How Important are META Tags?
Meta tags don’t matter. Meta tags aren’t a magic Search Engine Optimization solution. Meta tags help determine how you rank in Google. Meta tags can affect the volume of incoming traffic to your website. You need Meta tags on every page of your website. You don’t Meta tags on any page of your website but the main page.
Confused yet? Depending upon what you read about search engine optimization, Meta tags are either the be-all, end-all of good SEO practices, or an irrelevant exercise overshadowed by more important things, namely site content and link popularity. Over the years, the question of Meta tags has been discussed and debated by people in the SEO game, and in some cases sites have been taken to task to using certain words in Meta data not appropriate for the site’s material. Whatever you choose to believe about Meta and such HTML tags, let it be clear that if you are going to implement such code on your site, it is best to do so correctly and in a way that will enhance rather than harm your site.
And another great tip you must also take into consideration, is the need for your website hosting not to be from a free hosting platform, but rather a purchased hosting account.
A quick survey of Meta tags
When one thinks of Meta tags, more than likely two types come to mind. In actuality, there are a number of Meta tags that may be applied to the code of a webpage. The more popular ones include:
- KEYWORDS – A repository for placing keywords relevant to the website in one place, to allow search engines to find and therefore cache the site appropriately
- DESCRIPTION – Working on the same principal of the KEYWORD tag, the DESCRIPTION tag allows the website owner to summarize the purpose of the site
- ROBOTS – This tag gives instruction to the search engine spiders that visit the site, either allowing or forbidding them to cache the information on the page
- COPYRIGHT – Affirms the ownership of the site, handy if copyrighted material is used
- GENERATOR – Confirms the type of publishing tool used to create the page. HTML editors like Dreamweaver or FrontPage may automatically insert this tag when a new page is created
- REVISIT – Instructs search engine spiders to visit the site at specific intervals, handy if you update often, though the validity of this tag has been debated
For the website owner who wishes to keep specific information properly indexed, Meta tags can prove useful in that respect. From an SEO standpoint, it is argued that the most important of these tags is the DESCRIPTION tag, more so than KEYWORDS and ROBOTS. Among the major search engines, often the data used in the Meta DESCRIPTION tag is used as the site’s description in search results.
Therefore, it is important to make sure that the content of this tag provides enough information in so many words to entice visitors to click-through. As search engines may truncate descriptions after so many characters or words, it is important to use this tag for a descriptive site summary without being too wordy.
Authors, in particular those with multiple books, may wish to use the DESCRIPTION tag to summarize the site in its entirety. Elements in the tag should definitely include name, the primary genre written, and what incentives the site offers – not just the books.
EXAMPLE ONE: Browse Jane Doe’s site of award-winning mystery novels for sample chapters of her latest works, her personal writing diary, and a chance to win a free signed book.
EXAMPLE TWO: Mary Roe writes engaging historical romance. Read sample chapters of To Marry a Thief, her latest in the Regency London series, and sign up for Jane’s free newsletter for contest and release information.
In the above samples the Meta description defines the purpose of each website. Each specifies the author and genre and offers calls to action – one to enter a free book giveaway and the other to opt-into a free newsletter with the promise of contest wins. Both emphasize the reading samples on the site, allowing visitors to try before they buy. In just two short sentences, the entire scope of each site is outlined, and this is what the search engines will pick up as they cache the site for further information.
Bottom line, be concise in your description tag and offer incentive for a user to click-through to your site.
The debate over whether or not Meta keywords are important may rage for years to come. In the early days of SEO it was common practice to use this tag to repeat main keywords ad nauseam or “stuff” the tag with popular search phrases unrelated to the site’s topic. As expected, search engines have become wise to such black hat practices and may even penalize a site for trying underhanded tricks to get top results. These days, SEO experts may advise novice webmasters to focus more on Meta description, site content, and organic inbound linking. At best, Meta keywords may serve as a guide for search engines to the the focus of your site.
Should you choose to use this tag, choose keywords that are most relevant to your site and content. The mystery author may use his/her name as a search point and other relevant terms: mystery novels, mystery books, mystery fiction, thrillers, detective stories, virginia authors, murder mysteries, and so forth. There is no set rule for minimum and maximum word counts in this tag – some websites rank high with three words in the Meta keyword tag, while others with 100 words may not do as well, and vice versa. Quality always trumps quantity where this tag is concerned.
Bottom line: relevance is key, but don’t spend too much time on this tag. Save your energy for building a concise, user-friendly website. Once you have crafted the HTML code of your site, make sure what you have to offer visitors is relevant and useful, informative enough to inspire organic linkbacks. A good SEO balance can help bring the traffic, and sales.
Google doing it’s dance?
All my PR SEO tools are not working today. And not just mine, but every SEO forum I frequent have all reported that PR tools are down. I can only theorize that Google is up to a PR update. Let’s hope it’ll be for the better!
So much in common!
Google, Yahoo!, and MSN all have much in common, with preferring static URLs to dynamic URLs being one of them. Why? Because of the way that dynamic URLs are created. See, dynamic URLs are most times not indexed by SEs. One of the reasons for this is because of the use of non-standard characters, like: ?, &, %, =, and others in the URL. Many times, anything after the character is disregarded, so any URL that is seen this way by a search engine is going to be nothing more than a list of duplicate URLs – Not Good! Now, if you’re running a large site and dynamic URLs, the path you take to change them into SE friendly URLs is beyond what I’m covering, so for y’all, do a Google search!
