As a business owner, the world of digital marketing may seem a little daunting for those who aren’t vastly experienced.
However, it’s important to try and gain a level of understanding so that you can see the benefits of what it’s bringing to your online business.
Whilst marketing practices such as SEO may be confusing enough in its own right, HTML and CSS are a whole different beast.
However, having some knowledge on how websites work can be hugely beneficial to you in the long run – especially if you’re working with an agency as it’ll make you see the value in the SEO services you’re paying for.
What Are HTML and CSS?
HTML and CSS are coding languages that essentially form the foundations of any website, where HTML pertains to the structural layout of a webpage and CSS is used to style the page with colour and fonts. But what’s the difference between them when it comes to applying these to websites?
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is possibly the most common form of coding language which was first introduced in 1993 and has evolved over the past 27 years in line with the burgeoning expansion of the Internet.
HTML is used to produce documents that imply a structure of nested HTML elements that are the building blocks of web pages, and are denoted as tags such as <p></p> (paragraph tag).
These tags outline to the browser what the layout of the page is intended to be. Each tag will typically have an open tag <p> and a closed tag </p> for example, where any text within this will display as a paragraph.
Within HTML markup there’s a wide range of different tags that each have different applications, from link embedding and lists to page headings and images.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a style sheet language that’s complementary to HTML and helps to describe the presentation of the document.
Introduced in 1996, CSS was developed to add styles such as spacing, colors, and fonts to HTML documents in order to customise them for a variety of purposes.
On a website, every HTML tag will have a corresponding CSS which outlines how your content will be rendered by a web browser. The HTML tag is known as a ‘selector’ and the CSS class is known as the ‘declaration’, which can be fragmented into a ‘property’ and ‘value’.
The ‘property’ and ‘declaration’ pertain to the individual elements of the HTML tag, which are identifiers for the styles you’d like to be used for your website content.
With styling, the preferred method of implementation would be to house all of your styles in an external stylesheet, which means you can limit the amount of code that the browser has to render – and encourage a faster load time of your website.
This is advised for bulk styling, but for unique alterations to the styles, you can use in-line styling instead. However, this is typically only used in certain circumstances.
Why Are HTML & CSS integral to SEO?
Understanding the role of HTML and CSS in your website is integral to SEO for a number of reasons, from improving user experience to speeding up the load time of your website.
In light of this, here are a few examples of why HTML and CSS are integral to SEO.
You may find yourself at times wondering why something doesn’t look quite right on your website and seek to make amendments in order to improve its appearance.
With knowledge of HTML and CSS, you’ll be able to make small or wholesale changes to improve user experience, which can deliver greater performance in terms of traffic and enquiries.
For example, relocating a contact form from the bottom of a page to a more prominent position above the fold can increase enquiries.
Improve Page Load Speed
When considering the load speed of your website, you should always review your HTML and CSS to see whether there are any improvements to be made since the faster your site loads the better experience you can provide for your users.
In essence, by reducing the amount of code a browser has to render, your website will load faster, which is why external CSS files are the most preferred option as the browser will pull in the styles whenever a particular class is mentioned.
Improve Organic Performance
If you ensure that your website’s HTML and CSS code is as clean as possible, it’ll make it easier for Google’s spiders to crawl which will indicate that you’re serving your users with seamless user experience.
In turn, Google may rank your website higher than competitors if you’re offering a better user experience, as it’s clear you’re putting your user’s needs first.
Not only that, but you’ll also be able to identify any errors with your sites, such as canoncialisation and pagination issues.
Whilst gaining an understanding of HTML and CSS may be time-consuming, if you’re spending money on SEO services then it’s important to know how your website works and is structured.
This way, you’ll be able to see more value in the insights and recommendations that an SEO professional may advise you in order to boost performance – and ultimately, sales/enquiries.