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To meta tag or not meta tag that is the question

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But what is the answer. Here at SEO advisor we are staggered that this subject still comes up when we talk to customers and view articles online. By now surely this should have been addressed but clearly not. Although will it ever be fully address as algorithms shift and change so often so does the subject of what’s hot and what’s not in SEO.

Meta tags and where to find them

If you are not a SEO analyst, web programmer or website owner already focused on search engine optimisation you probably have not heard of meta tags. So what are they? Where can they be found? And why are they important if they are important at all?

Meta tags are often part of the coding of a website, although they are being found less and less these days, they are elements of the websites page language, HTML or XHTML, that provide meta0-data or information for the search engines, about that webpage. Meta tags can be used to detail the page description, keywords and other data not in the head elements of the page.

To check meta tags you can use the source code. To do this right click on your web page from the pop menu that comes up select “view source code” this should bring up a notepad page with a load of coding in it. If your website is written in HTML or XHTML then you should be able to find the meta tags by scrolling to the top of the page usually below the title detail element.  

To be able to know what you are looking for here are two examples.

Firstly a keyword meta tag;

 

<meta name="keywords" content="seo,search engine optimisation,search engine optimization, ">

Secondly a description meta tag;

<meta name="description" content="SEO-advisor.org,uk, advisers SEO, advisors SEO”>

The two meta tags shown are keyword and description and there is some debate and discussion online as to whether or not they are important to your search engine optimisation campaigns.

Is keyword meta tagging important?

Back in the 1990’s keyword meta tagging was the rage. By using this page element you could improve your search engine rankings with ease. But then came the SPAMMERS, people who stuffed these keyword meta tags to bursting point with SPAM keywords so that they ranked higher than genuine websites.

This factor together with improve robot and search engine spider technology has meant that these programmes have learnt to all but completely ignore this element of the website coding, in fact Google the number one search engine used worldwide no longer uses meta keywords at all.

So does this mean that they are no longer of any use at all? Well lots of articles on and off the net will say that keyword meta tagging is no longer important. A lot of website designers will tell you that they are of no importance. But the fact is some search engines out there still use them and Google and other search engines use these search engines for some of their results and to find websites. The answer therefore is keyword meta tagging is less important than it was not “of no importance”. The simple rule is to not spend too much time on this element and only have around 6 to 10 keywords in this element per page.

 

Are keyword descriptions of any use to SEO?

The simple answer is yes. A lot of search engines use this area to find out what the website is about and whether it is relevant to the search. Use this element to describe your website and include a call to action as this is quite often the description found on the search engine rankings. Although it has been reported that Google does not use this element this is not strictly true, Google uses it less than it used to but it does still use the element on a regular enough basis for it to be an important element of your SEO campaign.

So to summarise: use them both but do not waste too much time on them as there are other areas to focus on. 

 

All Blog Articles, SEO and Digital Marketing Advice from SEO Engineer and Digital Marketing Analyst; Sam O'Prey from Telford, Shropshire in the UK  

 

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