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Meta Tags (How To)

Meta tags (How To)

There is a lot of incorrect information online about Meta tags, their usage, and exactly what effect, if any, they have on the traffic to your web site.

Realistically, Meta tags do indeed work but there is more to their creation and usage than placing a bunch of keywords into the keyword tag that you want your web site to be found for and embedding them into your web pages. There are several search engines that no longer place high relevance on several of the tags but that should not stop you using them in a correct manner.

One of biggest mistakes with using Meta tags is that people do not know there must be a significant relevance between the keywords you are trying to target and the words in the visible text of the page. The keywords you are trying to target must be used through the body of the web page as well as in the title and description of that web page for it to be effective.

Locate words that people would likely use to search for your web site. Choose 3-4 primary words and create phrases from those words; then create the content of your web pages using those words and phrases. Those phrases must be in the body, the title, and the Meta description of the web page you are working on, with particular emphasis being on the body of the web page. If your web pages are already created, it would be best to totally recreate the content around the phrases you are targeting. The reasoning behind this is, it would be difficult to take a web page that is already created and then add your phrases to it. The search engines may like your added words but you have to remember there will also be people reading your web pages as well. Your content must make sense to your visitors in order to get your message across to them; a lot of good it would do you to increase your search engine presence to only learn your web pages make no sense to your visitors.

It is better to write your text around your chosen words than to just add words to text that has already been created. Writing with your targeted words and phrases in mind will allow your content to flow smoothly.

Use only keywords that are relevant to what your web site is about; this means your entire web site. Take your time in the selection of these words. You may want to use programs like Word Tracker or Keyword Spy to help you in choosing which words are actively being used to search online. You do not want to target keywords that are not popular or not being used to search through the search engines with. You may achieve a good ranking but, if people are not using those phrases you will still have no traffic.

What good is a high engine/directory ranking if your site still has no traffic?

Sit down, away from your HTML editor or whatever you use to create your web pages, and start writing the content; use a good text editor or word processor to write your content with. If you are going to use Microsoft Word, be careful when you copy and paste your text into your web documents; you may also paste in extra code that could corrupt your HTML. A text editor will not carry over unneeded characters. A good text editor will also have spell checking and a thesaurus, which will also be a tremendous help. The free ware version of NoteTab has many features that will help in creating your Meta tags, HTML, ASP, and other documents.

Make sure your key phrases are used throughout the text (this is where it gets difficult) and make sure the text makes sense to you and to other people that will read it. It may be necessary to let others read your text once it is written to get their opinions too.

The method above is oversimplified; it is the foundation for creating popular web pages that do well in the search engines. If search engine traffic is necessary and all of this makes no sense to you, or you do not have the time and desire to take this on yourself you should consider hiring a professional to optimize and write the copy for your web pages. Web Site Optimization

Popular Misconceptions
Adding the keywords tag and filling it full of words you would like your web site to be found for will bring you massive traffic; this is simply not true. It is advised to never place words in your keywords tag that are not present in the the body of the web page.

Meta tags are the cure-all for engine/directory traffic woes; also not true.

Your keywords MUST have a direct reflection on the content contained in the body of your web page; that is the very first priority. It is also very helpful to have your targeted keywords in your title and in your page description. As good rule never use keywords in your Meta keyword tag that is not contained within the visible body of your web page

One other variable that goes unnoticed in creating keywords for web sites is the fact that there must be 999 gazillion words on web pages throughout the World Wide Web. With that many words in documents indexed by search engines and directories, single keywords will not help you at all. That is why 2 and 3 word phrases should be targeted, it is also how most surfers query search engines, by using multiple word phrases.

Most search engine bots only spider so many characters in a page; the average is around 1000 characters. Search engines vary as to exactly what they read also. Some engines read the whole page, some just read the title, and others only read the end of the page. Some engines do not even use Meta data values and web directories do not spider your pages, but never let any of this get you down. Content filled web pages are always the way to go in getting traffic, and right now, it works. In a few months, all of this may change but that is not likely.

Throughout the history of the Internet, information is and will always be the key to popular web pages.

Anyone with a popular web site that is not paying for advertising or professional promotion services has had to work hard to achieve their popularity and you will have to do the same. All web site owners have had to deal with search engines changing the way they rank web pages. We have had to rebuild our web pages and rewrite the content. The reason we do so is without traffic, a web site has no success.

