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SEO Meta Tags

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 5:00pm Sunday 24 May 2009    Print Article

Meta Tags are a Key strategy to Optimizing a website and individual web pages for the search engines, especially the "title tag". The "title tag" is what Search Engines use to determine what a site is about. In this blog post we will also look at the description, keywords and robots tag.

A Meta Tag is invisible to your visitors, but along with other Meta information may be useful to search engines to derive a brief description of your website. This information is what you will find if you do a search of your own website through a popular search engine. The Meta tag is added through the use of html language.

Title Tag

This is the dominant on-site SEO element. Now having said this, this does NOT mean you should stuff all your major keywords into a title tag.

A common mistake to avoid is putting too many keywords into the title. There are two reasons for this: the search engines might interpret that as "keyword stuffing," a practice that is frowned upon by search engines, and give the web page a low ranking.

In addition, putting too many keywords takes importance and weight away from the most relevant ones.To do SEO well, you want to make sure you optimize your title tag for one, maybe two keyword phrases.

Description Tag

This fits well with the title tag as both of these are the HTML elements that show on the search engine results pages. The description tag should contain your main keyword phrase, but should still be readable and interesting to visitors. Tell them why the page is exactly what they're looking for.

Spamming this tag with all your keywords will only push people away from your search engine listing.

Keywords Tag

If you MUST use the keywords meta tag, then use it carefully, and remember that many competing SEOs will look at this first to see what keywords you're targeting for your page.

Put other keywords you couldn't fit naturally into your page content that are still relevant and part of your page's theme, and keep them limited. Even deciding to put no keywords meta tag on your page will not hurt the SEO for your page.

Robots Tag

One other meta tag worth mentioning is the robots tag. This lets you specify that a particular page should NOT be indexed by a search engine. To keep spiders out, simply add this text between your head tags on each page you don't want indexed. The format is shown below (click on the picture if you want to copy and past the HTML for your own use):

You do not need to use variations of the meta robots tag to help your pages get indexed. They are unnecessary. By default, a crawler will try to index all your web pages and will try to follow links from one page to another.

Most major search engines support the meta robots tag. However, the robots.txt convention of blocking indexing is more efficient, as you don't need to add tags to each and every page. If you use do a robots.txt file to block indexing, there is no need to also use meta robots tags.

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Article Tags: seo search engine optimisation meta tags website optimisation title tag keyword tags robots.txt description tag search engine

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