Meta Tags are little pieces of information, that you can enter into most websites, to explain to the search engines what your site or page is all about. They shouldn’t be the same across your whole site, with the Meta Tags being tailored to each and every page of your website.
When a search engine views your website, it doesn’t see all the fancy pictures or layout, instead it sees lots of code. Go to any webpage, right click with your mouse, and then select ‘View Source’. The result you get, is what the search engines see.
Meta Tags are a great way to control what the search engines think of your site. There are 3 main types of Meta Tags for the main body of your site (images are slightly different, and we will cover these in another post):
Title: This is what your page is about. Like a book title. It appears at the top of your browser, and may be the words within the tab. When you click to view source, it is contained within 2 <title> tags, like this:
<title>Badges Patches | SEO and Websites For Photographers</title>
Description: A quick and brief summary of what this page is about. Normally no more than 160 or so characters. When viewed in source, it will look like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”Providing SEO services to photographers and websites for photographers..” />
Keywords: The keywords for you page, and what you would like to rank well for. Google openly admits that it dosen’t use the Keywords Meta anymore (and hasn’t done so for many years), so this part is up to you. The content on your page should be enough to let the search engines know what your main keywords are. When viewed in source, it will look like this:
<meta name=”keywords” content=”SEO for photographers, Photographers SEO, Websites for photographers, Websites for photographers” />
Of the 3 items listed above, the only one that will be visible to anyone who views your website normally would be the title tag. The others they would need to view the source to see what is there.
Although Meta Tags are incredibly important, it is important to remember not to stuff them full of just a couple of keywords. Entering to much of the same words can have a detrimental effect on your listings within the search engines.
If this all sounds terribly complicated, and you have no idea about where to enter this information in your website, there are many ways you can get help. Many Photographers now have websites that run on WordPress, and there are plugins such as ‘All In One SEO’ and ‘Platinum SEO’ that will insert and extra box at the bottom of your add post or add page page, and let you enter the title, description and keywords without having to worry about the coding involved.
Please feel free to enter any comments below.