The Meta Tag Elements

TITLE
Is placed at the top of your <head> </head> tags in your HTML document.

Note: FrontPage and other web page creation programs places the title where it wants to in the document between the <head> </head> tags. Remember to manually move the <title> of your web page to the uppermost top, below the <head> tag.

Never use more than 80 characters in your title.

<head>
<title>The Name Of Your Page</title>
</head>

PICS
The next element is called the PICS tag or label. It is not a necessity but it does help in showing spiders and web browsers your child safe rating for your site. You get your coding from Safe Surf or I.C.R.A. {one tag for each rating resource}.
More information can be attained here http://www.w3.org/pics

<meta http-equiv="PICS-Label" content='' ">

GENERATOR
This tag tells what web-publishing tool (program) you used to create the web page. It is not a necessary tag element so you do not have to use it but most web creation programs will use it for you anyway.

<meta name="generator" content=" ">

S-Bots
This Meta tag should always be used because it instructs the search engine robot (spider) what to do with your pages.

<meta name="robots" content=" ">

ALL - index all pages (some engines have a limit on how many pages can be indexed per site) and follow the hyperlinks to other pages.

INDEX - Index the specific page but do not follow the links.

FOLLOW - The search engine robots will follow and index linked pages.

NOINDEX - Continue onto linked pages but do not index current page.

NOFOLLOW - Do not follow the associated linked documents.

DISTRIBUTION
This Meta tag designates the scope of distribution of your document. This can be used for content control. Web servers will not service a local document to web visitors.

<meta name="distribution" content=" ">
GLOBAL
LOCAL

COPYRIGHT
This Meta tag clearly states, in a manner acceptable by prevailing laws, who owns the copyright of the document text or design. You should practice using this tag on ALL web pages.

<meta name="copyright" content="date | your name or name of company">

AUTHOR
The author Meta tag is used to declare the author of the web site or web page.

<meta name="author" content=" ">

LANGUAGE
This Meta tag identifies the language of the web page context.
You can edit the tags into any valid language and country code.

<meta http-equiv="language" content="eng">
<meta http-equiv="dialect" content="us">

Rating
This Meta tag is a simple site-rating scheme. This may be obsolete because of PICS label usage.

<meta name="rating" content="">
Safe For Kids
14 Years
General
Mature
Restricted

CLASSIFICATION
This Meta tag defines the site classification. This tag can and will be used some search engines to place your site in an appropriate category.

<meta name="classification" content=" ">

DOCUMENT EXPIRES
Caches to determine when to fetch a fresh copy of the associated document can use this Meta tag.

<meta http-equiv="expires" content=" ">

REPLY TO
This Meta tag is used to identify to whom the visitor should send comments or replies. This tag can be a nuisance since e-mail harvesters will search your web pages for this tag to harvest the e-mail address for the purposes of Spam. It is not recommended to use this tag any longer.

<meta http-equiv="reply-to" content=" ">

REVISIT
This Meta tag is used to inform the search bot/web crawler when it should revisit your web document to update its index.

The recommended usage of this tag is: NO LESS THAN 30 DAYS and NO MORE than 1 year.

<meta name="revisit-after" content="30 days">

PRAGMA
This Meta tag is used to inform the browser that it should retrieve a new copy of the document versus using a cached version.

<meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache">

KEYWORDS META TAG
This Meta tag informs the search bot/web crawler what the main points are of the document it is reviewing. Never repeat any keyword more that 6 times within the keywords tag.

No more than 1000 characters in your keywords tag.
Never place words in your keywords tag that is not in the visual text of the body of your web page.

<meta name="keywords" content=" ">

Description Meta Tag
This Meta tag informs the search bot/web crawler or visitor, via a brief synopsis, what the page is all about.

No more than 200 characters should be used.

<meta name="description" content=" ">

That's it!
Need help shoot me an e-mail.

Online Meta tag generator

If you need to create Meta data for your web pages right now, use the
Meta tag generator
.


Bear and Bearz WebWorks would like to personally thank R.Yonaitis of HiSoftware for his years of mentoring and tutoring on the proper usage of Meta data.

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