SEO technology is fast-moving and ever-changing, the industry is a highly fragmented and full of new folks entering it to “get rich quick,” so it’s no wonder it’s hard to learn the truth about SEO. In this blog post, I summarize which metatags matter and which don’t when optimizing your website for search engine performance.
What MetaTags Matter to the Search Engines
Page Titles Rule!
If there is one thing you can spend a little time and effort on, it’s page titles. Make sure your webmaster hasn’t automated this so that every time a page is created the title shows your company name and the menu option for the page. You need descriptive titles that give visitors and search engines a clue to what exactly each page is about. Note that page titles are not officially meta data, but they matter!
Meta Descriptions Make a Difference.
Descriptions may not be weighed heavily for keyword relevance by the search engines, but they are a critical element. If they exist, search engines such as Google and Bing will display your meta descriptions under the link to the page on the search results. This is your opportunity to write compelling copy to get visitors clicking through! Note that if you don’t have descriptions, some search engines just grab the first words on the page and throw them up.
Meta Keywords – Not So Much. But Why Not?
Over the years keywords have been weighed less and less. Google doesn’t pay much attention, According to Danny Sullivan’s blog post on SearchEngineLand.com, Bing uses it not for positive search engine ranking but for spotting spammers. Some minor search engines use keywords and some say keyword metatags contribute to keyword density in a positive way – I know we still add them as it’s not a lot of effort, and we’re not abusing them – we “color in the lines” (follow proper keyword guidelines) on this.
Webmasters, marketers, SEO peeps – do you agree? Disagree? Please comment, we’d love to hear your opinions.