To Meta or Not to Meta, That is the Question
Some people seem to ignore the creation of Metadata on their site. Perhaps it is not knowing what Metadata is, or possibly it is believing that search engines do not care about the information. . . WRONG.
You need and want to remember to use Metadata on your site or you are losing a valuable opportunity to market your site to Google, Yahoo and other search engines.
There are a good number of Meta Tags available for your use. While it is true that over the years many Meta Tags have fallen into disuse by the search engines, some are still very important to your site.
So what exactly is a Meta Tag?
Meta Tags are special HTML features that were originally set up to allow the site owner to tell the search engine spiders what the site was about, why the site was special, and when to display the site.
As a matter of heritage, there are tags to tell the computer who the site author is, who owns the copyright on the site, what the site abstract is, when the site content expires and much, much more. Many of these features are now of marginal significance from an SEO perspective, but there are three Meta items that are VERY important to site search engine optimization.
It is extremely important to provide:
A Meta Title
A Meta Description on every page
A list of Meta Keywords for every page
These items are important. The first two will be displayed to people finding your site; all three are used by the search engines to determine how your site will be positioned in a search.
What and Where Are Things Displayed?
When the Meta Title and Meta Descriptions are displayed, they can entice or discourage visitors. When you use a search engine, such as Google, you receive a list of sites that Google believes meet your needs. Though Google reserves the right to use poetic license in displaying information about your site, the list of sites tends to be represented by a display of the Meta Title on the first line, followed by the Meta Description.
If you haven't created a Meta Title or Meta Description, Google may find your site less desirable for display. In the event that it does display your site, it will create its own random interpretation of your site. This can sometimes be way off base.
Wouldn't you rather be in control of your site's first impression? If you say the right things in the Title and Description, then those viewing the search list may be more inclined to visit your site. Once there, they will see the contents of the Meta Title in the top border of the browser display window. Take the time to create a Title and Description that does each page of your site justice.
Cumulatively, the Meta Title, Meta Keywords and Meta Description help Google determine if your site should be displayed when people enter a search phrase. The Description, Title and Keywords give you the opportunity to tell the search engines when you would like to be listed. When you provide a keywords list, you give Google its first glimpse of when you believe the search engine should send people to your site. The Title and Description are the first places on your site where you can reassure the search engine that you are serious/sincere about items in your keyword list.
For example, you can indicate that you want visitors that are looking for "real estate," "properties," "homes for sale," "homes for rent" and more. This provides Google with your opinion; then Google will search your site to determine if you provide enough information in those areas, or topics, to warrant displaying your site for those search results
Don't Leave Google Guessing
If Google agrees with you on the keywords, Google will schedule you for display in some listings. If Google believes you have not justified your representation of having content relative to a keyword, Google will ignore your request to display your page for the suggested keyword in your list.
However, even more important, if you have spent the time determining what your keywords are, you have a better chance of correctly creating page content that reflects the keywords. You can intentionally focus your content to clearly indicate your expertise relative to the keywords or phrases.
Once you have determined your keywords, your first chance to impress the search engines that you are interested in visitors for those keywords is through your title and your descriptions. If you reference "selling a home" as a keyword/phrase, you should reinforce this concept in the title and the descriptions.
The title and keywords should clearly reference "selling a home" as a key concept on this Web page. Not only will that make it clear to the viewer of your title and description when the search engine lists your site, but the search engine will be more inclined to add you closer to the front of the list because it "sees" that content in your site and believes that viewers will see it, too.
Believe it---insertion of quality title and description helps to adjust your Website position closer to the top of the search engine listings.
Meta Data Tip #1
Some SEO experts believe that the keyword list helps Google to determine if you are an honest/honorable site . . . if you make claims in your keywords list that you do not substantiate, you are marked down, if you meet the search engines expectation on all items listed in your keyword list you are given a better position in the display listing.
On every page, always create your keyword list honestly. NEVER insert a keyword that you do not justify on the page you create. Only use keywords that are significant to the page and you will receive a much better rating.
Meta Data Tip #2
Every page of your site has an equal opportunity to be placed on the first page of a search listing. A page's location in a site does not influence whether or not it can be placed in the locations 1, 2, or 3 of a search.
Don't think that you must have all of your keywords on the main page of your site. Place your keywords where they belong in your site, bringing any page that is appropriate to the front of the search engine's attention.
Besides, if you have someone looking for an "ocean front property," why should they have to start at the top of your Website, and then click four buttons to locate ocean front properties when you can direct them immediately to the ocean front properties they are looking for?
People may bounce off your site less frequently if they are taken directly to what they are looking for without having to search for the information. Additionally, if you can raise more than just your main page to the front of search engine results, your entire site gains credibility as a valuable commodity; all of your pages may get even better ranking by association.
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