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:

SEO How-to, Part 1: Why Use It?  Practical Ecommerce
SEO Tools Aren't Enough for Success  Search Engine Journal
3 Must-Know SEO Trends for Marketers  Marketing Tech Outlook
How Keywords Bring You Customers  Business 2 Community
SEO in 2020: Going Beyond Google  Search Engine Journal
5 Ways SEO & Web Design Go Together  Search Engine Journal
Google's Advice on How to Hire an SEO  Search Engine Journal
Can SEO Be Made Predictable?  Search Engine Journal
Moving a Company to an SEO Focus  Search Engine Journal

Earn with Fun by simple SEO (search engine optimization)

It all happened 3 months back, I have a blog... Read More

Opinion ? Search Engine Success

This article is actually the summary to a book soon... Read More

Anchor Text Optimization

Anchor Text (also called phrase linking) can significantly improve your... Read More

Google Contest - Nigritude Ultramarine

Search engine optimization experts are having fun with Google. Experts,... Read More

Breaking the Myth About Page Rank (PR)

The most difficult challenge most web designers face is getting... Read More

Search Engine Musical Chairs

News broke this week that Yahoo has purchased the Inktomi... Read More

Keywords, Ranking, & Search Engine Optimization Fun

I am a Search Engine Optimization newbie. I have read... Read More

Google Search Algorithm Patent Application Creates Spring Buzz!

Google applied for a patent on their ranking algorithm as... Read More

The Simple Formula To Search Engines

Search engines are one of the best tools to bring... Read More

Quick Keyword Research that Works!!!

Keywords are terms or words related to particular topic. Keyword... Read More

Easy Web Tips

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

Content Management Systems Eyeball SEOs

Content Management Systems and search engine optimization (SEO) used to... Read More

Internet Directory Submission Tips

Internet Directories and their ImportanceThere are two very pertinent reason... Read More

Top Search Engine Ranks, Part 2- Mastering the Secret- Explained

In the first part of this series on ranking at... Read More

Onpage Optimization: Essential for Effective Offpage Optimization

Onpage optimization is the process by which various elements on... Read More

Keyword Ownership: What It Is And Where Its Headed

Have you ever got one of those silly emails that... Read More

Do You Submit Your Website To All The Search Engines?

There is really only one search engine to worry about... Read More

Five Tips for Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization sounds so daunting for most young companies.... Read More

SEO #1: Choosing THE Keywords to Optimize for

This is the first lesson out of 6 that teaches... Read More

10 Minutes to Your Google Sitemap

Google's calling your name...Hi, Google here. We want to index... Read More

SEO Expert Guide - Paid Site Promotion (Marketing) (part 7/10)

In parts 1 - 6 you learnt how to develop... Read More

Creative Search Engine Optimization ? A Case Study

Search engine optimization this and search engine optimization that. You... Read More

Why Fear? Now Change Your Filenames Without Disturbing Search Engines/Visitors And Rank Well

By now, you know that to rank well in the... Read More

Achieving Better Search Engine Optimization

The search engine giants are locked in an all out... Read More

Keyword Research And Overture

Many of us who build websites get in the habit... Read More