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  • Quick question about keywords meta tags

    OK, I've done a bunch of reading about meta tags and I think I understand how they're used by the browsers. I just want to make sure that I'm going about this correctly...

    After all of my reading, I've concluded that each page should have it's own set of keywords that match the content of the page, the title and the meta description tag. Have I come to the right conclusion or did I miss something somewhere (i.e., do I use the same set of keywords for every page in my site?)

    Thanks, Jeanie

  • #2
    Meta Tags

    Jeaniesa,

    I agree with your conclusion. My understanding is that more pages are likely to be indexed if they have their own titles, keywords etc. so that their specific content is targeted. That way a search engine will have several of your site pages available, especially when search criteria is pretty specific. The indexers may skip pages with identical titles and keywords. Hope this makes sense.

    I just stumbled across this set of threads and am looking forward to reading through the past threads. I'll make some time, because my site is really old and needs a revamp big time.

    Good luck.

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    • #3
      I seem to recall (it's been a while since I researched these) that the Meta Description is most often used as a "teaser" once the search comes up with the results, so don't forget to keep that short yet descriptive. There are some really good sites out there that go into this area in detail, and I'm sure you have found them. Some even generate them for you, and all you do is cut and paste.

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      • #4
        You're on the right path.

        However, most of your meta content isn't really that vitally important. Directories don't use them at all, and only a few search engines even bother with them. What is important, though, is a good clear title tag with keyword placement in it, and well optimized page for your chosen keywords. I realize that this sounds contradictory...if keywords aren't important, then why optimize for them? *Keywords* are important, but *meta content* isn't.

        As far as the description tag that BK mentions, they're not going to poll your meta content for that. For instance, the description showing beneath your site's SERP in Google come directly from your site's ODP description if one exists. If not, it's generally the first line of your text from your page.

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        • #5
          Deb, welcome to our little corner! Thanks for the feedback. There's 4-5 of us going through website development hell right now. You're welcome to join us!

          BK, thanks for the clarification on the description tag. I think I've got that one covered. One question though - should (can?) that be the same for all pages in a site or specific to the page.

          themanda, I think I understand what you're saying, so let me mirror it back to you so I can be sure. There's lots of different meta tags and most of them are not used for search engine rankings. But, the keywords ARE used and should reflect what's on each individual page, including the title of the page. (Or the title should reflect the keywords - in any case, there should be some "overlap" between title and keywords.)

          Unfortunately you completely lost me in the second paragraph. What's an "ODP description"? I searched and found that ODP stands for "Open Directory Project", but I couldn't find anything on their website which indicated whether or not I need to put something in the <head> part of my pages to specify that - or if that description was generated by ODP editors? Help!

          Jeanie

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          • #6
            And one other (related) question while I'm at it...

            I feel like I'm getting really hung up on these meta tags. I've taken the approach that I should do the meta tags at the same time I do each page, but I'm finding there is a LOT to learn about them, esp. with respect to search engine rankings. So, I'm wondering if I should forge ahead and get my pages done - and THEN go back and optimize my pages for the search engine spiders, or take the time now to learn that aspect and incorporate it as I write each page.

            My situation is that my URL has been listed in a yellow pages ad since December, and I still don't have a site up. Also, my website is on my business card. Those are my two main forms of advertising right now. And I view my website more as a "store front" b/c I work out of my home. So, the search engine ranking may not be as big an issue for me at first? Does anyone have any thoughts on that? I'm pulling even more of my hair out over this.

            Jeanie

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            • #7
              Welcome to the wacky world of Search Engine Optimization!!! You've just asked yourself the age old question that started all of us on this path.

              First of all, you are understanding me exactly as I intended. Meta content is not as important as keyword *relevancy* and *density* within the text that you are optimizing. So, if you've got a page about green shoes, you might title it "Jean's Love of The Green Shoe--Boots, scuffs, sneakers, and heels" Then, your first paragraph might be: "Shoes come in all colors, but the best color by far is green. When trying to decide between army boots or my best high heels, I always go with the shoe that looks best with my outfit and is the most pleasing color of green." That's actually starting to border on keyword stuffing, but you get the point. You want to make sure that you're optimizing each page of your site for nine or ten of the most relevant keywords for that particular topic.

              My recommendation would be to build your pages and optimize them while you're doing so. There's no sure-fire way to make your page spider friendly and directory friendly for each and every engine. What's fair game on some can be considered dicey on others...they're all competing with each other, after all. In the long run, a solid site full of relevant content with a good number of relevant back links (sites like your that link to yours...but not linkfarms) will perform well in search engines. There's a saying that "Content is King" and it couldn't be more true. Algos will change, and spam definitions will broaded and constrict with the tide. But a solid site will continue to perform.

              Regarding the ODP, I'm sorry that I threw an acronym out without explaining it. It is the Open Directory Project, one of the largest (if not the largest, I'm not sure) human edited directories on the net. They supply content to Google (which in turn feeds AOL and Yahoo!) among many, many others. Getting your site listed in the ODP is a good first step to making sure that you'll do well in searches. It's not a golden bullet, but it's a good lift. Only an ODP editor can assign a description to your site if they chose to list it. You find the absolute best category for your site, submit it, and wait to see if it will be accepted. Not all sites are accepted, and the review process can take quite a while sometimes. But it is an important directory to be in.

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              • #8
                Thanks themanda. I went back to look at the ODP site a little bit ago and found a lot more info than I was able to earlier today. I kept getting "page not found" errors, so the server must have been bogged down. I never did find who gives the description though, so thanks for that!!

