Placing SEO Meta Tags Correctly – A Guide
Good search engine optimization is essential for successful Internet portals and online shops. The thorough and skillful placement of SEO meta tags belongs to the technical know-how with which favorable ranking results can be achieved.
Unique content and an attractive layout carry a lot of weight if you want to steer user interest and search engines towards an Internet site. However to be successful in search engine rankings, it is also necessary to heed a few technical rules. Besides varied linking, descriptive URLs and appropriate keywords, so-called meta tags play a paramount roll in search engine optimization (SEO). SEO meta tags constitute the non-visible elements in the online presentation, which deliver valuable information about the website to search engines and search robots (web crawlers). This metadata is deposited as structured code in the “head” area of the HTML source text and follows the structure: <meta name=”name of meta tags” content=”value of meta tags”>.
Important SEO Factor: The Title Tag
The title attribute, which is an important SEO factor, doesn’t strictly constitute a true meta callout, but is also read by search engines. The content appears in the browser’s title bar or tabs, and on the lists of Google and others in the “snippet” as a clickable link. As essential information for the user, which search engines also simultaneously gather for indexing, the title tag should contain the central keywords, describe the page content as aptly as possible, and comprise about 50 – 60 characters (for Google 600 pixels). Tools available online allow the testing of whether or not the entire chosen title is displayed on the Google search results list. The title attribute should be created individually for each website. Deployed creatively and in a topic conscious manner, it can be used to favorably influence user behavior.
Index and Incentive to Read: The Description
Although Google, for example, doesn’t use the meta tag (page) description for SEO ranking, it does have a determining effect on the user’s internet search, the click rate in other words, and indirectly on the website’s rating via its traffic (the number of visitors). With most of the large search engines the description is displayed together with the title of the Internet page as text on the search results list, and thereby shapes the impression the user receives of the online offering. The page description supplies relevant information that prompts the user to possibly open the website in their browser. It should make the viewer curious as to the contents of the website.
An optimally configured meta description has a scope of up to 155 characters, and regarding content is geared toward the so-called AIDA model common in marketing. That means is should generate Attention in the user, awaken his Interest, evoke the Desire in him to find out more, and trigger the wished-for Action, clicking the link. An expressive description conveys, with the help of essential keywords, a concise overview of the thematic specifics of the Internet page. The administrator should produce a separate index for each website that invites the user to call up the online page. It is worthwhile for every website operator to meticulously prepare the contents, to precisely place search terms, and if need be to incorporate persuasive slogans.
SEO Meta Tags for Web Research and Search Bots
While the meta tag “keyword” used to provide the main criteria for evaluation by Google and others, today these easily manipulated keyword entries are widely ignored by search engine rankings. Administrators can enter significant descriptors into the source code via the keyword attribute, which allows users to find HTML documents with the proper phrases. The keyword tag is in fact fairly insignificant for search engine results, but incorrectly used keywords often result in derogative measures by search engines. On the one hand it then seems advisable not to overfill the meta data with excessive amounts of search terms (“keyword stuffing”), but on the other hand the keywords should always appropriately reflect the subjects of the texts. Local search programs and superior search engines utilize the descriptors inserted into the keyword tag to some extent.
Use of the meta tag “robots” allows control of the behavior of web crawlers. The default values “index” and “follow” instruct the search bots to index the website and to follow the page’s outgoing links. To avoid having the search engines include relatively unimportant subpages (for example legal notice or contact pages) in the search function index, you enter the HTML tag “noindex.” The indication “nofollow” keeps web crawlers from examining links found on a page (comment pages, for example). With the meta tag “charset” (short for character coding) you can determine the font to be used (for German UTF-8) to ensure that certain orthographic singularities (like umlauts) are reproduced correctly on the website. Further SEO meta tags allow HTML designations to be made about the author, rights holder, prices, delivery terms, etc.