Promote a Web Page - On and Off Page Elements
The page has been coded and then published. Now what? Build it and they will come? Add some on and off page elements that will help in promoting your web page.
Promoting a web page isn't a task strictly web page specific but includes elements added to the website the page belongs to.
Tell Your Friends
Proud of your new web page, you just have coded and published? Tell your friends about it by direct message or email and ask them for their comments. It won't be a lasting effect on website visitors but your friends' comments are useful to improve web page accessibility and content.
Over time, the largest segment of visitors to your web page will be from organic search, mostly driven by Google and to a smaller part by Bing. We will have to add a few elements which will help us that the page will be discovered and indexed by Google and Bing.
Meta Tag canonical
Within the head section of a page html code, there must be a canonical link tag. A canonical link declares the default url to view a specific page.
<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.simaec.net/promote-a-web-page/" />
We use here the href value of this page. Your page will use a different one.
It is possible to access a page with different variants of an url and this tag tells the search engine which variant is considered the default one. Variants to view this pages are:
- https://www.simaec.net/promote-a-web-page/ (the default)
The sitemap is an xml formatted file listing all urls of pages of a website. Our new page should be listed with the default url in the sitemap. The sitemap.xml file doesn't have to be stored in the root folder of a website.
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"> <url> <loc>https://www.simaec.net/digital-marketing/promote-a-web-page/</loc> <lastmod>2022-03-19</lastmod> </url> ... </urlset>
In xml all tags have to be lower case. We use only two tags for each listing. The mandatory "loc" tag with the default url of a page and the optional "lastmod" tag with the date the content of the page has been edited the last time. We omit the optional tags "priority" and "changefreq".
The robots file is a simple text file that is mandatory located in the root of a website. It is used to give search engine and other bots instructions which areas of the website shouldn't be crawled, fetched or indexed. Unfortunately, not all bots respect the instructions given in the robots.txt file.
We added it to our website to prevent errors when bots are looking for the file and more importantly, it provides us the opportunity to point to the location of the website's sitemap file.
Sitemap: https://www.simaec.net/sitemap.xml User-agent: dotbot Disallow: /
In this example, from this website, besides adding the location of the sitemap we provide the instruction to "dotbot" bot not to crawl our website.
Finally, having checked off all the elements above, we have to make sure that our website, and our web page is known to the search engines Google and Bing. We use their webmaster tools to register our website.
The webmaster tools provide a suite of tools to submit new pages and monitor indexing of our pages. It is also the preferred way how search engines communicate with a owner of web site if they are running into issues. Webmaster Tools:
For information about how to register your website with webmaster tools please follow their instructions.
Social Media: The OG Tags
Don't add Facebook or Twitter like / share buttons to the page! These are third party pixels.
Although social media with the potential of content going viral may contribute to visitors of a web page, usually it isn't important. We don't want to lose the opportunity though.
OG (open graph) is a concept that has been introduced by Facebook. We will add a few meta tags used by social media sites to enhance shared links to that page. Twitter has specific tags (see links resources) but the generic OG tags fulfill the same function.
<meta property="og:url" content="https://www.simaec.net/digital-marketing/promote-a-web-page/" /> <meta property="og:type" content="website" /> <meta property="og:title" content="Promote a Web Page - On and Off Page Elements" /> <meta property="og:description" content="Add some on and off page elements that will help in promoting your web page." /> <meta property="og:image" content="url-to-an-image-optional" />
We use the same content for og:title, og:description as in the corresponding meta tags (title, meta description) and for og:url the value of the canonical url. The content of og:type is "website", you may use article instead (blog posts, news article).
We skipped here the content of the og:image tag because we haven't touched publishing images in our web page. We consider publishing image an advanced topic.
We are done. We coded a simple web page, published the page on a hosting platform and added the basic elements which help us in promoting the web page.