Preparing your web pages with meta tags for effective search engine submission and ranking
Crafting your meta tags is the most important step in Search Engine submission. A meta tag is a special HTML tag that provides information about a Web page. It provides information such as who created the page, how often it is updated, what the page is about, and which keywords represent the page’s content. Many search engines use this information when building their indices. The most important meta tags you need to focus on are the Title, Keywords and Description tags. So, lets get right into it!
Step 1: Prepare a list of Keywords and Key Phrases
What are Keywords?
Keywords are words that your customers would enter into a search engine to find your site. E.g. while searching for a web developer you would type ‘web developers’ , ‘web designers’ , ‘web development companies’ , ‘web site development’ as possible keyword searches.
Guidelines while preparing your keywords
- Make a list of your target audiences – This must include all possibilities. Compiling a list of your target audience will help you know what they are searching for in search engines. E.g. Small businessmen, fellow web developers, corporate’s, professionals. Each of these target audiences will have different needs and interests which you should address in your web site.
- While keeping in mind your target audience, make a list of keywords and key phrases that describe your site. Put yourself in their shoes and think of the words they would type in a search engine to find you.
- Come up with as many keywords and key phrases as you can.
- As in the example I gave above, I would put ‘web designers’, ‘web site development’ , ‘global web development’, ‘professional web developers’, ‘web promotion’ ,’dynamic web site development’ as possible key phrases.
- Use plurals – e.g. ‘web developer’, ‘web developers’
- Use important words in different forms – e.g. ‘develop web sites’, ‘web site developers’ , ‘web-site development’ , ‘developing web sites’
- Don’t use the same word more than 4 times. Try using it in different forms instead. E.g. web site, web-site, web sites. Using the same keyword more than 4 times may be considered spamming in some search engines and may cause you to be blacklisted.
4. Keep your keywords meta tag length between 200 and 500 characters.
Step 2: Deciding on your Title and Description
What is a Title and Description?
Title – This is what appears on the title bar when you open a web site. This is also the link you see in the search results page of any search engine.
Description – This is the description of the site (1-2 lines) which appears along with the title in the search results page.
An example of a Title and Description
Title – Web site design and development, DHTML, Flash, Promotion
Description – Developing creative, innovative and cost-effective static and dynamic web sites. We believe in making your business succeed online by expanding your business to the Global Marketplace, find out what makes us so unique.
Guidelines while deciding on your title and description
- The golden rule while preparing your pages for search engine submission is that all your important keywords should appear in your title, description and content of your web page.
- Make sure that your title and description is populated with your most important keywords. At the same time it should be a ‘grabber’, as your potential clients will read your title and description and based on that synopsis of your site, decide to click and enter your site. Make sure that they are catchy and grab a person’s attention.
- Keep your title between 15 and 20 words and your description between 100 and 200 characters.
While preparing your web pages remember to also use your important keywords in your alt tags. Some search engines also index the alt tags. An alt tag is a name given to an image that is used in your site. You can see a sample of an alt tag by pointing your cursor SmartWebby.com on this page. In a second you’ll see a box appear below. That’s the alt tag. Don’t underestimate its importance.
The next (optional) step in search engine submission is to use free online tools to make sure that your site does not have any spelling mistakes, dead links, HTML and browser compatibility problems. These tools also test your site loading time and give your site an overall ranking. They are very useful and will take only a minute of your time. This will ensure that your site is ready to be submitted to the search engines.