A Basic Primer on Metatags
Metatags are very important for your website. You really should have a grasp of the basic tags and use them. They are one of the ways that search engines understand what's on your webpages.
What are metatags?
Metatags are little notations on your webpages that cannot be seen by the average person coming and browsing your website. But, they are seen, and paid attention to by the search engines that look at your site. This is because they have important information about your webpages. And if you don't know about metags or you aren't using them you are losing out on a lot of search engine traffic.
Metatags are really easy to understand and I will go over a few of the more important ones so you can utilize them in your website and increase your search engine traffic.
First off, Metatags are placed in the header of your webpages. The header is a beginning section of every webpage that has valuable information. All of this header stuff is not seen by a web browser but it is seen by search engines.
The most basic structure of a website goes like this:
The first line tells the browser that this page is html and the last line tells the browser that the html or page is done. the slash is the closing sign for html commands. So everything in between these two commands <html> and </html> is part of that command.
Now after the <html> command you see a <head> command. This is the header of your webpage and between this command and it's closing command </head> you should put all your header commands that the search engines will look at.
Here are the most important commands to put in and why
The Title Tag
This is the title command and it tells the search engine, and browser what the title of the current web page is. The search engines consider this to be very important so you should put text in that command that makes sense in terms of what is found on the webpage. Here is a good example of a descriptive and succinct title
<title> How to make a website for beginners </title>
It tells everybody exactly what the page is about. And it will be very carefully considered by the search engines. Make sure you put individual titles for all your pages and make them descriptive of the page.
The description Tag
The description tag is kind of like a more in depth title tag. Here you get to be more specific and speak in natural language. Often times this is what appears directly in the search engine listings so make it reasonably succinct and descriptive.
<meta name="description" content="The easy guide for making websites when you have no experience at all. Everything you need to get started. ">
To make your meta description tag you would copy exactly all the black text and put your text in replace of my blue text.
The Keyword Tag
The keyword tag tells search engines important words and short phrases that are contained on the page. Keywords are a very important way that search engines categorize, find and display information. Take the top several keywords and insert them in the command. Understanding keywords can take a bit of practice and if you need to learn more I have several tutorials on this site about them.
Here is the tag:
<meta name="keywords" content="web design, make a website, beginners, tutorial ">
After each keyword or keyword phrase put a comma and a blank space. Keep this list short. If you put too many keywords the search engine may think you are trying to manipulate the system and penalize you. So, just do three to five.
Let's put this all together and take a look:
There we go. Inside the head tags we have our three important tags of title, description and keywords. There are other tags and lots of other things you can define but these are the big three and you really need to do them for every page. It is well worth the effort.
If you use a program like dreamweaver or Frontpage you can put these tags in quickly and without worrying about the html or where the header is. Just look for the menu items for title, keyword and description. You can enter the text and the program will put it in the correct spot on the page with the correct commands.