How important is Meta Data Optimisation to your website?

Understanding Meta data is quite simple really as it is a type of data that it used by webmasters to support websites being indexed by search engine spiders correctly. In this article I will run through the types of Meta data that is most commonly used for SEO purposes and break down the importance of each one to your site.

Description Tags

Description Tags are usually about 170 characters long and provide a brief overview of what to expect when entering the website. As a result a webmaster will want to make this information as relevant and effective as possible as well as adding in some keywords. This can sometimes mean that many webmasters will keyword stuff this section however according to Matthew Bredel creator of SEO exciter ‘description tags are fairly minimal to SEO’. This is because the major search engines do not take description tags in to account when ranking websites.

Nevertheless description tags can play an important role when marketing your website for if it gets indexed in Google or another major search engine more often than not they will use the same description as the one you have provided in your description tag. Therefore I would consider using your description tag as a conversion tool rather than an SEO one as here you can advertise your site directly to your target market in an attempt to entice them on to your website as well as increasing your site visibility.

Keyword tags

Keyword tags can be slightly deceptive as many webmasters may think that typing in as many keywords that they want to be ranked for into this section and then they will start to appear in the search engine will be sorely mistaken. As web browsers have evolved the value of the keyword tag has reduced as the browsers are now more intelligent. This means that via their spiders they can work out more information about your website as a whole before deciding whether or not it should rank for a specific keyword.

Consequently if you have invested a lot of time and capital into successful keyword research it is advisable that you don’t put your best keywords into this section. The reason behind this is competitors may look at the keywords that you are using and decide to use them for themselves; essentially you would be doing the hard work for them.

Robots

Although not entirely necessary if the website has all the right information robots (robots.txt) are files embedded with instructions. These tell the search engine spiders how to look for certain information on your site and do it in a methodical order to ensure the spiders gets the best information from its search. However it would be prudent if you’re not skilled in the art of website design to employ someone to do this part of the web design for you as if not researched properly it can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of your site.

Leyton Semantic Index:

Before explaining the most important tags for your webpage it might be beneficial for you to find out a bit of background information to help you understand the major search engines. A couple of years ago it became evident to the major search engines that people were essentially just spamming their website with the certain keywords to take advantage of how the search engines operated. This posed the problem of businesses could then artificially create a website with the optimum focus on their set keywords and they would feature in the rankings. The solution to this problem was to create the Leyton Semantic Index which took into account the content of your site. It checks to see if the webpage contains other keywords or phrases that are relevant to the keywords that you are currently optimising for. The advantage of this is that the search engines can now get a far better view of which websites are more relevant to each keyword and can be ranked in a much better way.

Title Tags

The most important tag to optimise on your website is the title tag. These are vital to the website as they are there to clearly define the agenda of the page therefore they should be clear, concise and use keywords relevant to that page. The reason that the title tags are the most important to a webpage is that search engines use them as a key factor when ranking websites for particular keywords. Google gives websites 66 characters to post their relevant keywords in their title tags therefore it is definitely worth targeting more than one keyword to focus on to increase the chances of your site ranking for multiple phrases. Yahoo on the other hand gives sites 120 characters to optimise keywords so it is best to get a readable title in 66 characters and then add additional keywords in specifically for Yahoo.

Header Tags

When undertaking SEO you have to consider the next stage as a continuation of the previous step therefore your header tags (H1 tags) should be related to the title tag. This doesn’t mean they have to be identical but relevant keywords are most definitely advisable. This will show the search engine spiders the tone of the content and what sort of information they are likely to find. Obviously you will still have to ensure that the content is correlated with the title tags and header tags but these are the main places to optimise your site for the keywords that you want to be ranked for.

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