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Meta Tags & Meta Tag Tips

The Truth About Meta Tags

Meta tags alone are not the answer to all problems. In fact many leading search engine optimization experts are phasing out in the usage of some meta tags, why? When the web was small these meta tags were great tools to help organize the web.

Why Meta Tags Are Not Extremely Important

As the web grew, so did the potential to exploit it and commercial greed caused "spammers" to abuse the meta keyword tag and meta description tag by putting unrelated words in these tags, some many times over. If you look at some real third tier web search engines that allow people to place their own data description in the engine today, you see what was happening to the entire web not that long ago. ExactSeek comes to mind as a good example of a spammed out search engine.

The web was on the brink of becoming useless if it did not stop the spammers. Consequently the value of the meta keyword tag has dropped. Most major search engines say they do not even support the keywords tag anymore, They rely on the page content to pick up the slack for this area looking at page focus and consistency.

My Lack of Meta Tags

On Google I achieved a #5 listing for a competitive term in a competitive field on a page with zero PageRank and only a page title ( I had no meta tags on the page.) Meta tags mean very little in Google's algorithm; however, Yahoo! places more weighting on meta tags.

Overview of Meta Tags

Meta tags are somewhat important, but they are a piece of the pie. Page title and linkage data are the two most important elements in most major search algorithms. A well optimized site has great content, is easy to navigate, has specific content, has great focus, and in due time the combination of the above and incentives or providing a useful service will even help develop link popularity and better rankings.

Review of Page Title, Meta Tags, and Other Tags

  • Page Title Tag - Not a meta tag, but still goes in the same part of the page code. Displayed on search results and at the very top of the browser. Page title is usually the single most important text on the page.
  • Meta Description Tag - A sentence to a paragraph describing the page content. Is sometimes displayed in search results under the page title.
  • Meta Keywords Tags - Not displayed to viewer or in search results. Ignored by most search engines. Not super important. Yahoo! uses it to help include pages into search results when the text is not on the page. Misspellings and stuff like that should go in the meta keywords tag.
  • Comments Tags - Used to help break up programming. States what each part of a complex program does. No good for SEO purposes as they are ignored by most search engines.
  • Meta Refresh Tags - Used to redirect the browser to another page. When possible it is better to use a 301 redirect.
  • Robots Exclusion Tags - Used to prevent robots from spidering certain pages or your entire site.
  • Other Meta Tags - Meta tags not covered in the above short list.
  • IMG Alt Tags - Used to tell visually impaired people what an image represents. IMG Alt tags act similary to anchor text. Don't forget to use a period at the end of your IMG Alt tags.
  • Make Meta Tags - Our free web based meta tag generator.

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