Optimize Your Website for Search Engine Traffic

When your website appears on a page of search results, its title and a short description appear to give viewers an idea of what content is displayed on your site. If you haven’t included the proper meta tags in your site, some search engines will display only a few terms relevant to the search items the user entered. This doesn’t always provide a clear idea of what your site is about. In addition, some search engines rely mostly on meta tags to produce results. Either way, you’ll benefit by ensuring your site includes the proper tags.

What Are Meta Tags?

Meta tags are “invisible” html codes read by search engines in order to rank your site. They don’t appear anywhere on your page when a viewer clicks on your link, but they dictate what search engines “see” on your site. Including meta tags requires a bit of basic html knowledge. If you’ve built your site in html, you’re good to go in adding these codes. If you’ve built your site in a site builder such as FrontPage or GoLive, you’ll have to click “view source” in order to get away from the layout view and see your html. If you’ve used a template from a site like Angelfire or FreeWebs, you may need to select the advanced html options in order to view your source code.

The Meta Title

The meta title is what appears in the title bar at the very top of your Internet browser window. If you’re reading this, the title you’ll see probably reads, “Associated Content – Online Publishing System.” The meta title is important not only because it identifies your site, but also because most search engines rank the title of your page very carefully by the keywords you include here.

As a general rule, your meta title should include no more than 60 characters and be as relevant as possible to the content of your site. Let’s say you’re a florist specializing in rare flowers and your company name is Blossom’s Blossoms. Your goal is to fit as much of that information, using relevant keywords, into your title. Below is what your code could look like, using these keywords to appropriately name your site.

Blossom’s Blossoms – Florist – Rare Flowers

Note: Everything appearing between and does not appear in the body of your page, but will appear in search results.

The Meta Description

The meta description is the short, descriptive blurb appearing under your site title on search result pages. Search engines use the meta description in a manner similar to the meta title, by ranking your site based on the keywords you include here. In addition, this description will form the viewer’s first impression of your site and add much to the decision of whether or not your site is likely to provide relevant information.

Your meta description can include up to about 130 characters, and should consist of a short, concise, accurate description of what can be found on your site, packing in as many relevant keywords as possible. Keep in mind your meta description is not the same thing as your list of keywords. Your meta description should include full sentences imparting as much information about your site content as possible. See the example below:

Blossom’s Blossoms – Florist – Rare Flowers

How Will This Help My Site?

Including the proper meta title and meta description tags in your site is a big step toward earning search engine rankings and ensuring your site appears when viewers enter keywords relevant to your content. Always remember to put yourself in your viewer’s place and try to choose keywords based on what people might enter into a search engine when looking for specific information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ eight = 13