Archive for April 14th, 2011

14
Apr
11

10 Step SEO # 7: Labels

Today, we’re back in sequential order with a pretty interesting topic: Labels. What, you may ask, the hell are labels? And you wouldn’t be alone. Few people—even SEO professionals—know what the term means in a web page context, fewer know how labels might be used to enhance a page’s search posture, and even fewer still know how to do it right. Arcane though this technique might be, I’m going to share it with you. It’s pretty simple, really.

Definition of Labels
First used in blogs, labels are the keyword links that appear above or below most posts. They are, essentially, a search function that aids in navigation. Click on a label and you will be sent to what is really just a search results page containing all the posts that include the same label. Used in a blog, labels are really important to enhance user experience, but they do nothing for SEO. Why? Because all the major blogging platforms deliberately exclude these search-style pages from the spiders’ view. Why? Because if you have the same content showing up in multiple pages that are simply arranged in a different manner, what you’ve really got is duplicated content. Which is bad. That’s why.

How to Use Labels in an HTML Page
In an HTML context, “label” (or sometimes “tag”) can be the same thing as in blogs, but sometimes refers to a word or set of words that are placed prominently on a page as a hook for internal search, but are not links to search result pages. So, if you have a 10,000 page website with 250 pages concerning turtle food, you might place a label group on each of those pages that looks something like: turtle food, turtle treats, turtle snacks. Then, when someone uses your site’s internal search engine, it will hopefully find all the turtle food pages. Used as search links, labels on HTML pages can lead to duplicated trouble. Used as search hooks, they are probably okay, unless done to such an extreme they qualify as keyword stuffing.

How to Use Labels in an HTML Page for SEO, Correctly
Ah yes! Now we’re getting somewhere. The right way to use labels on a webpage for SEO value is….. wait. Am I really going to tell you this? Labels are my secret weapon! I get big bucks from all sorts of businesses for this kind of thing! If this gets out, Google will probably figure out a way to squash it! I’ll be ruined! Nah. I’m not worried. Nobody reads this blog anyway. So here you have it.

How to Use Labels in an HTML Page for SEO, Correctly
The trick to using labels is to hybridize the two strategies, in a careful and circumspect manner. Use labels on your pages as a search hook. Always use closely-related keywords as labels. Never use more than 2 or 3. Make one of these keyword labels a link. Point it to an appropriate, highly relevant category page that contains short descriptions and links to all your topically similar pages. So it maps kind of like this:

Home page:  2 labels, your best 2 keywords, off to the side of the page under a bold tag labels. Neither of them are links.

Top category page: 2 or 3 labels, keywords describing contents of category. None of them links.

Secondary category page: 2 or 3 labels fine-tuning your topic. The most relevant of them is a link pointing up to the category above.

Product pages: 1-3 highly relevant labels. One is a link to the category page directly above. Do not make this keyword link the exact same as any navigation links. Do not use more than one label link per page. Do not pass Go. Etc.

What you are really trying to do here is create a network of internal links using great link text to promote the category level pages. So, using the turtle food example, you now have 250 extra text links using the keyword “turtle food” pointing to your Turtle Food category page. Feel free to revisit 10 Step SEO #5: Internal Links for a refresher.

And Bob’s yer uncle. Use this knowledge wisely, but not to excess. And please don’t tell anybody else. I know I can trust you.