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Optimization Techniques for Title Tags & Other Meta Tags

Meta Tags Optimization utilize techniques for optimizing your web page based on the Keyword Search conducted for a particular web site or a web page. Meta tags are information contained in the "HEAD" section of a web page. Some of the most commonly used tags are Title, Keyword and Description. Information contained only in the Title tag is seen by the visitor of that page. Title tags and Meta tag components are all information that describe your site and page to visitors and search engines. Keeping them relevant, compelling and accurate are key to ranking well.

What Are Meta Tags?

Meta tags are HTML codes that are inserted into the header on a web page, after the title tag. In the context of search engine optimization, when people refer to meta tags, they are usually referring to the meta description tag and the meta keywords tag.

The meta description tag and the meta keywords tag are not seen by users. Instead, these tags main purpose is providing meta document data to user agents, such as search engines. In addition to the well-known meta description and meta keywords tags, there are other useful meta tags, including the meta http-equiv tag, meta refresh tag, the meta robots tag, the meta copyright tag, and the meta author tag, etc. These tags are used to give web browsers and search engine spiders directions or data on various information.

Meta Title Tag

The Title tag is crucial for search engines and is one of the factors in how search engines may decide to rank your website in their results. In addition some crawlers/spiders may use the text of your title tag in their listings to describe your webpage. Your Title tag will also be used as the name in bookmarks (if not changed by the user) and in browser reverse bar.

Meta Description Tag

The description tag is your change to tell the search engines or other content readers what the page is all about. Meta description tags don't really affect the rankings of your pages, having duplicated or short tags may do! Google, for instance, will display A title line, two lines of text from the meta description (up to 160 characters/spaces) and the site URL. A short Meta Description is a lost opportunity to deliver a better message that would result in more visitors.

The advantage of using the text you create in a description tags means you get to control over your message. Think of your entry in the search engine results pages as a 'Small Ad'; searchers are more likely to click on your entry if the message is persuasive, powerful and targeted. Some search engines will index the META Description Tag. These indexing search engines may present the content of your meta description tag as the result of a search query.

Meta Keywords Tag

The META Keywords Tag is where you list keywords and keyword phrases that you've targeted for that specific page. "Use a "keyword" meta-tag to list key words for the document. Use a distinct list of keywords that relate to the specific page on your site instead of using one broad set of keywords for every page." Do not use more than seven keywords to describe the specific page.

Please Note: The META Keywords Tag used to be one of the most important areas after the title element and page description. This tag has been abused over the years by marketers and consumers alike, that the search engines have decreased the relevance of the keywords tag. In some instances, the keywords tag has been deemed irrelevant.

Other Commonly Used Meta Tags

Here is a list of other commonly used Meta tags that are generally not recommended for search engine optimization purposes.

  • Author Tag - Used for the page author's name. <META NAME="author" CONTENT="author name">
  • Creation Date Tag - Used for the date the page was created. <META NAME="date" CONTENT="date">
  • Document Character Set Tag - Used to specify the character set used in the page. <META HTTP-EQUIV="content-type" CONTENT="text/html; charset=character-set-name">
  • Revisit Tag - Used to instruct search engines to revisit a page after so many days. <META CONTENT="30 days" name="revisit-after">
  • Scripting Language Tag - Used to specify the scripting language used. <META HTTP-EQUIV="content-script-type" CONTENT="type">
  • Style Sheet Language Tag - Used to specify the default style sheet language used. <META HTTP-EQUIV="content-style-type" CONTENT="text/css">

What Is A Robots Meta Tag?

The Robots Meta tag lets you instruct search engine spiders whether they should or shouldn’t index, or archive, the page and crawl the links found on it. Some search engine robots do not recognize the robots Meta tag. Use Robots.txt files where possible.

How To Use The Robots Meta Tag

The content of the robots meta tag contains directives separated by a comma. The "index" command specifies whether a robot should index a page. The "follow" command specifies whether a robot should follow links on a page. To add a robots meta tag to a page, place the robots tag between the HEAD section of a page.

Here are some sample code and what they do:
  • Instructs spiders to index the page and follow all links: <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="index,follow"> These are the default values, so you really do not need to add the tag above.
  • Instructs spiders not to index the page, but follow all links: <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex,follow">
  • Instruct spiders to index the page, but not follow any links: <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="index,nofollow">
  • Instruct spiders to neither index the page, nor follow any links: <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex,nofollow">
  • Instruct spiders not to archive (cache) a page: <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noarchive">
  • Instruct Google’s spider (Googlebot) not to archive a page: <META NAME="googlebot" CONTENT="noarchive">

What Is A Robots.txt File?

The Robots.txt file lets you instruct search engine spiders which directories and files it is allowed to crawl and index.

When a compliant search engine robot visits a site, it first checks for a “robots.txt” file on the server. If the file exists, the robot reads the contents for instructions on what it can crawl and index. Please note that search engine robots have no obligation to follow the instructions given in the Robots.txt file. However, most search engine robots do honor them.

Why Would You Use A Robots.txt File?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to stop a search engine from crawling and indexing particular sections of your site. Examples such as - including hiding sensitive content, such as internal reports or content not ready to be published.

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