META Tags Explained and How To Use Them For Ranking

The META tags are used to provide extra information about a web page. There was once a time where a good search engine ranking could be achieved by simply changing the value of the META tags. However these days are long gone. Nowadays the META Tags are decreasing in importance in the eyes of the search engines who are using more sophisticated methods of ranking pages (namely link popularity, optimized anchor text).

There are many different types of META tags but the one that can affect ranking are the Keywords META tag and the Description META tag.

Keywords META tag:

This tag contains keywords relevant to a page. In the past search engines referenced this to determine how to rank a particular page. However many people started to abuse this and stuffed the tag with keywords that were not relevant to the content of the page. This confused search engines and subsequently returned weaker search results. To combat this less and less emphasis has been placed on the Keywords META tag. However this does not mean that it is entirely useless. Here are some reasons to still include it:

* Some search engines still use it

Although most search engines do not use the tag there are undoubtedly still some that do. For this reason place around 15-20 keywords relevant to your site or page into the tag. Do not attempt to cheat the search engines by repeating keywords as this is considered spamming and they may look unfavourably on this.

* Account for misspellings of keyphrases

People can misspell certain keyphrases that you may be optimizing for so it is common to place these misspellings into the Keywords META tag. This allows you to rank in search engine results for misspellings without having to represent them on the actual content of your page.

Description META tag:

In the past this tag was used to specify the text that would appear in search engine results alongside the link to your site. Keywords could be placed into this text to influence ranking. However it was abused similar to the Keywords META tag and has befallen the same fate, meaning it is not as useful as it once was. Some search engines do not display it in their results (most notably Google, which retrieves the text from content on your page) and do not use it to rank a site. Having said that some search engines do still use it so again it is a mistake to ignore it completely.

Descriptions placed into this tag should, strangely enough, be very descriptive of the page or site they reside in. Include a few relevant keywords/keyphrases that you are optimizing for in the description and try to limit its length to 25-30 words. Also try to use no more than two sentences.

Summary:

Although not as important as they once where, the META tags can still influence a search engine when it comes to deciding whether your web page is relevant or not.

Keywords META tag:

15-20 keywords, include misspellings of keywords/keyphrases

Description META tag:

Include keywords/keyphrases, 25-30 words, no more than two sentences.

Frank Kilkelly is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Expert and Webmaster at http://www.seo-ireland.com/, a complete search engine optimization resource. The highlight of the site is an SEO forum http://www.seo-ireland.com/forum/ for discussion of the latest techniques and tips to improve the ranking of your web site.

In The News:

Can SEO Be Made Predictable?  Search Engine Journal
Can SEO Have a Negative Effect?  Search Engine Journal
SEO Hamilton  Search Engine People
What Does It Mean to ‘Do SEO’?  Search Engine Journal
My experience with SEO  Practical Ecommerce
What Is Forensic SEO?  Search Engine Journal
7 Coding Barriers to SEO Success  Practical Ecommerce
WeWork Selling Conductor SEO Company  Search Engine Journal
How an SEO Can Wreck Your Life  castlerockco.com
5 Big Content Trends for 2020  Search Engine Journal
What Is a Google Penalty in SEO?  Search Engine Journal
Google Shares Top 3 SEO Factors  Search Engine Journal
The High Cost of Ignoring SEO  Practical Ecommerce

The Secret To Getting Indexed In Yahoo

Getting indexed in Yahoo has become very difficult in the... Read More

Importance of Keywords in Links to Your Website

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very complex process. It... Read More

Pay Per Click Versus ?Organic? Search Engine Listings - The Pros and Cons and Best Uses for Each

What's the difference?For those who aren't quite clear what the... Read More

7 Simple Steps to Spy on Your Online Competition and Acheive a High Page Rank

My Grandfather ran a small Grocery Store and when you... Read More

Keyword Demand Isnt Enough

I get half of the world traffic for the term... Read More

SEO Basics - 8 Key Strategies For Online Business Success

The world of search engine optimization (SEO) can be a... Read More

Ten Critical Website and Search Engine Promotion Mistakes

When it comes to promoting your website, you might think... Read More

Link Building for Hilltop

Hilltop is one of the major concepts underpinning Google's search... Read More

Search Engine Optimization Tip: Dont Buy Anything Before You Learn More!

Thinking about purchasing that premium SEO software that will hyper-optimize... Read More

Are You Getting Nuked By Google Lately?

Since the last Google update, there have been many instances... Read More

Rock Your Rank With a Dynamite Text Link - Yahoo Directory Explodes Rankings

Last week a client called me excitedly exclaiming that their... Read More

Easy And Simple Steps To Get Listed In Search Engines

Search engines are one of THE best resource for free... Read More

Submitting Your Site to Search Engines and Directories

Regardless of which type of business you currently have, you... Read More

Easy Web Tips

How can you be found on the web?The web is... Read More

Keywords, Choose Them Wisely

By now you have likely heard that keywords and keyword... Read More

Google Bring Deskbar Search To Windows Desktop. Now Any Website Can Take Advantage Of This

Google's premier of desktop search proves that the desktop is... Read More

SEO = Search Engine Optimization, tips on successful page ranking

One of the key things to remember when developing your... Read More

Search Term Suggestion Tool

Overture.com offers a cool function to assist you on your... Read More

20 Ideas for Creating Traffic Rich, Search Engine Friendly Pages

Sometimes questions will arise around the subject of gateway information... Read More

Meta Tags - What Are They and Which Search Engines Use Them?

Defining Meta Tags is much easier than explaining how they... Read More

SEO - Google Sitemaps Explained

Once again I seem to be writing about Google. The... Read More

Link Popularity: Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

What is link popularity?Link Popularity is simply the total number... Read More

The Truth About Search Engines: Playing A Game You Cant Win

If you go strictly by the numbers, Yahoo, MSN and... Read More

Whats with the Competition? Ever Heard of Cooperation?

I attended the SES Expo in San Jose, CA the... Read More

Optimizing Your Website

Search Engine Optimization, optimizing your website for it to be... Read More