Tags, Meta-Tags and How To Use ThemTags on webpages are exactly what they sound like: little snippets of code that “tag” elements of text to tell a computer/search engine/other non-human readers of your webpage what that text is about to tell them. Tags are your way of communicating with the search engines about your page. You can tell them about your page’s keywords, and you can give them instructions about what to take into consideration on your page.
The Title TagThe title of the page is found in this tag. This title appears to the user in the blue, topmost portion of the browser (in the standard Internet Explorer browser). Every page on your site should have a unique title, otherwise Google may index less pages from the site. It should contain your keyword, and preferably at the beginning. Do not, however, use this as a place to stuff dozens of keywords. When optimizing for Google, the title should preferably be no longer than 69 characters, as that is the maximum number of characters Google will display for the title in the search results.
The tag looks like this: <title> insert title </title>
The Meta Description TagA description of the page is provided in this meta-tag. Again, this is not the place to put a hundred keywords separated by commas, but rather a description of the page in one to two sentences. The description itself does not influence ranking, but it can influence the viewer to click. So make it engaging and do use your keyword, because the description will only show as the snippet on the search results page if the term searched for shows up in the description. Otherwise Google will just take a text excerpt off the page. When optimizing for Google, the title should preferably be no longer than 156 characters, as that is the maximum number of characters Google will display for the description in the search results.
The meta-tag looks like this: <meta name=”description” content=”insert description”>
The Meta Keywords TagThe keywords in the keyword tag used to be quite important to search engines. Over the last few years, this tag has become relatively insignificant to Google and most other search engines. If you’re only concerned about Google, who has said outright that they don’t use it for ranking, it’s actually better not to have keywords in the keyword tag, because you are then effectively telling your competition what your keywords are. (Although if you’re very altruistic you’re more than welcome to let us know.) Some other search engines might take it into consideration, so you can make the decision whether to have it or not. But definitely don’t “keyword-stuff” it, as that has the chance (although small) of impacting negatively on rankings.
The meta-tag looks like this: <meta name=”keywords” content=”insert keywords separated by commas”>
The Canonical TagThis tag helps if you have several pages on your website with the same content (often happens with different ways of ordering products on category pages on ecommerce websites, or tags on blogs that create multiple pages with different URLs but the same content), by having all the duplicate pages tell search engines “OVER HERE is the real page.” That way, Google won’t penalize you for duplicate content, and any links going to the duplicate URLs will send their link juice to your real page.
The tag looks like this: <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.mysite.com/mypage”/>
Put that tag on http://www.mysite.com/mypage itself, and then any time any parameters cause the page to be duplicated (e.g. http://www.mysite.com/mypage&order=az or http://www.mysite.com/tag/topicabc/mypage) the tag will point the search engine back to the original.
The Meta Content Type and Content Language TagsThese meta-tags tell the spider and the browser in which language and in which coding standard the site is written. These tags are important because they enable the spider to understand the contents of the site.
The meta-tags look like this:
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Language” content=”insert language code”>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”insert coding type and character set”>
The Meta Robots TagThis meta-tag is intended specifically for the robot - the search engine spider – which scans the site. The meta-tag is written in the following format:
<meta name=”robots” content=”insert parameters”/>
In the “content” section must be one or more of the following parameters:
INDEX – tells the spider to index the page
NOINDEX – tells the spider not to index the page, but to continue and follow the links to other pages
FOLLOW- tells the spider to continue and follow all links
NOFOLLOW – tells the spider not to follow the links on the page
This meta-tag is useful for different circumstances, such as when you create test pages on the site and does not want the spider to access them.
The name portion of the meta-tag contains the name of the spider to which the command is being directed. Every search engine has its own spider. When the parameter is just “robots”, it refers to all spiders.
Note: the default action for all spiders is to index the page and to follow the links. It’s not necessary to include a robots tag if all you’re going to tell it is INDEX, FOLLOW.
The Heading TagsThese tags identify headings and sub-headings within the text on the page, sometimes changing the visual aspect of the text (e.g. font size) and also identifying which text the spider should pay particular attention to. The top level heading is referred to as h1, the next as h2, and so on.
The tag looks like this: <h1> text </h1>
The Alternate Text TagsThese tags assign (invisible) text to images. They provide accessibility to people with visual disabilities who use audio aids to view websites, for people who use the internet with images off and to let the search engines know about your images (and what keywords to associate with them).
This tag is added into the image parameters as: alt=”text”
· Text to Code Ratio – the higher the ratio of text to code, the better.
· Empty Tags – if you’re erasing text, make sure to remove the tags also.
· Use of CSS – using cascading style sheets usually saves lines of code on the page by moving all of the style code onto special pages designated for such.
· Frames – it is not recommended to use frames at all.
· Iframe – this is a tag that effectively displays one webpage within the context of another. You can use this tag in order to set apart parts of a page that include long programming code, for example, and then tell Google not to index what is within the Iframe. Ordinarily you can’t block parts of a page, but with an Iframe, the spider sees it as a separate page.