How to Use Meta Tags for Search Engine Optimization
Statistics show that only one of every four Web Sites have Meta tags. However, using these tags can give your site an advantage over other sites that do not. Meta tags enable most visitors to initially find your site from the search engines.
What Are Meta Tags?
These are HTML tags that provide information that describes the content of the web pages that the visitor will be viewing. Web Site owners use this resource to control their positioning and descriptions in the search engines. Most search engines incorporate reading meta tags as part of their indexing formula.
Where To Place Meta Tags
They should go between the <head> and </head> tags in your html page.
Types Of Meta Tags
The Doctype tag or DTD (Document Type Definition) tag precedes the opening <HTML> tag. It is generally the first element to be used on any page. It distinguishes the version of HTML in use from other versions of HTML and tells the browser what tags to expect when laying out the page.
<!doctype html public "-//wc3//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">
If a browser doesn't understand a tag, it just ignores it. This, in effect, renders <!doctype> useless. For the proponents of strict standardization, a statement like <!doctype> would ensure standardization. If a browser didn't recognize the statement, it could ignore the page.
META Tags and Document Identification
The syntax for the tag is:
<meta name="namevalue" content="contentvalue"> or
The <META> tag requires the CONTENT attribute and adds either the NAME or HTTP-EQUIV attribute. These define the general information you are creating or changing in the document, and the CONTENT attribute defines the value of the general information.
<META HTTP-EQUIV> tags are equivalent to HTTP headers. To understand headers, you must understand the process that occurs when you use a Web browser to request a document from a Web server. You request information using your browser and the Web Server receives your request via HTTP, the standard Web protocol. When the server finds the page you requested, it generates an HTTP response. The initial data in that response is called the HTTP header block. This header gives the Web browser information useful for displaying the page.
Common Examples of the HTTP-EQUIV Attribute Value
Language META Tag
<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="en">
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=windows-1252">
Expires META Tag
<meta http-equiv="expires" content="Tue, 04 Dec 1993 21:29:02 GMT">
Refresh META Tag
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="seconds;url=http://www.website.com/index.html">
Common Examples of the HTTP-NAME Attribute
Keyword Tag Search
Ensure you choose keywords that are relevant to your site. Avoid excessive repetition as many search engines will penalize your rankings for attempting to abuse their system. Search engines give priority to the first few words in your description, so focus on your main keywords and then elaborate further by using synonyms or other related words.
<meta name="keywords" content="keyword1,keyword2,keyword3">
Keyword values are usually separated by commas. The maximum keyword allowance is 1000 characters, however, it is believed that anything over 255 characters is ignored.
<meta name="description" content="This camping site is about outdoor camps">
Keep this description to no more than 25 words (maximum allowance is 150 characters). Not all search engines recognize this tag.
Don't let your site be one of the four web sites on the Web that do not have Meta Tags. Optimize it now, so you have a greater chance to be listed in the search engines. Getting listed, will bring more traffic which may mean more sales.
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