A Brief Description of What a Meta Tag is
Here is our general overview of META Tags,
they are and how to use them
Plus a little history which explains why they are a little
tricky to do right.
META Tags are used to help catalog and categorize the contents
of a web page. They are not seen by your visitors, but instead
seen only by search engines. In theory the search engines
could just extract this information and include it in their
database as it contains all the necessary information to catalog
and categorize a web page. However, this simple idea simply
does not work. The reason is that like almost all areas of
endeavor people are more likely to try and cheat the system
than follow the rules. If we could get everyone to follow
one simple rule it would make life on the web and life in
general a whole lot easier. The rule: "Everybody has
to be honest".
Well we know thats not going to happen so lets discuss
how the system works in reality. No one knows how a search
engine works, and I mean no one. There is not "a programmer"
that knows how they work. These systems have become very large
and very complex. The majority of the search engine developers
time and effort is spent trying to keeping ahead of the liars
and cheaters. We wont go into all the ways that have
been used to try and trick the search engines, but if you
look at other sites about web site promotion Im sure
you see them touting some latest loophole they have found
to cheat the search engines to get your site to the top of
the list. If the trick is more than a day old
and it really works you can be certain that the search engine
programmers are busy trying to find a way to identify the
cheating sites and exclude them from the search engine. More
time and effort is spent trying to cheat the search engines
than in creating quality sites.
So how do you get your site listed in the search engine?
First and foremost create the best site you possibly can.
Part of this process is to create META Tags. You may have
trouble figuring out what to put in your META Tags. Which
keywords do I use? Use words that fit the contents of your
site. Say you created a site about Sam Jones. Sam likes surfing,
volleyball and hot dogs. Use Sam Jones in your
title, description and in your list of key words. If you do
that then your site will be more heavily weighted on Sam Jones
and less on surfing, volleyball and hot dogs. The search engines
will search the contents of your page to see if you indeed
talk about Sam Jones.
To achieve a high position in the search engines it is best
to concentrate on a small number of words and include them
in the title, description and keyword META tags as well as
at the start of your web page. As more keywords are added,
the relevance of each is diluted resulting in a lower score
by the some search engine algorithms.
Avoid the temptation to stuff too many words in your META
tags and avoid repeating your keywords as this may be considered
spamming by some engines resulting in your site being blacklisted,
penalized or banned.
Some search engines concentrate on only the <TITLE>
tag and very little else. Site builders have reported that
Altavista works in this manner. Some search engines ignore
the META tags altogether and concentrate on the body of the
web site. Including your keywords in the top line of text
on the page can help for situation.
Remember no matter what you do to optimize your page for
one engine today may not take the same page to the top spot
in another search engine or even the same search engine in
the future. So if youre not willing to spend your full
time keeping up with the changing search engine technology
then just keep it simple and honest and the search engines
will eventually find a way to find you. After all their goal
to find the best sites on the net.
Consider the case when Geo Cities first came online and caused
thousands of pages to be created. Barely related pages from
Geo Cities would come up constantly on your searches, but
they dont anymore. How come? Did those pages disappear?
Not likely. A simple solution would be to simply exclude Geo
Cities from the search. But what about great sites on Geo
Cities? One solutions that works well for search engines is
to check the sites popularity? What do they mean by popularity?
Its not actually how many times the site is visited.
After all the search engines themselves are sending users
to the pages. They judge the popularity of a site by how many
links exist to your site. The theory is that if a human checked
out your site and thought it was worthy enough to put an actually
link to it then it must have some content of value. So this
again leads us to fact that your site must have value.
Another type of Search Engine which is not really
a search engine at all is a human edit directory. How much
would bet that the search engines check out these human edited
directories to add weight to sites listed in them? These are
great place to get you site listed. Remember at the heart
of (under all the new bells and whistles) of Yahoo lies the
granddaddy of human edited directories. Some people swear
that this directory never get updated anymore, but it does.
Its just take a very very long time to get listed. And
Im sure that is electronically assisted. In other words
they dont look at site that arent statistically
popular yet. Ill bet they arent the first directory
to list a site unless their paid to do so of course.