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Meta Tags for SEO – Best Practices Guide

Tom Howlett

by Tom Howlett on 23rd August 2011

Meta TagsMeta Tags are elements used on every page of a website to provide information related to the website and the individual pages of the website. Here are some common Meta tags:

1)      <title>The Title of the Page</title>

2)      <meta name=”description” content=”Description of page” />

3)      <meta name=”keywords” content=”Keywords related to page” />

Optional Tags:

4)      <meta name=”geo.position” content=”latitude; longitude“>
<meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Place Name“>
<meta name=”geo.region” content=”Country Subdivision Code“>

5)      <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow” />

6)      <meta name=”revisit-after” content=”period”>

Description

1). The title tag is for use on every page on the website. This should describe the content of each unique page and include keywords if applicable.

2). The Meta Description tag is a place where you can include a summary of the page contents.

3). The Meta Keyword tag includes keywords relevant to your website and the specific page.

4). The Geo Tags are location specific tags which can sit on each page on your website. These are for use if you have a physical location that is important for your business, for example a restaurant. They can also be used for businesses that have stores throughout the country, with Geo Tags assigned to any corresponding page for each individual location.

5). The Robots tag tells the search engine crawlers how to treat the pages of your website, Noindex will tell the search engines not to index that page. Nofollow will tell them not to follow any of the links on the page.

6). The Revisit After tag tells the search engines how often to re-visit and re-crawl the website.

Best Practises

Title, Description and Keywords

The Title tag is important and should appear on every page of the website. This should reflect the content of the page and include one or two keywords relevant to the page. The search engines bold the keywords within the Title and Description associated with the search query within the results. Each page should have individual Title tags.

The Meta Description should be descriptive and also relate to what appears on-page. These should contain keywords where relevant and be restricted to 155 characters (any additional characters will be cut off within the search engine results). The Meta Description has no/limited ranking influence within the results and therefore its job is purely to encourage a click.

The Meta Keyword tag typically includes a few keywords relevant to each page. This tag is now largely redundant and is likely to be ignored by the search engines. In the early years of SEO, this tag was largely abused by stuffing in lots of keywords, sometimes unrelated to the page content. To prevent this practise, search engines began ignoring these to prevent any manipulation of the rankings. If preferred you can add a few keywords relevant to each page, alternatively these can be left out altogether.

Geo Tags

Geo tags are generally used if your website/business is location specific. A restaurant would be a good example of this as it has a physical location relevant to the services it is offering. These are location specific and can be generated using various online tools (http://www.geo-tag.de/generator/en.html). Placed on each page of the website, these let the search engines know where you’re based and could help improve your search engine rankings for local related search terms.

Robots Meta Tag

The Robots Meta tag is used to tell the search engines how to treat certain pages of your website. For example, if you do not want the search engines to index a certain page of your website, you can use the Noindex tag. If you don’t want the search engines to follow any of the links on a specific page of your website, you can use the Nofollow tag. We recommend adding these carefully as they could prevent the indexation of important pages of your website if installed on the wrong pages or across the site.

Revisit-After Tag

The Revisit-After tag is used to tell search engines how often they should visit and crawl your website. A Blog typically is updated regularly and would benefit from being crawled more regularly by the search engines. It is better to avoid the use of this tag and leave it to the search engines to decide how regularly to crawl your website. Modern search engines are pretty advanced and are likely to be able to distinguish a static website from a blog and will automatically crawl a website more regularly if it has new content posted regularly and is relatively popular.

Tom Howlett

Tom Howlett

If you’re looking for information on Link Building then read Tom Howlett’s posts. Tom has a specialist insight into link building strategies designed to improve website’s visibility and ranking. He will help you become a master in finding new link sources.

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