"4 Reasons to Laugh at People who aren't Using Meta Tags"
Using meta tags is crucial for a web page, not just for search engines and telling them a bit about your pages but also for human visitors. Whilst it's true that visitors cannot see your Meta information when on the page, it still forms on of the most important 'pulling factors' in getting people to click-through to your website. Using meta tags is VITAL!
Can you afford to let targeted traffic pass you by? Read on...
#4 - for Title Tags
So often I have seen websites with 'Homepage' written in their title or even nothing. These days, most viewers use browsers that allow for multi-tabbed surfing - and so there may at times only be your title showing. What does 'Homepage' mean to them?
Your headline must be a compelling, snappy line of keyword-focused text that will draw the surfer back to your site. The funny thing is that you've already acquired the visitor, but without calling them back to your site, you've effectively "lost them".
#3 - for Directory listings
When submitting to directories, you often get the opportunity to say a bit about your website. Left blank, your website description will more often than not be your meta description. Your meta description will probably be viewed by directory editors anyway to help them assess your site.
Therefore, your meta description must be as interesting as possible and tick all the right boxes for a directory editor. If your meta description is boring, non-descriptive or so generalized that it means nothing - your not going to impress; funny, since you've already put in the effort to submit your site.
#2 - for Search Engine Optimization
If someone paid me for each time I hear 'meta tags are dead' when it comes to SEO I would be able to retire in my teens. Meta tags aren't dead, they're merely abused. Take a selection of sites and I bet you each will have 10+ keywords or keyword phrases in their description boxes; and more often than not they'll be separated terms for example "search engine optimization, optimization, services" when they should consist of conjoined keyword phrases such as "seo services, search engine optimization services uk, search engine service" etc.
But search engines do take note when you're using meta tags. Whilst the meta keywords are so often abused with junk that really doesn't tell Google much about the webpage, meta descriptions and meta titles form an important part of letting search engines know what you are on about.
-->> 3 Meta Tag SEO Tips:
i) Make sure your keywords all match up. The first keyword in your meta keywords list (which Google will take note of) should feature in your meta title and meta description at least once, preferably towards the beginning (search engines read from left to right). Don't feature the keyword in your meta title and description more than twice though - that could be perceived as "keyword spamming".
ii) Always include your other meta keywords within your page. Don't just spam the keyword list with everything you can think of or any keywords from your research which fit. They have to have something to do with the page
iii) Keep meta keywords tidy - at the very maximum include 5 keywords; see point ii.
Using Meta Tags are the only form of on-page criteria that forms any SEO in some cases. YouTube is the world's second largest search engine - but it cannot read it's own content. Users headlines, descriptions and "tags" are the only on-page factors that the original poster has direct influence over (comments and ratings perhaps form another part, but it isn't "direct" so to speak).
"Yes, but what about Google..."
Google can only 'read' static, text content; so when it comes across flash or graphic-intensive webpages it relies on meta tags to figure out what the page is about from the webmasters point of view.
What's funny about meta tags? It's that many "SEOers" will invest thousands in improving rankings whilst leaving basics such as meta tags untouched.
Think of baking a cake - you have all the right ingredients, except salted butter. However fantastic the recipe and your baking skills the end result will be pretty shocking!
** I mention this only because my sister has baked me a salted-butter cake. Yeah..
#1 - for Search Engine Results
What dumbfounds me most though is that meta titles and descriptions form the basis of your search engine results. This is where visitors make their impulse decisions over where to click.
Let's put this in context - people spend huge amounts of time and money making fractional changes to paid internet adverts such as Google AdWords ads which show up in Google's search results; and yet, people don't take care over their free listings!
Your meta title and description should essentially be treated like an advert for your page - why should people click-through? "Well, because..."
Can you afford for traffic to pass you by, despite having fantastic search engine rankings. Just like in the offline world; you can invest in the best shop location but if people have no reason to go into your shop then you're not going to have any business!
That is perhaps the most funny thing of all about using meta tags - people neglect their potential. Go onto Google and compare the precision of the paid adverts versus the editorial listings. And the only reason that people don't bother is that they're not paying...
Well the truth is you are paying! That traffic is passing you buy day in, day out. Those visitors, those potential clients and customers - is using meta tags going to effect your bottom line? Almost definitely.
Funny isn't it?
Read my 4-Part 'Search Engine Optimization Success Stories' Case Study
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