Don’t be frightened by the weird ‘techie’ name, although META Tags are part of HTML coding, they are easy to understand.
In the past, professional SEO services were primarily concerned with three aspects of the <head> portion of a website, these were: Title, keywords, and description. Now SEO is primarily concerned with only three: Title and description. Some claim that the keywords META tag has fallen out of favor on most search engines and will not help increase your site’s ranking. I tend to believe that its best to cover all your bases, and, assuming search engines still place some value on the keywords META, it can’t hurt your site to include keywords. Also, since SEO is in a constant state of flux, it’s possible the keywords META tag will one day be favored by Search Engines. Who knows.
The Title Tag
The title tag appears near the very top of your HTML code (generally within the first ten lines of code) and will look something like this: <title>Web Page Title</title> …that’s it. Naturally, you’ll want to change the ‘web page title’ portion to something that describes your web page. This will normally be the keyword phrase for which you are optimizing the page. So, if you intend to optimize the page for ‘used cars baltimore’ then input this title tag: <title>Used Cars Baltimore</title>, just make sure the Title describes what is actually on the page. That’s about it for the Title Tag.
META Keywords Tag
Here’s a sample keywords tag from a car dealer I did work for:
<meta name=“keywords” content=“ford dealer, ford vehicles, certified ford, St. Louis MO, Missouri, sunset ford, ford dealership, new car, used car, used truck, new truck used van, new van, new Ford, used Ford”>
The included keyword and keyword phrases are those phrases that Search Engine users may use when trying to find your site. DON’T include words that are not descriptive of your site, this is deceptive, and deception is never a good idea in SEO, as it leads to black hat tactics.
Keep these keywords in mind when writing your SEO copy and try to use each at least once.
META Description Tag
META tags are unnecessary for the overall coding of your site and most META tags serve no SEO purpose whatsoever. The META description tag, however, provides vital information to Search Engines and those who use them. The META description appears beneath a page link on SERPs (search engine results page). Let’s take ebay’s listing for example:
eBay – New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles…
((Buy and sell electronics, cars, clothing, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods, digital cameras, and everything else on eBay, the world’s online … ))
www.ebay.com/ – 74k – Cached – Similar pages – Note this
All text contained within the (( )) is called a snippet. If you don’t have a META description on your site, the snippet will be pulled from other sources, including the Open Directory Project (ODP), dmoz.org, or it will pull text directly from your content. A META description basically tells search engines what to place in this snippet. You should include the most important keyword phrases for your site; however, don’t stuff the description with so many keywords that it is unreadable. Try to make your description stand out in some way…this is your advertisement pitch to search engines users.
Some META descriptions convert better than others, so if you’re not getting the amount of visitors to your site, consider revising your description.