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META Tag Overview

Here is our general overview of META Tags, what they are and how to use them. Plus a little history which explains why they are a little tricky to do right.

META Tags are used to help catalog and categorize the contents of a web page. They are not seen by your visitors, but instead seen only by search engines. In theory the search engines could just extract this information and include it in their database as it contains all the necessary information to catalog and categorize a web page. However, this simple idea simply does not work. The reason is that like almost all areas of endeavor people are more likely to try and cheat the system than follow the rules. If we could get everyone to follow one simple rule it would make life on the web and life in general a whole lot easier. The rule: "Everybody has to be honest".

Well we know that‘s not going to happen so lets discuss how the system works in reality. No one knows how a search engine works, and I mean no one. There is not "a programmer" that knows how they work. These systems have become very large and very complex. The majority of the search engine developers time and effort is spent trying to keeping ahead of the liars and cheaters. We won‘t go into all the ways that have been used to try and trick the search engines, but if you look at other sites about web site promotion I‘m sure you see them touting some latest loophole they‘ve found to cheat the search engines to get your site to the top of the list. If ‘the trick‘ is more than a day old and it really works you can be certain that the search engine programmers are busy trying to find a way to identify the cheating sites and exclude them from the search engine. More time and effort is spent trying to cheat the search engines than in creating quality sites.

So how do you get your site listed in the search engine? First and foremost create the best site you possibly can. Part of this process is to create META Tags. You may have trouble figuring out what to put in your META Tags. Which keywords do I use? Use words that fit the contents of your site. Say you created a site about Sam Jones. Sam likes surfing, volleyball and hot dogs. Use ‘Sam Jones‘ in your title, description and in your list of key words. If you do that then your site will be more heavily weighted on Sam Jones and less on surfing, volleyball and hot dogs. The search engines will search the contents of your page to see if you indeed talk about Sam Jones.

To achieve a high position in the
search engines it is best to concentrate on a small number of words and include them in the title, description and keyword META tags as well as at the start of your web page. As more keywords are added, the relevance of each is diluted resulting in a lower score by the some search engine algorithms.

Avoid the temptation to stuff too many words in your META tags and avoid repeating your keywords as this may be considered spamming by some engines resulting in your site being blacklisted, penalized or banned.

Some search engines concentrate on only the <TITLE> tag and very little else. Site builders have reported that Altavista works in this manner. Some search engines ignore the META tags altogether and concentrate on the body of the web site. Including your keywords in the top line of text on the page can help for situation.

Remember no matter what you do to optimize your page for one engine today may not take the same page to the top spot in another
search engine or even the same search engine in the future. So if you‘re not willing to spend your full time keeping up with the changing search engine technology then just keep it simple and honest and the search engines will eventually find a way to find you. After all their goal to find the best sites on the net.

Consider the case when Geo Cities first came online and caused thousands of pages to be created. Barely related pages from Geo Cities would come up constantly on your searches, but they don‘t anymore. How come? Did those pages disappear? Not likely. A simple solution would be to simply exclude Geo Cities from the search. But what about great sites on Geo Cities? One solutions that works well for search engines is to check the sites popularity? What do they mean by popularity? It‘s not actually how many times the site is visited. After all the search engines themselves are sending users to the pages. They judge the popularity of a site by how many links exist to your site. The theory is that if a human checked out your site and thought it was worthy enough to put an actually link to it then it must have some content of value. So this again leads us to fact that your site must have value.

Another type of ‘Search Engine‘ which is not really a search engine at all is a human edit directory. How much would bet that the search engines check out these human edited directories to add weight to sites listed in them? These are great place to get you site listed. Remember at the heart of (under all the new bells and whistles) of Yahoo lies the granddaddy of human edited directories. Some people swear that this directory never get updated anymore, but it does. It‘s just take a very very long time to get listed. And I‘m sure that is electronically assisted. In other words they don‘t look at site that aren‘t statistically popular yet. I‘ll bet they aren‘t the first directory to list a site unless their paid to do so of course.

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META Tag Generator

Visit our META Tag Generator an easy way to generate your META tags. We recommend that you at least include the ‘Description‘, ‘Keyword‘ and ‘Robots‘ tags.

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