How to Add Meta Tags for Search Engines in Dreamweaver

In Dreamweaver you find features that help you add meta tags for keywords and descriptions. If you've heard of meta tags, you probably associate them with search engines, and you'd be right. Meta tags are used for a variety of things, but one of the most common uses is to provide special text in the code at the top of the page.

This code doesn't appear in a web browser when your page is viewed but can be read by crawlers, bots, and other programs that scour the web cataloging and ranking web pages for Bing, Google, and a long list of other search-related sites.

Here’s a brief explanation of each tag; the steps for filling each tag with text are coming up:

  • Meta keyword tag: A meta keyword tag enables you to include a list of keywords you would like search engines to match if someone searches for those words. Unfortunately, meta keywords have been so abused by web designers attempting to mislead visitors about the true content of their web pages that most search engines ignore the meta keyword tag and its contents.

    That said, using this meta tag won’t hurt your ranking with any search engines and many search engine experts still include them.

  • Meta description tag: This tag is important and should be included in every page in your website. The meta description tag is designed to let you include a written description of each page, a worthwhile endeavor because most search engines, including Google, use the meta description as the brief description that appears in search results pages.

    Make the description a call to action, almost like a short advertisement, for the page that will get potential visitors to click your link when they are reading through a list of matches to a search. If you don't include your own text in a meta description tag, many search engines use the first several words that appear on your page as the description.

    The advent of social media has made the meta description tag even more important. When someone posts your web page by entering the URL into a social media site, the text you include in the meta description tag is included automatically with their post. Similarly, the meta description is included when someone shares a page on your site using a social media icon.

You can include the same meta description on every page of your site, but the best strategy is to include a description specific to the contents of each page on your site.

Follow these steps to add a meta description tag to your page:

  1. Open the page where you want to add a meta description.

  2. Choose Insert→Head→Description.

    (Alternatively, you can use the Head option from the Common Insert panel.) The Description dialog box appears.

  3. In the Description text box, enter the text you want for your page description.

    Don't add any HTML to the text in this box. Most search engine experts recommend that you limit this text to no more than 160 characters because that is all that will be included in the search results page on sites such as Google.

  4. Click OK.

    The description text you entered is inserted between the <head> tags area at the top of the page in the HTML code. Meta content doesn’t appear in the body of the page, but you can find it just below the <title> tag if you look at the code behind the page.

If you want to add keywords, repeat Steps 1–4, choosing Insert Head →Keywords in Step 2. Type a list of keywords, separated by commas, in place of a description in Step 3.

Dreamweaver’s meta tag tools are somewhat limited. You can use them to add tags but not to edit them. To edit the text in meta description or keyword tags after you’ve inserted them, you have to view the code and edit the text in Code view. You’ll find this text near the top of the HTML code, just below the <title> tag in the area surrounded by the <head> tags.

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