Saturday, May 10, 2008

Search Engines Look at "meta data"

There are three primary "meta data" categories every web page you create must have. Title, Description and Keywords.

To see the same meta data a search engine sees go to the "View" item on your browser's top menu bar.

Select the "View Source" option.

This will open a text document that is a listing of the of the html code that creates the web page you were looking at. You will notice that the web page you were looking at is still open and visible.

Look down the text document a few lines and you will see a line that says "Title". Then it has the page title typed in in plain English.

This is the first thing the search engine sees. And this gives the search engine it's first clue as to what your page is about. Knowing this, and knowing that each page should only be about just one thing, you will be careful to make the title EXACTLY the same as the just one thing you want this page to be about.

Here is our example:

If the just one thing this page is about, the thing it is going to be #1 at, is "workers compensation insurance in Raleigh, North Carolina", then that is EXACTLY the title. Nothing more and nothing less. EXACTLY. I hope the all caps and repeating myself makes this point very, very, very clear. It is the key to winning.

Just to beat this point a little more, do not make the title "workers compensation insurance in Raleigh, NC". That is another page you should create. Remember, lots of variations means lots of pages.

Just a line or two below the "Title" will be a line with the word "Description" at or near the front followed by the Description. The very first words in your description will always be EXACTLY the same as your Title.

The description will have more words than just Title because the Description will be what most search engines show as part of what they display when you are found by a person's search. That means after you start the description with EXACTLY the words in EXACTLY the same order as your title, you will want to write a good description that a real live person will find interesting and make them want to click through the search return and go to your web page.

Finally, just a line or two further down will be a line with the word "Keywords" near the front. This will be followed by words or phrases that tell the search engine what your page is about. The very first keyword phrase you will enter here will be EXACTLY your title.

You can put in more keywords after the first set that EXACTLY match your title by putting in a comma and then adding another word or phrase. I never put in more than one or two extra keywords or phrases here. The reason being that I do not what to confuse the search engine. Usually I will use the extra keywords to do plurals of my primary keywords or misspellings.

Some folks are tempted to spam the meta data by repeating the same thing over and over in the description and the keywords. Bad idea. Not only does this not get you a higher ranking, the search engines look for this and lower your ranking and in extreme cases may actually ban your page from all results. There is so much to do to do this right, don't waste your time trying to game the system.

No comments: