Search Engine Basics: Title And META-Tags
Your Title-tag and META-tag are simply lines of text
inserted into the HTML code of each of your web pages.
The Title-tag is one of the most important pieces of
information for a search engine. The Title-tag should
describe exactly what the web page contains. It should
contain keywords, but not repeats, of terms you hope to be
found for. It should also be as readable as possible. The
Title-tag will be the first thing someone sees in a search
The Title-tag should be no longer than 70 characters and
should contain words and phrases that accurately describe
the content of a page. Try to make the Title-tags located
throughout your site unique and relevant. Every word in the
Title should be contained somewhere on the page they are
used for. Research has also shown that a strong call to
action will usually produce more clicks than a basic
The META-tag is used to store information about a web page
but is not actually displayed in a web browser. For example,
META-tags provide information such as what application was
used to create the page, a description of the page, and
keywords that are relevant to the page. Many search engines
use the information stored in META-tags when they index web
As I stated earlier, META-tag information is not displayed
in a web browser. However, if you view the source code of
any web page you will see the HTML code behind that page. To
see the code, simply go to any website using Internet
Explorer and click "view" then "source."
NOTE: It's okay to view, but please don't steal someone
else's source code. Imagine how you would feel, if someone
did that to you.
For quite some time now, META-tags have been the focus of a
particular field of marketing research known as search
engine optimization, or SEO. In the mid to late 1990s,
search engines were heavily reliant on META-tag data to
correctly classify a web page.
Webmasters quickly learned the significance of writing META-
tags correctly, as it frequently led to higher rankings on
search engines--and thus, more traffic to their websites.
As search engine traffic achieved greater significance in
online marketing campaigns, SEO's who were well-versed in
how search engines perceive a website exploded onto the
scene. These SEO's used a variety of techniques (legitimate,
and otherwise) to improve search engine rankings for their
Over the last few years, however, search engines have become
much less reliant on META-tags, as many webmasters cheated
by using inappropriate tactics and keywords to direct as
much traffic as possible to their sites.
And while not nearly as important as they once were, some
search engines, still take META-tags into some consideration
when delivering results.
In addition, search engines have become smarter, penalizing
websites that cheat by repeating the same keyword(s) several
times in order to get a boost in the search engines.
Make no mistake, cheaters pay a heavy price, indeed. Instead
of ascending in ranking, cheating websites actually descend
in ranking or, in some instances, are deleted from the
search engine's database altogether.
A word of advice: Because search engines are constantly
changing their algorithms, don't spend a lot of time on
search engine optimization. That should just be one part of
your overall marketing strategy. It's much more important to
form alliances with businesses similar to yours, and
increase the number of links to your site.
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