Ok, so now you understand how search engines work. How do you put that to work for your site? Let’s start with those Meta Tags mentioned in the first part of this series. Meta Tags are certainly not the be-all and end-all solution to getting your website seen, but it certainly can help. There are several Meta Tags you can put in your website header, but probably the most useful ones are the keyword, description, and robot tags. If you aren’t familiar with HTML, or for some reason, don’t want to create these tags yourself, there are lots of utilities out there to create them. Just search for “meta tag generator.”
The Description Tag
The description tag is important, as this is what encourages users to click on your site when they get their results. The site description is what is displayed below your page’s title in the user’s search results. If you don’t have a description tag, the search engine will attempt to create one based on what is on your page. It’s worth spending a little bit of time to create a really good description tag. Your description tag should be short, sweet, and to the point. Try to trim your description so that it tells the user what they need to know, in about 15 words or less. Most search engines display just a small amount of text under the link, so you want to make sure you aren’t cut off half way through! For example, if your tag says “XYZ Store! If you visit this site, you will find lots of widgets and baubles here to buy!” it might be cut off so that when it shows up on the user’s results, it looks like this: “XYZ Store! If you visit this site….” That doesn’t tell the user anything, and they might not click on your site’s link. If, instead, your tag had said “Widgets and baubles here at XYZ store that you can buy” the first few words tell the user what they will find. You should be aware that some (not all) of the major search engines do not support the description tag, but it’s worth having on the page for those that do support it.
In the next entry, we will discuss the keywords tag.