Meta Tags

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Definition of Meta Tags

We present an informative guide to meta tags and their effect on positioning your website in the search engines. This free meta tags optimization resource will help with getting better rankings in Bing, Google, and Yahoo.

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Definition of Meta Tags Meta tag guide. What are meta tags, and how to use them in website optimization for Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Website Promotion Logo

Meta Tags Optimization


What Are Meta Tags?
Meta Tags are found in the source code of your website page.
Although not as important as the actual content of a site, or the links pointing to a site, they do play an important role.


The source code controls how a webpage will look, and also contains the meta tags, which are located at the beginning of the source code in the <head> section.
Search engines can 'see' the source code, and of course the meta tags as well.


To see the source code (and metas) of any site on the internet, simply go to the top of your internet browser and do the following:

Internet Explorer:
Click on 'View', then 'Source'.
Firefox:
Click on 'View', then 'Page Source'.
You can also try right clicking with your mouse on any webpage, on any browser (including Chrome), and you may see a 'View Page Source' option.


Whatever browser you use, you generally will have a way to view the source code, and most likely will find it somewhere at the top of your browser.


To familiarize yourself with meta tags optimization and how meta tags are written, lets first take a look at some real life applications.
First, find the source code of the page you are on now (using the method described above).


As you can see, the source code for this page is as follows:
<html>
<head>
<title>Free Meta Tags Optimization | What Are Meta Tags? | Definition of Meta Tags</title>
<meta name="description" content=
"Free meta tag help and guide on meta tags. What are meta tags and their use in website optimization for Google, Yahoo and MSN." />
<meta name="keywords" content=
"meta tags, optimization, definition, what are meta tags, guide, help" />


The search engines utilize meta tags in different ways. Some use the <Description> and <Keywords> meta tags and others ignore them.

Google and Yahoo both utilize the <Description> meta tag, while generally ignoring the <Keywords> meta tag.
However, there are many minor search engines that use both, so you should utilize both of them.


Since the <Title> is not considered a meta tag, it is covered in the Website Titles » section, so lets move on to the <Description> and <Keywords> tags.


Using our furniture example from the Keywords »section, lets begin the meta tags optimization.


<Description>
The <Description> tag is used to describe an individual webpage to the search engines.
It tells the search engines what the page is about.
Be sure to use your good keywords here, in a concise and meaningful way. Use complete sentences without sounding 'spammy'.


<meta name="description" content=
"Unfinished furniture manufacturer of contemporary and modern hardwood furniture. American made furniture including bookcases, credenzas and cabinets for bedroom, living room and home." />


As you can see, we have utilized many of our important keywords.
Notice that 'unfinished' and 'manufacturer' have been combined in the first sentence. We could also write it as "Unfinished furniture manufacturer of bedroom, living room and home furniture". You can write your description however you wish, the point is to use good keyword phrases together, just as a person would type into a search engine to find your type of service or product.
Remember, we don't have to use all of our keywords here, just the ones that apply to the page we are working on.
Some search engines look at the whole <Description> while others may look at only the first line or so. So, it is best to use your best keywords in the first sentence if you can.


<Keywords>
The <Keywords> meta tag is used to tell the search engines the main keywords of a page. Don't use keywords that don't apply. Trying to trick the search engines by using non-related keywords won't help you at all, and may get you penalized. You can use a space and comma between each keyword or just a space between, either way is ok. The search engines ignore commas, but you can use them if you want.
Use the main keyword phrases first, then individual keywords in descending order. Be sure not to use the same two keywords too much.


<meta name="keywords" content=
"furniture, unfinished furniture, modern, contemporary, manufacturers, wood, bedroom, living room, home, online, bookcases, credenzas, cabinets, hardwood, made in the usa, american made, oak, wooden" />

As you can see, I used the whole keyword phrase only once (unfinished furniture), and used the other keywords without combining furniture with them (modern, contemporary, manufacturers etc.).
Using the same keyword (furniture) over and over is considered spamming.


Important Points and Tips:
Capitalization and commas are ignored by the search engines
Since each page of a website is different, you should use different meta tags on each page. Hence, you will be found in the search engines for many different keywords.
Not all sites have meta tags, as they are not mandatory. This generally means the site is not optimized yet, or for some reason the webmaster has decided not to use meta tags.


So, now that we have our <Description> and <Keywords>, lets put them all together:
<html>
<head>
<title>title here</title>
<meta name="description" content=
"Unfinished furniture manufacturer of contemporary and modern hardwood furniture. American made furniture including bookcases, credenzas and cabinets for bedroom, living room and home." />
<meta name="keywords" content=
"furniture, unfinished furniture, modern, contemporary, manufacturers, wood, bedroom, living room, home, online, bookcases, credenzas, cabinets, hardwood, made in the usa, american made, oak, wooden" />
</head>


That's it. Now you have the basic definition of meta tags optimization. Good luck!


Read more:
Website Promotion Guide »
Keywords »
Titles »
Web Page Content »
Effective Link Building »
Google AdWords Strategy »
Free Website Promotion Tools »
How to Design a Website for the Search Engines »

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