The importance of Meta tags
If you aren't utilizing Meta Tags in your web site's pages, you may be missing out on valuable traffic and therefore paying customers!
Meta tags are the sections of your HTML that provide direction and information for search engine robots. To get the best rankings possible in some search engines, be sure to use meta tags in
every web page. Meta tags are not viewable to Internet users unless they examine the source code of your pages.
Unfortunately, many site owners abused Meta tags and search engines
stopped using them as means of ranking sites for quite a while, but this
situation has now changed. Of the tags mentioned below, the most
important is the "description" tag.
The process of Meta tag development is half science and half magic, and this document is only a primer. Mathematical formulas are now in common use for developing keyword statements.
Remember that Meta tags, like all other material on the Internet is bound by copyright (whether a copyright notice is
utilized or not). Be careful not to copy and paste another persons tags directly into your code without some heavy revising. People have been prosecuted for doing so.
Meta Tag statement example
<META NAME="value" CONTENT="comments">
Keywords Meta Tag:
Be sure that your syntax is correct, otherwise your hours of work may be totally wasted (I speak from experience).
Meta tags reside between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags of your document.
The most important tags:-
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="metatags,keywords,description,definition">
This should be a comma separated list of relevant words for the search engines to index your page. These words should reflect your site's most important theme. Be careful not to repeat the same keyword too often - 3 occurrences is a safe benchmark and this includes word variations. Some engines perceive heavy repetition to be "spamming the index".
Do not use words that are not relevant to your site. Many search engines will blacklist you if you do. Phrases such as
"meta tag definition," are considered one keyword. When surfers enter queries into search engines, they will
utilize phrases to help narrow down results. So think about the phrases that you would use if you were looking for subject material such as your site has to offer.
Keep your most important keywords and phrases within the first 100 characters of this statement.
Capitalization is not so much an issue as most Internet users tend to use lowercase text when submitting queries, but it may be a consideration when it comes to locality names. This is a difficult aspect to judge as some search engines do not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase and it is easy to go over the 3 word limit by using such variations.
Description Meta Tag:
Some search engine optimization professionals use commas between keywords and keyphrases, but others recommend against this practice as it takes up valuable space. As with a number of search engine
optimization topics, this is hotly debated so you may wish to experiment.
Wherever possible, try and use a different keyword statement on each page.
Recommended length of 500-750 characters.
Content-Type Meta Tag:
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="A human readable description of your site. This will appear in the search engine results query">
The page description is usually produced along with the page title in the results
pages (SERPs) of a search engine query. Some search engines use the first few lines of text
on a page as a description if this tag is absent, so also ensure that paragraph one of your page is relevant.
As with the Keywords Meta Tag, be careful not to repeat terms too often to avoid rankings being
penalized. This tag is not only used for search engine spiders, but also may be the text that appears as a result of an Internet user's search engine query. Here is the challenge - to create a description meta tag that not only is attractive to robots, but also to humans.
Keep your most important terms at the beginning of each description meta tag statement and try to have a different relevant statement for each page of your web site.
Recommended length of 170-200 characters
Robots Meta Tag
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=charset=iso-8859-5">
Older browsers such as Netscape used a META tag to automatically switch fonts, but most other browsers will ignore it. The default HTML charset is ISO-8859-1 (Western European 8-bit).
This Meta tag is usually automatically generated by your web development software package.
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="ALL,NONE,NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW">
default = "ALL"
"NONE" = "NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW"
This tag is meant to help webmasters who cannot control the robots.txt file at their sites. It provides a final attempt to keep their certain pages out of search engines and other web utilities to protect sensitive content or "under construction" pages. (Note, as mentioned in a previous article, if you are using a robots.txt file, please ensure that it is not empty. Some bots interpret this NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW for the entire site!
INDEX means that robots are able to include this page in search engines.
FOLLOW means that robots are able to follow links (spidering).
A value of "NOINDEX" allows links from the page to be spidered, even though the page itself is not indexed. A value of "NOFOLLOW" allows the page to be indexed, but no links from the page are spidered. A value of "NONE" tells the robot to ignore the page.
There are a number of other Meta tags that can be also implemented, but it is probably wiser to invest your time in
optimizing your description and keywords tags. There is one exception -
the page title tag. While not really
classified as a meta tag, it's one of the most important tags in your
source code; so pay special attention to that.
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