Using Meta Tags to Optimize Your Website
Meta tags are short, hidden, HTML code that are placed on web pages that tell search engines about your website. Among other things they tell search engines the title of your page, a brief description of your website (the one that appears as a search engine search result) and what your keywords are. All this information educates the search engine about your site and helps the search engine to appropriately classify your site. The three meta tags we are concerned with today are the title, description and keyword tags.
The web site title is enclosed between “title” tags. From 6 to 10 words make an appropriate title length. The title should include some of the keywords and description phrases you want to target. It doesn’t have to use these words or phrases in an exact manner but they should be there.
Your website description is no more that two sentences that briefly describes your website and what it is all about. Ideally, the description should include each and every keyword at least once.
Your keyword section includes all of the keywords you are targeting throughout your whole website. There are many schools of thought here. Some argue that you should never use more than 10 keywords. Others suggest that phrases are better than keywords and that a keyword alone or included within a phrase should not be repeated more than three times. This much, however, is true for certain. Whichever you choose, the important thing to remember is that you remain reasonably consistent in your approach. The keyword meta tag is the most important of the meta tags you can include on your website, period!
Let’s take a look at how this works as an integrated whole. Let’s say you sell widgets and you are looking to attract sales by suggesting that your product is inexpensive or, even better, affordable. Your title might be something like “ABC Widgets: Affordable Widgets for Industrial Use.” Notice first that your title is under ten words. Good!
Your description, the next meta tag, could read “Affordable widgets for industrial use. Our widgets are of the highest quality yet priced to be affordable for industrial and commercial use.” Two sentences and we get in some of the more important keywords and phrases that can be made from keywords.
Our identified keywords, those words that target searches to find our site, might look as follows: “widgets, affordable, industrial, commercial, highest, quality, use, affordable widgets, quality widgets.” Here we have 9 keywords (the phrases count as only one. Several keywords appear in the title, every keyword appears in the description. Finally, the keywords are reasonably consistent, targeted and focused.
Taken together, the integration between title, description and keywords alerts the search engine spider to the content of your website and helps create a higher ranking then if you approached this problem from a more random posture.
Roger is a principal at RNS Design Group, an internet design firm specializing in small businesses and organizations. Through RNS Domains [http://rnsdomains.com] he offers Linux or Windows website hosting services, domain name registration and more.