Importance of Meta Tags for your site ranking

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Yellow Belt
There seems to be conflicting opinions if meta tags are still relevant to SEO or do spiders take any notice of them. I will say careful handling of Meta Tag Optimization can get you great Ranking Results.

What is Meta Tag?

Meta tags are used to describe the page content for search engines, they are pieces of code within your website that contain information about each page. Meta tags are the information inserted in the <head> area of the HTML code of your web pages, where apart from the Title Tag, other information inserted is not visible to the person surfing your web page but is intended for the search engine crawlers.
Meta Tags are included so that the search engines are able to list your site in their indexes more accurately. Meta Tags were originally designed to provide webmasters with a way to help search engines know what their site was about. Using Meta Tags, however, does not provide a guarantee that your website page would rank highly in the search engine rankings due to the rampant abuse and manipulation of the Meta keywords Tag by webmasters, most search engines don't support it anymore.

Writing Meta Tags

The first step for any site builder that want to optimize their pages would be to analyze your statistics to see who is finding your site by keyword through the search engines. Then you simply rewrite your page to include a keyword density of about 3 to every 100 words in your copy, while keeping your message clear and easy to understand.

<TITLE>The title of this page</TITLE>
<META NAME="Description" CONTENT="The description.">
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="keyword one, two, etc.">
<META NAME="robots" CONTENT="index,follow">

Types of Meta Tags

The Title Tag: The Title Tag is not a Meta Tag but it is very important, arguably the single most important element of on page optimization. The Title Tag is an HTML code that shows the words that appear at the top title bar of your browser. The Title Tag is not displayed anywhere else on the page. It is these words or phrase that appear as the title of your page in the hyperlink listings on the search engine results. Take the time to develop your title tags carefully, making sure you have a good keyword foundation from which to draw and that every page has its own unique title reflecting the subject and keyword terms being optimized for.
The significance of the Title Tag is evident as all search engines
use the Title Tag to gather information about your site.

The Meta Description Tag: The Meta Description Tag is an HTML code that allows you to give a short and concise summary of your web page content. The words placed in this Meta description Tag, are often used in the SERP, just below the Title Tag as a brief description of your page. Because it provides the search engines a brief description of each specific page, they must be page specific ie different and unique for each page. Limiting your it from 12 to 30 words while not exceeding 230 characters seems to be a good range for most search engines.
The problem is that the Meta description tag has been so badly abused by optimizers and web masters that some search engines give very little, if any weight to them at all... in fact, many search engines do not fully support description Meta tags at all. SE that use the Meta Description includes AltaVista, AllTheWeb and Teoma

The Meta Keywords Tag : The Meta keyword tag allows you to list the keywords for the page; however, most search engines do not support this tag. If you feel more comfortable using it, you can have about 15 important non-repetitive keywords in this Tag, separated by commas. List the primary keywords that pertain to that specific page, while putting the most important words at the beginning of the tag.

Meta Robots Tag : The Meta Robots Tag gives you the ability to specify whether search engines should index that page or follow the links appearing on that page. The best use of the Meta robots tag is when you want to keep the search engine spiders OUT and not let them index a page. However, there is no need for using Meta Robots tag if one is already using detailed robots.txt file to block any specific indexing.

The various commands used under Meta Robots Tag are:

<HEAD> <meta name="robots" content="index,follow"> <meta
name="robots" content="noindex,follow"> <meta name="robots"
content="index,nofollow"> <meta name="robots"
content="noindex,nofollow"> </HEAD>

(i) <meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
Index: allows the spider to index that page.

(ii) <meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow">
Noindex: instructs the spider not to index the page.

(iii) <meta name="robots" content="index,nofollow">
Do Not Follow: Index this page but DO NOT follow the links to other pages.

(iv)<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
DO NOT Index this page AND DO NOT follow all the links to other pages.


Yellow Belt
Good post! I can't understand anyone spending time, effort and money to build good websites then missing out the basics, like good meta tags.


Yellow Belt
So, I take it then that if the Meta Robots Tag isn't added the search engines will naturally index that page, and follow links to other pages. That's what I imagine most webmasters want to happen.

In other words, it probably isn't really necessary, unless you want to keep them out for some reason?Then you'd use it to noindex or nofollow.
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