                It seems that a site with tutorial content or content which is more than just "selling" does better in ODP. Also, the directory really is huge and like you said, there's no guarantee that you'll get in, so it seems important to have something on my site that is "unique" in some way. Would you agree with that?

                OK, I'll go learn more about Search Engine Optimization before I add any more pages to my site. I'm not happy about it mind you, but I'll do it.

                I feel like I keep hitting one huge hurdle after another. Does it ever start to get any easier??

                Jeanie

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jeaniesa

                  It seems that a site with tutorial content or content which is more than just "selling" does better in ODP. Also, the directory really is huge and like you said, there's no guarantee that you'll get in, so it seems important to have something on my site that is "unique" in some way. Would you agree with that?
                  I think that's probably a pretty fair statement to make. Just because your site is commercial isn't going to preclude you from being listed if you've got a good, quality site. Editors are looking for sites that are unique and that are of high quality, but not everything has to be absolutely individual to your site alone. Some of the top level cats are impossible to get into, so sometimes it's better to aim a bit lower. Often, sites that can't get listed in their main cat can get a comparable listing in their locality cat. For instance, I might not be able to get my site listed in business and services>auto repair, but I could probably get it listed in Localities>Texas>San Marcos>Business and Services>Auto Repair. There is a difference between the listings, but you've got to decide if it's better to do it this way than to not be listed at all.

                  Yes, it gets easier. Just like learning html or graphic design, this is just another aspect of the whole game that you've got to learn how to play. You might want to spend some time in search engine forums, like www.searchengineforums.com over at JimWorld. Just reading and lurking can sometimes teach you a lot about the whole game if you can overlook the bickering that goes on there.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jeaniesa


                    I feel like I'm getting really hung up on these meta tags. I've taken the approach that I should do the meta tags at the same time I do each page, but I'm finding there is a LOT to learn about them, esp. with respect to search engine rankings.
                    This is a good question that I didn't want to get lost.

                    When I'm building a new site, either for myself or for a client, I take a "page as a whole" approach to optimization. That means that I include relevant, optimized text for nine to ten keywords, that I attach relevant, non-keyword stuffed alt tags to my images, that I include my non-comma deliniated list of meta tags, that I include a description meta tag, and that I include a content meta tag. I know that the meta content isn't going to make such a huge difference, but it might be just that teeny bit of an edge that sticks that page one or two above my competitor. In other words, I view my main textual content and title tags as the cake, and all the rest as the icing.

                    I don't know if that helps answer your question at all, but I hope it cleared it up at least a little bit.

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                    • #11
                      I notice that on Search Engine Watch you can pay a 6-month subscription fee and get more "in-depth" information on search engine optimization and submittal. Do you happen to know if it's worth the $60 for that info, or would I do just as well at searchengineforums.com? (Thanks for that link BTW.)

                      Thanks for the additional comments on your "page as a whole" approach. I think if I can just feel a little more comfortable with the concept of search engine optimization, that approach will be like second nature to me. I have to admit - I hate writing. (I know, I know... with all that I write at RP, you'd have a hard time imagining that! ) So, having to think about keyword density at the same time I'm trying to just think up the words is close to torture for me.

                      Thanks again for all of your help!

                      Jeanie

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                      • #12
                        I wouldn't pay to subscribe to search engine watch. Search Engine Forums, for the most part, is going to have what you're after. It's also got a lot of members there who are members at SEW, so if any new exciting content is brought up over there they'll sort of migrate it to SEF. SEW also has a lot more infighting and name calling than SEF, IMHO.

                        You're welcome! I'm glad I could help!

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                        • #13
                          Thanks again themanda. I spent a couple of hours reading through the "free" info on SEW last night and learned quite a bit. Plus, the links to other places and I've got some good ideas.

                          One thing that I found interesting is that according to SEW, only one crawler-based serach engine actually uses keywords (Inktomi) still uses the keywords meta tag. All others have ceased to even look at it b/c so many sites were using it for crawler spamming. It seems incorporating the keywords you want to be found for into your title and then repeating them in your text is a much better match for the algorithms that most crawlers use. (I.e., the "density" that you referred to a few posts back.)

                          Jeanie

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                          • #14
                            Yes, that's true. That's why I don't advise people to get all caught up in their meta tag values. A bazillion years ago, AltaVista put a lot of weight on meta tags, so that's when the whole thing really started. Google, the 800 pound gorilla of the moment, doesn't look at the at all. The newest thing getting keyword stuffed is alt image tags and other such non-humanly visible content. (Spiders see it, but your average browser doesn't really.)

                            The reason that I still continue to include this nearly obsolete information is that I never know when it will start to be important again, you know? That's the frustrating beauty of SEO...what works today might not work tomorrow and what worked three months ago might suddenly start working again in five. The main thing that fuels all of this, IMO, are the spammers. They're the first ones to find and exploit any loophole in the engine's algo. Once that starts to happen, the engine changes the algo and the spammers start looking for a new loophole. Keeps everyone on their toes.

                            All of this is why you're really best off to focus on building your keyword relevant text. Ideally, you'll want about 4% (give or take a little) keyword density in a block of at least 250 words. You don't want to stuff your text with your chosen words, but you want them repeated often enough, and in enough of your key *phrases* for the spiders to pick up on it.

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                            • #15
                              It's nice to know I'm understanding what I read. I think I'd read your post 24 hours ago, I wouldn't have a clue what you were talking about! Now, not only do I understand it, but I feel somewhat confident that I can actually implement it for my site! I think I might see a light at the end of this very long tunnel.

                              Jeanie

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