Search Engine Optimization Tips For My Clients…
Meta Tags and Title Tags
Meta tags are tags that exist in the head section of an HTML page. They fulfill a variety of purposes but two tags in particular, keywords and description, were created specifically to help search engine indexing.
Major Search Engines which use Meta Tags
- Search it
- Northern Light
Lets start with the keywords tag. The tag needs to be placed inside the tags of your HTML document and should look as follows:
<meta name = “keywords” content = “keyword1, keyword2, keyword3, phrase of keywords1, etc”>
You may hear conflicting advice about how to list your keywords, some will say don’t use commas, others will say repeat each word three, six, or ten times, but never more than that number. Such talk is generally left over speculation from the times when people spent significant amount of time researching this tag. The official documentation says to separate the keywords with commas, so I recommend you do that, and if you want to list a phrase you should do so as I outlined above. As for repetition, I recommend you only list each keyword once. Nowadays search engines are very sophisticated and simply repeating a keyword isn’t going to help, they’ll simply ignore the repetitions if they’re even looking at the keywords at all, which most don’t.
The description tag is the other meta tag we are interested in. Like the keyword tag it also needs to be placed inside the tags of your HTML document, in fact they’re usually placed side by side. The description tag should look as follows:
<meta name = “description” content = “Information on photography supplies, lenses, film, and more. Search our….etc etc etc”>
The description tag is different in that it still is very important, but not because of spiders, because of people. Some search engines still use the information in the description tag to display under your title in their search results (even if they don’t use it to rank your site). So what you need to do is write a description that grabs the attention of the people doing the search, but be realistic about it. People aren’t stupid, they’ve grown adept at dealing with spam and misrepresentation on the Internet. If you put “FREE! FREE! FREE!” as your description people won’t click on it, if you need so much hype they’ll think you’re illegitimate and move on. So use proper punctuation and write a good comprehensive description that lets the user know you’re serious and professional about what you offer. Think about what people are searching for when they run into a listing for your site and put that in your description. Also don’t waste space repeating the title in the description, the title will be shown directly above the description in the listings so you’re wasting valuable space.
The Title Tag
The title tag isn’t a meta tag (though it is meta-data).
The title tag, like the meta tags, needs to go inside the HEAD tags of your HTML document. Its formed a little differently however:
<title>Your title text here</title>
Your homepage title should contain the name of your organization and a brief one sentence write up of what you offer. Something like “Worldwide Travel Advisors: articles, reviews, and commentary on travel destinations.” You really don’t have a lot of room to work with, here so make the best of what you have. Including keywords in your title is important.
You should also put different title tags and meta description tags on every page. Search engines index more than one page of your site, and many visitors will enter via a page deep in your site. If every page has the same description and title there is very little chance for you to get traffic for people searching for more specific topics. So if you have an article called “The Best Beaches for Photography” then you should use that as the title of the page. For your description you should use a brief summary of the article.
If you only promote the front page of your site you probably won’t be successful. You need to promote every page, it can be tough and time consuming to write a custom title and description for each page, but it is something you need to do.