Meta tags – the devolution of a killer phrase or word!!
Recently, I started up my own business and bought into the WordPress family with a themed template purchase. After setting up and doing my research I came across the issue of SEO – without having the budget to employ a specialist I was thrown headlong into the many complicated tutorials on back-linking and SEO optimization. To be honest, this was way above my head – but I found some fairly basic start up information on Meta tags – something I think most of us ‘techno-toddlers’ have heard about. I think that with this basic knowledge I could at least begin to lay a decent foundation for my site creation. Unfortunately, things shift in the sands of website building and it is clear that you must keep your finger on the pulse of what’s in and what’s out!!!
Meta tags are short bits of code usually inserted between the <head></head> tags on your web site. In the old days this little phrase or word was a key element for the Search Engine spiders to hunt and gather information about your site. Nowdays, there are still some very useful meta tags out there – but others are a complete waste of time. With the exception of your title tag, people do not see your meta tags unless they look at the website code. So here are a few meta attributes and you can decide whether they will offer anything unique to your website or not, if you chose to use them.
This is a very important Meta Tag. Each of your web site pages can have a unique Title and the Search Engines will pay special attention to what the title of your web page is, when ranking each page of your site. People also see these titles in the address tabs in their browser. As long as the Meta Tag has meaning and clearly represents the information it is displaying it will serve its purpose with the Search Spiders.
Titles should include the key words you want that specific page to rank well in. The titles should be unique to each page – not the same as others and they should describe that page and it’s contents. It should have a maximum of 60 characters, and ideally you want to avoid excessive use of commas (,). Using common sense often works when creating this Title – selling a liturgy of items would never draw a crowd if it was placed on shop front – use the same strategy here – catchy and relevant! Something that says… cheapest prices cheapest prices on apples, pears, oranges, strawberries and vegetables isn’t going to draw a crowd – although it will bring the SE Spiders in hunting for keyword Spamming!! Which might get you blacklisted.
That’s where Google and other Search Engines will get the description it will show to others. Usually you are offered a box of some kind in which to type in this description. Unfortunately, its importance is not really highlighted and you may be tempted to quickly fill in this box without thought or planning – do so at your peril!!
There are a few things to consider before adding this information – be careful what you do in this box, try to plan it carefully and check out your competitor sites for key descriptive words before you begin. You can find this in their code.
Don’t get too creative or flowery with your description.
Keep it to under 20-30 words because search engines will only display about that many to your site visitors.
Meta Keywords – the devolution has begun…Search Engines don’t look at keyword meta tags anymore. You can pretty much ignore this tag. This surprises a lot of people. So don’t worry too much if you don’t have this tag in your page header, Search Engines will choose to pull from your web site description, as discussed previously and use this to promote your information.
SEO is a huge topic for discussion and for the newbie starter like me and I just wanted to know some simple basics. But as you progress you will need to consider other aspects of Search Engine Optimization. Things also change very quickly, and what was popular soon looses appeal and is ‘old-hat’ – much like the over rated use of Meta Tag Keywords on a website build – the devolution has already begun.