Search Engine Optimisation Technique – Titles and Meta Tags Guidelines

In the early days of of search engine promotion and optimisation, everyone was focused on meta-tags as the primary way to get on top of search engine rankings for building more traffic. Meta-tags are HTML tags that help describe the document they are located within. Today we know that search engines not only look at meta-tags, but a sites content, internal link structure and link popularity.

Meta-tags are still an important and major tool for achieving successful search engine ranking and getting listed on high position on search engine results. Search engines focus on three primary tags to help them determine the relevance of a website for a particular search phrase.

The Title Tag is one of the most important tags for a search engine. As that suggests iteself, the Title Tag should describe exactly what the document contains. It should contain keywords, but not repeats, of terms you hope to be found for. It should also be as readable as possible. You must consider that the Title Tag will be the first thing someone sees if you appear in a search result.

Too often, companies or individuals focus on making sure their company name or proper name appears in every Title Tag on their website. Imagine walking into an immense library that contained millions of books all with the same title. You would go crazy and never find what you were looking for.

The Title Tag should be no longer than 80 characters and should contain words and phrases that accurately describe the content of a page. Try to make the Title Tags located throughout your site unique and relevant. Every word in the Title should be contained somewhere in the page they are used for. Research has also shown that a call to action will usually produce more clicks than a basic description.

Example for this page:

<TITLE>Title Tags, Meta Keywords, and Descriptions – Bridport Web Design Guidelines</TITLE>

The website log files proves to be a good tool for deciding the keywords of your website, with a tool like WebTrends, and determine the top keywords that people are finding your site with today. You can then fine tune your Title Tags throughout your website to reflect popular terms that you are highly relevant for. This will only show you the keywords you are performing well for today. There are likely many terms that won’t show up in your log files. You’ll want to research those using tools from Overture or WordTracker.

The next tag that search engines use to determine relevance is the Description Tag. The description for a website is a 250 character explanation of the page and its contents. It should contain keywords and phrases you hope to be found for, but it should also read like an introductory lead-in for the topic or service you are highlighting. The Description Tag is another call to action.

Example for this page:

<META name= »description » content= »Visit Bridport Web Design The UK Based Web Designers, META keywords and descriptions for your web pages. »>

The Description and Title Tag together should be compelling enough to generate a click through from a search result. You have to think from a search engine visitor’s brain and position. They are looking for something very specific. The description you provide for your page has to convince the person that you are providing exactly what they are looking for. If a user comes to your site and the Title and Description Tags is not accurately match the content they actually find, you are less likely to be considered a reputable source of information. In short it has to be more user-friendly and not the search engine oriented.

The next thing is the meta-tag that is important to search engines is the Keyword Tags. Keyword Tags should contain less than 250 characters including spaces and use important keywords and phrases consistent with the HTML Body Text and Page Title. No single word should be used more than twice.

Keyword Tags should contain realistic keyword terms that you hope to compete for. The more generic the term you include in your keywords, the more likely you are to be swimming in an ocean of 7 million other documents. Being specific and accurate are the ingredients to success with keywords. It’s important that any keywords you use in your meta-tags actually exist in the pages they are used for.

Example:

<META name= »keywords » content= »title tags meta keywords descriptions and guidelines »>

Titles and Description tags are the most important tags that search engines consider to determine relevancy. Search engines also need to be able to successfully crawl your website so that they can include them in their database. That’s where your link architecture becomes very important. Read more about link architecture here.

Here’s a quick checklist to consider when writing tags:

Title:

  • Provides call to action – YES/NO?
  • Contains less than 80 characters – YES/NO?
  • Uses important keywords and phrases – YES/NO?
  • Describes what the page is about – YES/NO?
  • Consistent with other content components – YES/NO?

META Keywords

  • Contains less than 250 characters – YES/NO?
  • Uses important keywords and phrases – YES/NO?
  • Minimal repetition of individual words – YES/NO?
  • Consistent with other content components – YES/NO?

META Description

  • Provides call to action – YES/NO?
  • Contains less than 250 characters – YES/NO?
  • Uses important keywords and phrases – YES/NO?
  • Describes what the page is about – YES/NO?
  • Consistent with other content components – YES/NO?