Website visibility: Choosing the right meta tags
Having a website is an important step towards gaining more exposure for your business. Once it is up and running, how will it reach your target audience?
Most people find websites with the help of a search engine or directory; your website must be properly listed and accessible to users. Registering it with the major search engines and directories takes time and effort, but if the process is done properly your rankings will be higher, resulting in more traffic. Using the correct metadata, such as proper titles, descriptions and keywords, positively affects how search engines rank your website.
Recognized by every major search engine, this is the most important meta tag. A key factor in getting a high ranking, the title ensures that the correct name of your website will appear above the summary in a search engine listing.
Including relevant keywords in the title can also help your website rank higher in search engine listings. However, do not write a full-length explanation (like that found in the description), and do not simply insert a line of terms (like those found in the keywords).
Summarize your page concisely for search engines by using the description meta tag. This appears in the search engine as the summary under the title of your page. Write a description that is about 100 to 200 characters in length (about 30 words).
When you compose the description:
- Be thoroughly familiar with the website's content.
- State the functions or services of your website clearly and concisely.
- Treat your description like advertising copy. Use words to attract visitors.
- Incorporate as many keywords as you can into the description.
These are terms that represent a page's content. If you use any of these in an Internet search, the search engine will then seek out any pages featuring these terms as keywords and grab those pages as a match. Because each search engine grabs a different number of keywords, ensure that your keywords appear in order of importance.
It is recommended that you use a maximum of twenty keywords. If you have more, some search engines will ignore the remaining keywords, give you a lower ranking, or delete you from the list entirely.
When you compose the keywords:
- Anticipate the keywords that your target audience will probably use for a search.
- Place the most important keywords first in the list. Search engines often give them more weight.
- Decide on the best use of a word. Should it be singular, plural, or both? Should you use a phrase instead of a single term?
- Don't repeat keywords. Excessive repetition is called keyword spamming; all major search engines penalize you by ignoring your website or refusing to index the page if you do this.
- Don't include inappropriate or misleading keywords (e.g. money) simply to generate traffic.
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