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Using Meta Tags wisely to attract search engines & visitors.

By Rajesh V. Tavakari
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004

There are certain tricks and techniques in SEO industry, which can fetch you real quick and top ranking in short run and get banned for ever, which I am discussing in this article. Before optimizing any site, always follow code of ethics and never spam.

In this article, I will be discussing about meta tags. How to use the them effectively without spamming. Its not just another article about meta tags. Read on to find out more..
Meta Tags are very important for your website's visibility. Many search engines read them from your site when you submit it to them. META tags were developed and made a HTML standard for the purpose of addressing specific information about your web page that does not affect the way your page actually looks.

1. Overstuffing Metatags : Believe me or not , there are still many people and web masters around who think that meta tags are magic bullet. Its not anymore.
Mistake No. 1 : Stuffing keywords in Title
Mistake No. 1 : Stuffing keywords in Description
Mistake No. 1 : The keyword tag.

Mistake No. 1 : Stuffing keywords in Title
I agree that its very important to include your main keywords in title tag. But there are certain things, which you should remember, as title tag is the most important tag.
· Title tag length should be within 70 characters or 8 words
· Title tag should be meaning full and attract visitors
· Use one to two keywords in title tag
· Use plurals & concentrate on keyword phrases rather than just keyword.
· Make sure that title tag is grammatically correct

Syntax of Title Tag :

Now, lets me show you live demo on Title tag. Please search for "Office furniture uk" in Google, without double quotes. See the results. This is the first site listed under Google.

Office Furniture Home UK, Home Office Furniture London, Home ...
Office Furniture UK Online Home Office and Small Office Shopping England,
London, UK. Furniture, Office, Seat, Seating, Desk, Desks ...
Description: Uses full screen flash with exit button. Offering bespoke office furniture solutions for businesses....

Welcome to furniture123 - Bedroom furniture, Office furniture, ...
... desk uk, child bed, home office furniture, child furniture, dining furniture, coffee
table, office chair, furniture retailer, upholstery uk, bathroom furniture ...

Welcome to - Blueline Furniture - Ergonomic furniture, Custom ...
... has pioneered the manufacture of office furniture using timber ... FIRA GOLD Quality Award
as its furniture hire, minimum ... dealer network across the UK and Channel ...

MFI.co.uk
UK's leading furniture retailer offering an extensive range of quality furniture,
including home office furniture, bedroom furniture, dining furniture, beds ...

These are the above first 4 results arrived for the term "Office furniture UK" in google. Now have a look over title and description. The first title does not make any sense and its stuffed with keywords, though its ranking no.1 it would have less click thorough as compared to no 2 and no 3.
A fair and attractive title would be something like :
Offers quality office furniture at discount price in UK ( Short title )
UK's leading furniture retailer offering office furniture at discount ( Perfect one )
Look at the above two titles. It conveys some message with a perfect sense. The best possible keywords have been used and its catchy too. Just by crafting a good title you can increase your click through, even though you are not listed in top 1 or 2 positions. I hope now you must have got some idea about crafting good title. Now lets jump to next step. Yeah. Description Tag.

Description Tag :

Description tag is still important as most of the search engines still give importance to it. Sometimes even google picks up description tag. An ideal description should be somewhere within 150 to 200 characters, which correctly describes the content of the page. Make sure to place 2 to 3 important keyword phrases within first 100 characters.
Tip 1 : Make sure that description tag comes immediately after title tag.
Tip 2. Make sure that the first paragraph or the heading of the page contains 2 to 3 important keyword phrase.
Tip 3. If possible you the targeted keyword phrase in text links to get boost.
Things to avoid :
1. Do not stuff the description tag with keywords.
2. Do not use generic keywords, use keyword phrases
3. Do not repeat the title in description

Keyword Tag :

The keyword tag is almost dead. Most of the web masters try to flood the key word tag with all sorts of keywords. Hardly couple of search engines gives a bit of importance to it.
Please note that, directories like Yahoo, Dmoz & About does not consider keyword tag or meta tags. I do not recommend using keyword tag. If you use the keyword tag, do not include more than 8 keyword phrases.
Do's
1. Include only important long keyword phrases.
2. Don't use generic / general terms. Be specific
3. Use Word tracker to find good keyword phrases
Don'ts
1. Do not spam by stuffing all the possible keywords.
2. Do not include the keywords, which are not related to your website
3. Do not repeat any tag ( title, description, keyword tag ) you might get boost by repeating, but never know when you will be banned.

Other important things to remember :
1. Meta tags ( Title & Description ) should reflect the content the page. Do not put your company name in title.
2. Do not try to target more than 2 to 3 keyword phrases per page
3. Try to include your important keyword phrases in h1 to h6 tag.
4. Include your important keyword phrases in tag, bold tag.
5. You will get boost if you include your important keyword phrases in anchor tag.
6. Do not forget to Include your important keyword phrases in first paragraph of your web page.
7. Try to put your important keyword phrases in alt text. ( for images )
8. Make sure that title and description is crafted neatly and attracts both visitors and search engines.

Robots (Recommended)
See the workshop report at W3 for the full text.

CONTENT="ALL | NONE | NOINDEX | NOFOLLOW">

default = empty = "ALL"
"NONE" = "NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW"
The filler is a comma separated list of terms:
ALL, NONE, INDEX, NOINDEX, FOLLOW, NOFOLLOW.
Discussion: This tag is meant to provide users who cannot control the robots.txt file at their sites. It provides a last chance to keep their content out of search services. It was decided not to add syntax to allow robot specific permissions within the meta-tag.
INDEX means that robots are welcome to include this page in search services.
FOLLOW means that robots are welcome to follow links from this page to find other pages.
So a value of "NOINDEX" allows the subsidiary links to be explored, even though the page is not indexed. A value of "NOFOLLOW" allows the page to be indexed, but no links from the page are explored (this may be useful if the page is a free entry point into pay-per-view content, for example. A value of "NONE" tells the robot to ignore the page.

Conclusion

There are other meta tags like, Author, language, Copyright, Re-visit, classification etc. which are ignored by most of the search engines. Experience says, use the three tags wisely ( title, description & keywords ). You will be attracting both visitors and search engines.

For more information or any comments / suggestion on this article please EMail me . I will be glad to clarify the doubts / queries with live examples.

You may freely reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter provided this courtesy notice and the author name and URL remain intact.

About the Author
Author : Rajesh V. Tavakari is SEO Specialist of Website Promotion & Ranking Services, an Internet Marketing firm specializing in Website promotion & Website optimization.
URL : (http://www.website-promotion-ranking-services.com)

 






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