Search Engine Optimization:
Meta Tags

Hidden from view, your site has specialized instructions that get read only by spiders. Some are used to display your site content on the search engine results page (SERP), and others are used to identify your keywords. Some do nothing but talk to and provide guidance to the indexing spiders. This latter set is becoming more important even as the other meta tags become obsolete.


Meta Tags

Why should I pay attention to meta tags if no one can see them?
     Some search engines use the meta tags to define your site. These older search engines read the meta descriptions that can be written into the html, including your keywords. So if you have not defined your keywords in your meta tags, you can't get indexed. There are other meta tags that I always include because I have observed the advantage of using them. These are instructions recognizing the robots (spiders) and helping them navigate your site as they index it. This is usually a quick fix (10 minutes) and one that does not need monitoring once fixed, but it is an area where experience counts.

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Meta Tags

Meta tags are data written into the html for specific purposes.

Certain components are becoming obsolete, while others are more important than ever. The hard coding stuff used to be the most important, but has now become the least important. It's too easy to scam the meta tags with false data. Still, good seo involves paying attention to well researched keyword sets, and elegant use of the language that bears these branding elements. For meta, while still crucial for some search engines, their importance is not what it once was. I predict that soon the most important meta will be those tags that interact with the robots, the indexing spiders, guiding them to index and follow all links, inviting them back, or even diallowing them from areas of the site that shouldn't get indexed (like your data, transactions, etc.).

Still, a well seoed site will be paying attention to meta. Many sites make improper use of this important code because they don't understand the different functions of each tag. Many sites jam keywords into the title tag, description meta, and keyword meta, instead of focusing each tag on its specific function. Learn these functions. Research the keyword sets - don't just try to chase rank. This is critical sometimes, but the majority isn't paying attention. Most websites are posted with incomplete or ineffective meta data, even though this is a 5 minute fix. Meta tags are becoming less significant in terms of identifying site characteristics, and more important for communicating with and directing spiders.

The other major coding issue for SEO is dynamic sites.

Structural Issues

For SEO to be effective, certain conditions must be present at the website. Meta tags are a minor problem and easily remedied, but there are other structural problems that need addressing. Many sites were built on store models that use dynamic webpage creation (where the page is only created when requested). This is very convenient because it enables the content to be different each time the page is hit, but it defies the robots ability to index consistent content. Dynamic sites need to incorporate a static component for SEO to focus on. Frame sites also create indexing problems. Other structural problems include sites that use on-page flash, hotlinks, or large graphics that contain the title text in the image - the spiders want to see words, not images, and only words can raise your ranking. Leave the structural fixes to the SEOs, but learn what mistakes were made in the first place. Fixing structural problems can have a significant impact on your keyword positions, especially if your site has good pagerank, and is old. If the spiders are suddenly able to index your previously invisible, real content, your keyword associations will instantly improve.

Bob Sakayama, SEO

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)