META Tags and How to Use Them
META tags are the information that you place in the ffiHEAD? section of your Web site which does not display in the browser window. META tags allow the developer to communicate certain information to the search engines, other automated services and other Web developers about the site. The term meta tags comes from the term "meta data" which is simply data that describes data. In a sense, a book's table of contents could be considered meta data. An abstract or short summary of a longer article could be considered meta data. Meta data, therefore, is simply a short cut to classifying the contents of a document. In that way, a meta tag is a short cut for the search engines to quickly classify and index your Web page.Think of the META tag as food for a search engine's spiders. META tags let you tell a search engine's spider:
- The name of your site
- A description of your site that you would like the search engine to use
- The keywords that you would like your site to be found under
META tags provide Web site developers with control over how your site is listed in a spider-based search engine. If you don't include them in your document, the spider will likely take the first 25 words on your Web site and include them as the name and description of the site. Have you ever seen a Web site listed in a search engine as follows?
(COMPANY) (INFORMATION) (PRODUCTS) (SERVICES) (OVERVIEW)
Hi, and thanks for taking the time to visit our company page. We hope you'll find... http://www.gizmonicselectric.com/ - size 22K - 22 Sept 96
You guessed it, this was the navigation bar that the site developer included at the top of the page. The search engine's spider grabbed the first text it found and hoped it described the page. Most important, nothing about this listing is compelling. You have no idea what the company does or why you should visit the page.
META tags are easy to build. Just follow the format below and replace our title, description and keywords with your own. Here is an example of META tags:
ffiTITLE?increase traffic with iprospect.comffi/TITLE?
ffiMETA name="Keywords" CONTENT="increase traffic, increase Web site traffic, search position, report position, report search ranking, rank, search ranking, monitor search positions, web site promotion, internet promotion, optimize search positions, improve traffic"?
ffiMETA name="Description" CONTENT="INCREASE Web site TRAFFIC. Response Direct is the premier Web marketing e-agency - want traffic?"?
ffi!-- This is a comments tag, you can put keywords here, too--?
Clearly the site above wants to place well for both the product name, "Increase Traffic," and the name of the company, "iProspect.com."
The ffiHEAD? Tag
Start your META tag section with a ffiHEAD? tag and end with a ffi/HEAD? by adding the front leaning slash. All of your META tags should be contained within these two tags.
The ffiTITLE? Tag - The Most Important HTML Tag on Your Web site
The ffiTITLE? tag displays the name of the site that will appear in the top of the browser. This is the most important HTML tag on your Web site!
ffiTITLE? is the title tag and must be ended with a ffi/TITLE? tag.
Many people visiting your Web site never notice this text that appears in the top blue border of their browser, but most search engines assign the most significance to text contained in the ffiTITLE? tag. Between these two title tags, identify your site but try to make it sound interesting and worth visiting, while at the same time, trying to get as many of your keywords into it as possible. Always put your ffiTITLE? tag right after the ffiHEAD? tag.
Important: Most of the large search engines will use as their title for your site in the search results the contents of your ffiTITLE? tag exactly as you composed it.
The ffiMETA name="DESCRIPTION"? Tag
This tag allows you to write a description of your Web site that some search engines will use instead of what they would otherwise randomly select from the copy on your pages. Not all search engines recognize or read this HTML tag. Here's how you use it:
ffiMETA name="Description" CONTENT="Description of your site."?
Start your description META tag like the above followed by not more than 25 words in general that are a compelling and interesting description of your site.
The ffiMETA name="KEYWORDS"? Tag
This tag lets you suggest keywords to the search engines that you would like your Web site to be returned for. Again, not all the search engines will use this tag and some won't even consider keywords included in this tag in their scoring of your Web site. Here's how you use this tag:
ffiMETA name="Keywords" CONTENT="Keyword1, Keyword2, Keyword3"?
List all the keywords you can think of that you would like your site to come up under within the length limits for each engine.
The ffi!-- Comment Tag --?
A comment or remark tag is typically used to record comments about your Web site or HTML code that you don't want viewed on the actual page. This tag can also be filled with relevant keyword content. Again, not all the search engines will use this tag, and some won't even consider keywords included in it for scoring of your Web site, but some do. Here's how you use this tag:
ffi!-- Here are some comments that visitors to your Web site won't be able to see in their browser because the words are included in this non-printing tag --?
Technically, comment tags are not considered part of the META tag family of HTML code except that for Web site marketing purposes you can include these comments between the ffiHEAD? and ffi/HEAD? tags where the META tags go. But you can also include comment tags throughout your Web site. Comment tags can be used at the top, middle and bottom of Web pages for keyword placement to help increase keyword weight.
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