Meta Tags

Meta Tags are one of the most important things in keeping your site current with search engines.

META Tags


Meta tags provide a useful way to control your summary in some search
engines. Meta tags can also help you provide keywords and descriptions on pages
that for various reasons lack text. Examples are splash pages and frames pages.
They might also boost your page’s relevancy. However, simply including a meta
tag is not a guarantee that your page should suddenly leap to the top of every
search engine listing. They are a useful tool but, as said above, not a magic
solution.


To figure all of this out, let’s construct an example and look at each
piece of it. Let’s go to AltaVista and search for a frog site…


OK. Here we are at AltaVista. I’ve searched for ‘frogs’ and on page 6 of
the response I found this entry:


Pet Exotic -Frogs
Frogs ] White’s Tree Frog (Pelodryas
caerulea) $20. 2 @ $15 each / 5+ @ $12.50each. [ Back to Top
]
http://www.herp.com/pet/frog.html – size 628 bytes – 11 Apr
96


Isn’t that informative? After looking through 6 pages of listings for
frogs, would you run over to this site? The person that spent his or her hard
earned spare time to build that page should get a better reward for that much
hard work.


What went wrong?


Obviously, the search engine took the first stuff it found that looked
like text instead of HTML. It did the best it could with really limited
information. The author of the page just didn’t construct the page to be
indexed by search engines. Let’s fix it a piece at a time.


The title isn’t bad. It does give some information. But it could be
better. Remember, most search engines give more weight to words found in the
TITLE, especially if those words are also found in the body of the text. So, a
better TITLE might be: Pet Exotic Frogs For Sale: White’s Tree Frog – Pelodryas
caerulea This is much more informative and likely to generate more solid
keywords in the search engines. Especially if we refer to these same words in
the body of the page (or in our other heading sections.) Here’s what we have so
far:


Pet Exotic Frogs For Sale: White’s Tree Frog – Pelodryas caerulea


Now, let’s give the search engines that don’t use meta tags some copy to
look at that we want used in the description. We do this by placing a short
comment into the page after the TITLE tag. Now our page looks like this:




Pet Exotic Frogs For Sale:<br /> White’s Tree Frog – Pelodryascaerulea


This takes us to your first meta tag: Description. We now give the search
engines that use meta tags the description of the page that we want to have
displayed when our page comes up in a search. Don’t make it too long, as the
engines will only give a limited amount of text.




Pet Exotic Frogs For Sale:<br /> White’s Tree Frog – Pelodryascaerulea

Name=description Content=Best prices on pet exotic frogs anywhere on the
internet. These White’s Tree Frogs can be shipped overnight to arrive healthy
and happy. Order online today.>


Now we have told the engines what to say about our site, but we still
want to tell them what keywords we would like to be found under. Please
DON’T put keywords in here just to get traffic. Imagine that you are
running a restaurant. Your sign outside can bring in lots of look-e-loos, but
if they don’t buy, they just get in the way. They take uptime and space that
could be used to take better care of your real customers. Measure your success
by sales (or whatever is relevant to your site) and not by pounds of visitors
you con into coming to your site.


Current thinking is that when it comes to metatags, less is more.
Overloading your keyword meta tag with a diverse collection of keywords only
waters down their impact on your rankings. Try using only 5 to 7 keywords on
each page, but use different ones on different pages.




Pet Exotic Frogs For Sale:<br /> White’s Tree Frog – Pelodryascaerulea

Name=description Content=Best prices on pet exotic frogs anywhere on the
internet. These White’s Tree Frogs can be shipped overnight to arrive healthy
and happy. Order online today.>
Content=frog,white’s tree frog,petfrog,frogs for sale,online sales,online
order,on line order,pet exoticfrog,exotic frog>


Now our entry in the Alta Vista results should look something like
this:


Pet Exotic Frogs For Sale:White’s Tree Frog – Pelodryas
caerulea

Best prices on pet exotic frogs anywhere on the internet. These
White’s Tree Frogs can be shipped overnight to arrive healthy and happy. Order
online today
http://www.herp.com/pet/frog.html – size 1628 bytes –
11 Feb 97


We have now built a good heading for our page that will give better
information to any search engine that stops in to look us over. We have given
our search words, a short description, put good searchwords in the title.
Things are looking pretty good. Now we should have a better chance of being
indexed correctly, and we haven’t Spammed. We haven’t overloaded our page with
keyword repetitions that could get us penalized. And even the engines that stop
short on a page will find us.


Oh, didn’t I mention that some of the robots and spiders stop when they
run into certain things on a page. Some stop when they run into a JAVA applet.
Building a good header like the one above means the spider will have found
enough information ahead of the applet to give you a meaningful entry.


But, which search engines will this help with? Let’s take a look:



  • AltaVista


    • Meta tags supported? Yes

    • Spamming penalty? Yes


    Excite


    • Meta tags supported? Description tag only

    • Spamming penalty? Yes


    HotBot


    • Meta tags supported? Yes

    • Spamming penalty? Yes


    InfoSeek


    • Meta tags supported? Yes

    • Spamming penalty? Yes


    Lycos


    • Meta tags supported? No

    • Spamming penalty? Yes


    Northern Light


    • Meta tags supported? No

    • Spamming penalty? No


    Web Crawler


    • Meta tags supported? Description tag only

    • Spamming penalty? Yes




If you are having a hard time creating your own META Tags the following
sites will generate them for you for free: