  1. Understand the importance of HTML structure to optimize reader experience.

  2. Incorporate HTML headings into your written content to optimize search rankings.

  3. Optimize social media sharing of your written content on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter by using Open Graph Protocol and Twitter Cards Protocol.

What Are HTML Headings?

Your buyer consumes written content quickly. She must. Every minute, 1,400 new blogs are posted, 204 million email messages are sent, and 2.5 million Facebook posts are shared.

Expect your buyer to skim your content while she searches for answers to her questions.

But even with this hyper-consumption of articles and blogs, blogging can become a key source of traffic to your website. In fact, companies that have a blog receive 97 percent more backlinks to their website, and for 67 percent of those organizations, their blogging efforts translate into sales leads.

When creating written content, help your buyer skim your article or blog by using headings. Adding headings helps your buyer quickly understand what solutions your content can offer. Headings also break up large blocks of written text and guide the eye of your buyer to different sections of your written content.  Google also prefers content that’s organized and divided into sections because it helps its users have a better experience.

The reason we refer to headings as HTML headings is because in order for Google to distinguish between plain text and well-organized content, you must use properly coded HTML elements that distinguish titles, headings, and content descriptions within your written content.

SEO Copywriting and HTML Headings

Including properly coded HTML headings improve your search rankings. HTML headings – also referred to as metadata or meta tags – help Google “understand” your content. To optimize your company blog or webpage using HTML headings, structure your blog with the following HTML elements:

  • A <title> tag that includes your target keyword

  • A <meta name =“description”> tag that includes your target keyword

  • One <h1> tag that includes your target keyword

  • Subtitles marked with <h2> or <h3> tags, at least one of which also includes your target keyword when appropriate

To view your current HTML markup – markup is the coding of your written content as seen by Google – navigate to your webpage or individual blog post, right click, and select View Page Source. This will bring up the HTML version of your written content. Locate the key elements listed above using the Find (Command + F on Apple OS; Control + F on Windows) function and confirm they are present and optimized for Google.

What is the difference between <Title> and <h1> tags?

These two HTML elements should both be used on your webpage. The important difference is the <title> tag is more important to your search rankings than the <h1> tag.

Because the title tag is located in the <head> portion of your website, it does not appear on your webpage. The <title> element represents the title of your webpage as it appears in search results.

As a best practice, include your target keyword in the first half of your <title> element to help Google and your buyer quickly identify what answers and solutions your written content is offering.

The <h1> element identifies the title of your written content as it appears on your webpage.

Google still uses the <h1> heading to understand your written content, which means it’s important to optimize and does impact your SEO rankings.

As a best practice, include your target keyword in your <h1> tag to indicate to buyers visiting your page that your written content is indeed related to the title as seen on Google’s search results.

Appearing in Google’s Featured Snippet result

Properly coding your blog can also help you appear in Google’s Featured Snippet. Unlike normal search results, Featured Snippets appear above search results to provide Google users with quick answers to their questions. Having a Featured Snippet on Google is a great traffic driver to your website.

To increase your chances of appearing in Google’s Featured Snippet, write the answer to a target question beneath the <h2> subheading that includes your target keyword or target question. Google features between 55-60 words in its Featured Snippets, which means your answer will need to be concise.

Open Graph Protocol and Twitter Cards

Distribution of your written content on social channels is as important as your search ranking. Social shares drive traffic to your website.

Once you’ve optimized your HTML meta tags for Google’s search results, your next step is to include HTML elements for sharing on social media. These meta tags follow what’s known as the Open Graph Protocol and Twitter Cards Protocol.

What is Open Graph Protocol?

Open Graph Protocol is a snippet of HTML code used by Facebook, Linkedin, and other popular social channels to display your written content via social posts.

By inserting this snippet of code into the <head> section of your webpage, you make the most of your Facebook shares. Your written content will be optimized to include a properly sized Facebook image, an optimized title, and a relevant description of your choosing. These elements should adhere to the following:

  • Post image (1200 x 627 px)

  • Post title (40 characters)

  • Post description (300 characters)

At the moment, including Open Graph information into your HTML code does not impact your SEO rankings. The information is used for distribution of your content on social media. However, more clicks means more traffic, which can improve your search rankings.

To optimize your written content using Open Graph protocol, insert the following snippet of code into the <head> portion of your webpage:

<meta property="og:type" content="article"/>

<meta property="og:title" content="TITLE OF YOUR POST OR PAGE"/>

<meta property="og:description" content="DESCRIPTION OF PAGE CONTENT"/>

<meta property="og:image" content="LINK TO THE IMAGE FILE"/>

<meta property="og:url" content="PERMALINK"/>

<meta property="og:site_name" content="SITE NAME"/>

There are different types of posts you can create, such as article posts, full image posts, video posts, and audio posts. When sharing written content, the type of object you will most likely be sharing is “article”.

What are Twitter Cards?

Like Open Graph Protocol, the Twitter Cards Protocol is a snippet of HTML code you include into the <head> portion of your webpage to optimize your written content for sharing on Twitter.

There are two ways Twitter can display your written content. It may be displayed as a Summary Card or as a Summary Card with Large Image. When creating the copy and selecting images for your Twitter Cards, keep the following requirements in mind:

  • Link Image (Maximum size of 1Mb)

  • Link Title (70 characters)

  • Link Description (200 characters)

To optimize shares of your written content on Twitter, use the Twitter Cards protocol and insert the following snippet of code into the <head> portion of your webpage:

<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”summary” OR “summary_large_image”/>

<meta name="twitter:title" content="TITLE OF POST OR PAGE">

<meta name="twitter:description" content="DESCRIPTION OF PAGE CONTENT">

<meta name="twitter:image" content="LINK TO IMAGE">

<meta name="twitter:site" content="@USERNAME">

<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@USERNAME">

In cases where a Twitter Card protocol is not followed, Twitter will use your Open Graph information to populate the different elements of the link. However, it is best practice to optimize your content for all channels where your buyer may interact with it. This includes Google search results, Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

TL ; DR Summary

  • Expect your buyer to skim your content. Headings guide your buyer to understand when to stop skimming and start reading. Headings should be marked using HTML elements.

  • Include your target keyword in your <title>, <h1> meta tags. If appropriate, also include your target keyword in your <h2> meta tag. This will optimize how your written content appears in Google search results.

  • HTML elements known as Open Graph Protocol and Twitter Cards Protocol modifies your link when shared on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.


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