Its commonly suggested that validity can effect your placement on the SERPs, this is both true and false. Obviously some validity is required for your pages to render correctly, and get properly indexed. But there are many superfluous "errors" which won't effect your ranking.
The aim for this Tutorial is not for you to write valid HTML, thats something you have to consider on your own part. This Tutorial will cover the stuff related to coding, which can influence your rankings.
The Title Tag of HTML
The content of the title element, is what shows up on the SERPs. Its important that you chose a relevant title for your pages, and include the main keyphrase in the title. A poor title could effect the number of clicks drastically.
Learn By Doing - brugbart.com
SEO Tutorial - brugbart.com
Ways that are not recommended are demonstrated below:
brugbart.com - Learn By Doing
Above example is less important, since its the Title of the front page. But still, we think that any promotional phrase, should be placed before the domain.
The below is likely to receive less clicks, because the domain is scanned first, by searchers, (reading left to right).
brugbart.com - SEO Tutorial
What Brugbart is doing
At the writing of this, Brugbart is using the below format for its front page.
And the below format for subpages
Basically we removed all branding from the title element, because we felt it did more harm then good, not really being relevant to peoples searches.
The reason why Brugbart uses this approach, is mainly to make our pages seem more interesting, and inviting to our visitors.
Think about the content of headings in particular, the phrases in headings mean a lot more, then those found throughout your content. Therefor be sure to include your main keyphrase, in the first heading on your page.
While not as important, you should always aim to use headings correctly. Don't use headings where they don't belong, headings are used to indicate sections in a page.
Believe or not, your internal links actually effect your rankings. Just have a look on most well-ranking pages, most of them likely makes use of breadcrumb links, in some way or the other.
Brugbart recommends the use of breadcrumbs in content, as they are very helpful to users. The way we use them here on Brugbart, is throughout, and anywhere in the content of our site.
We manually link words and terms, to the relevant pages on Brugbart.
For instance, if i where to mention "HTML", i would likely throw in a link for the HTML Introduction on Brugbart. This works to increase the ranking of that page, on the phrase used, and/or single keywords "HTML", "Introduction". As of the writing of this, Brugbart has tested this, and it appears to work for internal links, as well as inbound links.
Em should be used for technical terms, or to put light empasis on a word or phrase. Strong is used for emphasis as well, but should only be used when you want to strongly emphasize something. Emphasizing something has little, if any, effect. And including keywords in strong or em tags, is more likely to harm you, then to do any good. Only use these elements when you find them to convoy meaning to your users.
Incorrect usage of elements
While this may only apply to few of you readers, you will be surprised to know how many actually use elements, in a way which is damaging to their rankings. One should always aim to use correct markup, to the extend possible.
Some people are even doing it intentionally, to increase their rankings. But in most cases, its more likely to be design errors. Some examples of this are shown below: