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Home / Promotion / SEO Knowledge Base

SEO Knowledge Base

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What are search engine keywords and key phrases?
How do you decide which are the best target phrases to go after?

Optimising Web Pages

What are meta tags?
Do alt tags help with search engine rankings?

What Are Meta Tags?

Most web pages are split in two parts if you look at the html code that defines the page. The part that you see in your browser is the body of the page and the start and finish of that part of the page is defined by the "body tag". This is seen in the code as <body> and </body>, one at the start of the body and the other end. Not surprisingly the other part of the page is called the head tag, starting with <head> and ending with </head>.

The body tag contains the visible part of the page whilst the head tag contains elements that you will not see in your browser. Within the head tag are various other "tags" whose purpose in the main is to help search engines decide what your site is all about. That might make you think these tags are the be all and all for search engine rankings but, whilst that was once close to true, it is hardly the case any more. They have been manipulated by unscrupulous marketeers to gain unwarranted visitors and so are now devalued. But they still matter enough to get them set up correctly.

Which Meta Tags Matter?

There are loads of meta tags in existence and some web designers use as many as they can. There is a revisit tag that is supposed to tell a search engine how often to come back for a fresh look at the site, there is a generator tag that announces what software was used to develop the page and many more! However only a handful are of any use and I recommend that none be used but the following:

title: This is used by most search engines. It should always be the first tag after the head tag. It should have between 5 and 8 words and these should include your key words and phrases, ideally at the beginning. It should be set up differently, with different keywords, for each page on oyur site. It should never say "welcome to our web site" because that is just too hackneyed and trite to be true!

description: This is still used by some search engines and should be the second meta tag. It should have between 15 and 30 words and include more important keywords. It should read well also and give a reason for coming to your site as most search engines will display it.

keywords: Should have about 20 to 25 words that are important to your site. You should avoid repetition of any one word if possible. You should vary the number of words in here on different pages. Have the keywords seperated by spaces on one page, by commas on another and have them in upper case on another page. Always have at least one page with plenty of keywords in the first paragraph and NO keyword tag. Don't put much faith in these getting you good rankings.

robots: Use the robots tag to tell seach engines which pages to index and which not. Don't let the search engine spider your terms and conditions of sale or privacy policy. Whatever it takes from them will always be different to the rest of your site and so dilute the overall "theme" that the spider will see.


To see how the meta tags for this page have been set up just click on "View" and then "Source" and at the top of the page you will see the head tag.

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