Search Engine Optimization (Part 3)
In part 2 of our series on search engine optimization we went over basic web site structure. Now it’s time to start building the individual pages. One of the basics of on page SEO are meta tags. Meta tags are often talked about in the field of search engine optimization… too much so as far as I’m concerned. I’ve seen web sites that have 20 different meta tags into a web page. This, I believe, is not only a waste of time, but can actually hurt your search engine rankings. Remember, search engines are constantly evolving toward the goal of finding good content and weeding out spam. And what could be a more telltale sign of a spammy web site than stuffing meta tags with fluff?
But first let’s start with the basics. What exactly are meta tags? Meta tags are a tool for telling search engines what your particular web page is about apart from the content to the page itself. The three main meta tags are Title, Description, and Keywords. These are listed in order of importance, the title tag being by far the most important. Not only do search engines look at this for clues about the subject of your web page, this is the one meta tag that actually shows on the page as the title of that particular tab in your web browser. So choose your title tag well! 5 to 10 words that are the headline of your page.
The next meta tag is description and though it’s importance continues to decline amongst the major search engines, it shouldn’t be overlooked. The reason for this is that content from the description is often used in the description of your site on the search engine ranking page. So this is a good place to add something unique and compelling to drive people to click on your link. It should contain your main page keyword and not be longer than 165 characters.
The last major meta tag is the keywords tags. Major search engines have all but ignored this as a ranking factor for your main keyword, but some people claim that using related keywords here as well as the content of your page can increase rankings. Personally, I still use it in this manner, but I make sure to use the keywords in the body content. The worst thing to do is paste a long list of keywords in there that is the same for every page. This smacks of keyword stuffing and may actually hurt your page ranking.
And this brings us to one thing to keep in mind about meta tags: they should all be unique. Don’t put your company name in all the title tags. Don’t use the same descriptions. Search engines want original content, including titles and descriptions. So make them all unique.
And now that have the outline of our pages, the next step in our industrial marketing campaign is to write the pages themselves.
Go to part 4, creating quality original content
Five Part Series On Search Engine Optimization
- Part 1: Keyword Research
- Part 2: Web Site Structure
- Part 3: Meta Tags
- Part 4: Quality Original Content
- Part 5: Internal Linking
- Part 6: Acquiring External Links
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