Are you telling the search engines what your site is about?
Meta data is the language used to tell the search engine exactly what your site is about. This is one part of getting your website to rank for certain keywords in the search engines. Would you believe me if I said that not all websites even bother to put meta data on their pages and as a direct consequence are suffering in the SERP’s.
Well fortunately this blog post is a lesson in Meta Data, its contents, which words to pick and how to implement it for a variety of businesses. It goes beyond the call of duty and tells you way more than your content management systems will let you do.
To start with, go to your website, right click on your mouse, and click on the view page source. Now don’t panic, it might look like complete nonsense, but it’s not. It’s the heart and soul of your website. You are looking for three initial standard meta data in between two < HEAD > tags:
- Meta Title <Title> Your keyword related title here up to 70 characters </Title>
- Description <Meta name=”description” content=”Promote your business here in 160 characters”.>
- Keywords: <Meta name=”keywords” content=”Between 4 and 8 targeted keywords, one of which appears 3 times on the page content, separate by commas,”>
Hopefully you’ve managed to spot them. Most content management systems will let you add and change these on individual pages. These include Joomla, Droopal, WordPress and even the 1and1 sites newly available. Title each page, describe each page and use keywords that relate to the page. Do not ‘Keyword Stuff’ as it won’t help. Keywords are not used for ranking in Google, but are used by other search engines so do add them. It doesn’t take long. The more targeted one page is to one set of keywords the better it will rank in the search engines. If you broaden to 4, the effect will be diluted.
The three listed above are the industry standard and should be on every webpage you build. So what other meta data should you have as a minimum? I’ve highlighted a selection of other meta tags with their uses below.
Meta Robots: Tell the search spiders/crawlers what pages to index by implementing the robots meta title. Essential.
Acceptable tags are:
<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”index, nofollow”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”all”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”none”>
Explanations of each are:
index: Allows the spider to index the page the tag is on.
Noindex: Prevents the spider indexing the page.
Follow: allows the spider to follow the links on the page to index them.
Nofollow: Prevents the spider from following the links on the page.
All: same as “index, follow”.
None: Website does not get crawled and indexed.
Most websites will use the “index, follow” tag.
If your site regularly has content added, events updated, new blog posts, then you want Google to come back to check the updates and index the pages. This is done using the “revisit-after” tag.
<meta name=”revisit-after” content=”14 days”>
To aid the local ranking I’m going to add a “city” and “country” tag
<meta name=”city” content=”Southampton”>
<meta name=”country” content=”United Kingdom”>
<meta name=”author” content=”Brendan Smith”>
To go a step further, you can add the geo position using the following tools. No one is giving this information away, and search engines are starting to use it.
Note: sites with frames, the meta tags need to be added to the top-level page with the <frameset> tag.
Use the webpage http://en.mygeoposition.com to find the coordinates.
<meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Southampton SO14 5FE, UK” />
<meta name=”geo.position” content=”50.899095;-1.392982″ />
<meta name=”geo.region” content=”Hampshire” />
<meta name=”ICBM” content=”50.899095, -1.392982″ />
<meta name=”copyright” content=”BMSEO Consulting Ltd”>
There are many more tags available for use to specific websites, and with schema bringing in Micro-data
tags to expand listings in the Search Engine results, make sure you’re tags are up to date and promoting your business. Failure to do so is not maximizing the potential of your website.