Search Engine Optimization and Meta Tags – Getting Started

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With the billions of webpages that have been created, it becomes clear why search engines were created. Internet users need a navigation system to help them find what they need when surfing the web. This navigation system has been provided by internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo !, MSN, and a plethora of smaller search engines that are being added every month. With so many keyword-driven avenues through which people travel to find what they want, web developers realize that they're an absolute necessity for success.

In order to achieve a relevant online presence for your site, search engine users must be able to find the site. Thus, you have to make sure that your page receives a listing and high ranking within the search engine. There are various elements to consider when experimenting with search engine optimization (SEO), such as page content, headers, keywords, title tags and meta tags.

First and foremost, you want to make sure that the content of each page in your website is centered on a certain subject or theme. You'll want to include a frequency of keywords that you'd like to be picked up by the search engines' spiders. Typically, about 2-8% of the article should be composed of your keywords. Be specific; generic keywords such as "cars" result in millions of search results, rather than something more targeted like "classic Italian coupes". Using a free keyword selector tool, such as Overture's, can be very helpful when researching a keyword's popularity.

You may also consider adding title and meta tags to the HTML code. The title tag defines the name of the web page, and is displayed in the bar at the top of a web browser. This area remains a sweet-spot for keywords to be picked up in a search engine, and should be concise while reflecting keywords found in the page content. This is likely to be the first impression that users receive from your site.

The description meta tag defines the site info that is listed on search results pages. It should be short and enticing, as it's basically a short ad for your site; However, you'll still want to focus more on actual page content, as description tags have lost a lot of their glory. Many search engines now list snippets of body text containing keywords as a description instead.

Heading tags are useful for highlighting headlines, subheadings and other large print on web pages. Because bold-faced text grabs the attention of many search engines, well-placed heading tags (H1, H2 … H5, H6) can help with the search engine optimization process. Smaller heading numbers means larger font size, and likewise. Ideally, the most important keywords are included in the headers.

The keywords meta tag enables you to compile a list of keywords within the html of your body text. It should include standard words, compound words and phrases. One could also use this meta tag to include common misspellings. While the keywords meta tag used to be the main focus of search engines' algorithms, it has lost much of its prominence, and is probably ignored by Google.

Achieving a high-ranking website is not something that is typically achieved overnight, but with enough patience and research, one could achieve a constant stream of web traffic by emphasizing perintent keywords and inserting meta tags. Your extra effort will make your hit counter (or your bank account) smile.