Search Case Studies by Pallab

Sunday, 12 January 2014

How to Write HTML Meta Tags for SEO

How to Write Perfect Metadata Tags for SEO
Search engine optimization for any website is fundamentally all about publishing relevant content keeping in mind that the pages are written for users and not for the search engine. Regularly updated content is another good indicator of a site’s relevancy other than basic best practices like Title Metadata & Description Metadata. Keyword Metadata was once an essential factor but in recent algorithm updates, its significance has dropped considerably. However, we can still include them with conversational phrases rather than the traditional approach of 2-3 word key phrases. But how much of this effort will actually help in with your sites SERP rankings is inconclusive.

Focus on creating a link-worthy site by the inclusion of relevant links within the text. For e.g. “Click Here” at the end of a paragraph explaining say "Yahoo Business Programs" has no search engine significance beyond the attached URL. Whereas “Yahoo Business Programs” in place of “Click Here” is a keyword rich phrase that will improve the search engine score for the website where the text was added as well as the page where the text is linking to.  

Other elemental inclusions include H1-H6 tags, alt tags or alternate text description tags for visual & video media, title attributes to add additional content onto your pages to be picked by search engines, SEO friendly URL that includes the primary keyword of the web page, quality inbound & outbound links, creating sitemap among the primaries that will justify your efforts for higher search engine rankings.

What are Meta Tags?

HTML Meta Tags are page data tags placed between the opening & closing head tags in the HTML code of a document that are capable of being read by a computer and thus telling the web browsers & other web services specific information about a web page.

The Title Tag

According to W3C, the title tag is a mandatory element for SEO that appears in the head block of a web page. Although there is much debate about the inclusion of title tag as a component of Meta Tag, there is no debate about the fact that they are an important element in the optimization scope of a web page.

Title tags must contain the primary keywords of the web page to tell the users & search engines what the web page is about and makes people decide whether to visit the site when it shows up in the search results.

Check out the following post to know all about “How to write Title Tags for Search Engine Optimization.”

The Description Meta Tag

Description Meta Tags should not ideally be longer than 155 characters (including spaces) and helps websites in three important ways:

Tells the search engine what your webpage or site is about: Writing a good description ensures that Google’s algorithm will not replace it with a machine like inaccurate version of what the page is about. It’s always preferable to describe your site to potential users using your own words. Check out this example & be the judge:

Well Written Meta Description Vs Automated Google Description
Helps with click through rates to your site: A well written description not only tells your users what is on your site but also entices them to visit your site. Sites with lesser or inaccurate description will not only result lesser click through but also demote the site in favor of other sites.

Helps with site rankings: Good description relevant to the information on a web page ensures that your site will be ranked better as compared to other sites with inaccurate or irrelevant data.

Follow three golden rules when it comes to writing a perfect description for your webpage:

·         It should be a quick summary of your content
·         It should stimulate a reason to read the content
·         It should written in less than 155 characters

Meta Tag Descriptions appear on both Google+ & Facebook social media network and therefore enhances the possibility of encouraging people to read and re-share the post, thus giving your social sharing efforts a more persuasive power.

The Keyword Meta Tags

Like we mentioned earlier, Keyword Meta tags are long lost fossils & the evolution of newer efficient search engine algorithms demands that you take these tags out of your page code to reduce page weight and load times. Only Microsoft’s Bing uses the Keywords Meta Tag to help detect spam and is best advised to never add this tag to avoid hurting your site.

Other Meta Tags

There are quite a few other Meta tags that tells the spiders when to come back, content distribution, refreshing a page or page redirection that are being vehemently advised by Google not to follow. Rather, recent updates like Schema Tagging & rich data snippets are the skylight to the future as to how your site interacts with search engines and the search spiders or bots.

Robots Meta Tags

From the perspective of implementation about what is properly & improperly implemented, the robots tag is vitally crucial as it specifies if a particular page should or should not be indexed or if you want your links to be followed & not followed by search engines for indexing & SERP rankings.

There are four vital implementations of the Robots Meta Tag:
This means that both your page will not be indexed and your links to other pages will not be followed by search engines.
This means that your page will be indexed but your links will not be followed by search engines.
This means that your page will not be indexed but the links to other pages will be followed by search engines.
This means that both your page & links will be indexed & followed by search engines.

The Charset Tag

The Charset Tag is the character encoding on your site and should be the first line of your HTML after the root & head elements and ensures that the browser knows that character encoding is doing anything else with the site. Just ensure that your HTML reads:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">

To conclude, writing the perfect HTML Meta Tags for your website will surely guarantee that you are in the good books of the search engines & their respective bots but the corroborative relation between good & bad SERP rankings purely depends on well written content. Therefore the key is to collaborate your good writing skills for both your website content and Meta Tags, and your efforts will definitely ensure the elusive rankings that we all strife for!

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