Latest search engine optimization tips!
Sample of full article: SEO Articles
They have a very good keyword tool, and best of all it’s free! Once we’ve downloaded this software, we can enter the most generic keyword for our website into the software. In our example, our keyword would be “weight loss”. You’ll notice that in the screenshot below, Good Keywords will return a list of related terms. The “count” column will then show us how many times the specific keyword has been searched for in the previous month within the Overture.com search engine. Generally, you can multiply that number by 8, in order to estimate the number of times that keyword has been searched within Google for the previous month. You’ll notice that the keyword weight loss was searched 817,038 times during the previous month. DO NOT start off by optimizing for the keyword “weight loss” Why, you ask? If a keyword is searched that many times in Overture, then 100 times out of 100, the competition you will have to outrank will be extremely fierce.
Search Engine Friendly URLs
Google, Yahoo!, and MSN all have much in common, with prefering static URLs to dynamic URLs being one of them. Why? Because of the way that dynamic URLs are created. See, dynamic URLs are most times not indexed by SEs. One of the reasons for this is because of the use of non-standard characters, like: ?, &, %, =, and others in the URL. Many times, anything after the character is disregarded, so any URL that is seen this way by a search engine is going to be nothing more than a list of duplicate URLs – Not Good! Now, if you’re running a large site and dynamic… More in the seo weblog.
search engine optimization tips – reciprocal linking dead?
The quick answer to the lower rankings is that Google has become smarter (not to those loosing ranks, however!), and are recognizing “link farm” techniques as the spam it is. Think about it… you put up a site, with quality content and relevant links – and begin placement in the SERPs fairly high. Total “white-hat” seo – the perfect site! Your competition, however, jams up right past you for a high ranking! Why? Their content is not current or relevant, they are using depreciated HTML 4.01 markup, their code is riddled with font tags and nested tables for layout – and they rank in #2!
So why are they successful? They’ve placed high in rankings because they have 3,864 IBLs to their homepage from link farms!
search engine optimization tips – link farms?
A link farm is a site that is designed to hold links – no content, at least no relevant content, just 1,000s of links pointing to 1,000s of sites. Google has basically said to the web design community/industry, “That kind of SERP placement is not fair! We want to provide relevant links to our users, not just those sites that have (apparently Google thinks this…) cheated our results with spamming techniques!”
search engine optimization tips – black hat – dead?
IMHO, this is a good thing. I have decided to shift my seo theology. I’m also declining a lot of the link exchange requests I receive from my reciprocal link accounts I am a member of. The old seo saying, “a link is a link is a link…” has been depreciated.
So your website is built and you expect your visitors to find you via Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. Naturally, you assume that all they have to do is type in your company name, or a description of the services, items, or topic that you offer, using their favorite search engine, and they’ll see your site right up there in the top ten!
But wait, your site is not listed in the top ten. It’s not even in the top 100! That’s where Search Engine Optimization tips comes in. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. You see, there’s more to creating a high ranking website than simply creating a great looking page with a cool rollover menu system and pretty graphics.
It’s all about great content, and user appeal. Again yes, sharp killer pictures and flash sites are real pretty to look at, but where is the user appeal? It’s about content, great content. Web Standards and content!
Search Engine Optimization tips have become one of the fastest growing internet marketing techniques in recent history. From “black hat” to “white hat” techniques, Search Engine Optimization has matured into a viable marketing strategy.
seo – Web Standards
Web Standards also have a great benefit. Using semantically correct XHTML and CSS markup is one key to search engine optimization. Once your pages are well-formed, and semantically correct – you are that much closer to great SERPs!
search engine optimization tips, a history
Search Engine Optimization tips began in the mid-1990s, as the first search engines were cataloging the early Web. Many site owners quickly learned to appreciate the value of a new listing in a search engine, as they observed sharp spikes in traffic to their sites.
Site owners soon began submitting their site URLs to the engines on a regular basis, and began modifying their site to accommodate the needs of search engine spiders, the software programs sent out to explore the Web. Special features such as meta tags became a common feature of sites that sought out high-ranking listings in search engine result pages (the so-called “SERPs”).
Consultant firms arose to serve the needs of these site owners, and attempted to develop an understanding of the search engines’ internal logic, or algorithms. The goal was to develop a set of practices for copywriting, site coding, and submissions that would ensure maximum exposure for a website.
As the industry developed, search engines quickly became wary of unscrupulous SEO firms that attempted to generate traffic for their customers at any cost (the most common problem being search results’ decreasing relevance). The search engines responded with a continuous series of countermeasures, designed to filter out the “noise” generated by these artificial techniques. In turn, several SEO companies developed ever-more-subtle techniques to influence Ranking.
In the early 2000, search engines and SEO firms attempted to establish an unofficial ‘truce’. There are several tiers of SEO firms, and the most reputable companies employ content-based optimizations which meet with the search engines’ (reluctant) approval. These techniques include improvements to site navigation and copywriting, designed to make websites more intelligible to search engine algorithms.
Here are great Search Engine Optimization tips and other resources:
- what is SEO Articles – and how to achieve it!
- what is anchor text – and how important it really is!
- backlinks – and the techniques to implement them!
- are you using keyword-targeting to target your keywords?
- is your site ranking in the top ten? what you can do about it!