Key words and MetaTags are essential tools to help your website to rank higher on
the search engines. Here's some advice on how to use them.

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Key words and MetaTags

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The keys to your website being found

Key words and MetaTags are essential tools to help your website to rank higher on the search engines. Here's some advice on how to use them.

Everyone knows that it is essential that people can find your site on the Web through being able to use search engines and directories. But there are still plenty of folk who don't understand just how search engines index a Web page, or how they should use META tags on their pages.

In contrast to Web directories, which rely on brief descriptions of your site which you provide, search engines rely on what they find on each page. Many search engines index every word on the page, but it is the description of your page which a search engine user reads that can make all the difference between whether they visit your page or not.

Not all search engines use the same way to provide descriptions. But here are the two most common ways:
  1. The first few words (e.g. 250 characters) that appear on the page, after the </HEAD> tag. So make sure that these provide a sufficiently tempting description of what the user will find.
  2. The META tags, which must appear within the <HEAD></HEAD> tags on the page. The search engines will commonly use two of these META tags:
    • The Description Tag. Example: <META NAME="description" CONTENT="An essential site for anyone who wants to breed butterflies">.
    • The Keywords Tag. Example <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="butterfly, butterflies, breed, insect, lepidoptery">. You can use as many keywords as you like.
  3. The <TITLE> tag. This is what appears at the top of the browser window, and is inserted in the <TITLE> tag in the header of your page. The visitor sees it, and it may not appear to be important. But some search engines use the TITLE of a page more than anything else to index and rank your web site. Also, some search engines use this as the first line in their result - in the example above, this is "1.Marketing Magic - selling, advertising, promotion and marketing advice" Think of this as an attention getting headline - and also put some of the key words in the <TITLE> tag.
META Tagging for Search Engines, in the Web Developer's Virtual Library (a very useful source) has more detailed information. Want someone else to develop META tags for you - try META Builder. Just fill in the form and the appropriate HTML will be delivered to you.

By thinking of some of your page content in terms of search engines, and by using META tags, you will greatly increase the chances of people finding and visiting your site. But remember, the excessive use of repetitive keywords in the meta tags will cause Infoseek, and some other engines not to index your site! This is called 'search engine spamming' (Thanks to Jon Sturgis of Simple Communications for sending us this addition to this article).

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