Optimizing Your Business Website with Meta Tags - dummies

Optimizing Your Business Website with Meta Tags

By Jan Zimmerman

Unlike Google’s emphasis on inbound links, most search engines rely on internal consistency between business website content, keywords and meta tags to produce search engine results. A hierarchical directory is organized by fixed subject area, such as the yellow pages or books on library shelves, rather than arranged on the fly by relevance in response to a search request.

Using human editors to review and assign sites to categories, Yahoo! and the Open Directory Project were eventually overwhelmed by the explosion in the number of websites. Unable to compete with the more powerful Google search algorithms, Yahoo! shifted to Microsoft Bing search technology in 2009 and dropped its paid inclusion program. The Open Directory site has fallen years behind in its indexing, though some diehards insist on its value.

Essential in the early days of the web, a long set of meta tags provided a structured description of a website for directory purposes. Meta tags appear at the beginning <head> tag of the code on every web page to provide information to browsers and search engines. Most meta tags are no longer necessary, but three retain value: title, page description, and keyword.

As search algorithms improve, even these meta tags carry less importance for ranking purposes. However, they can provide an edge in some cases, and they help you structure content in a practical way.

You can easily see meta tags for any website: Just view the source in your web browser. Simply right-click a web page and choose View Source in Internet Explorer or View Page Source in Firefox. Alternatively, use the browser toolbar. Choose View→Source in Internet Explorer or View→Page Source in Firefox. The meta tags should appear near the top of a separate window, as shown just below the <head> tag at http://guidedimagerydownloads.com, shown in the illustration below.

Check out the title, keyword, and page description meta tags for this site. [Credit: Used by permis
Credit: Used by permission, www.guidedimagerydownloads.com
Check out the title, keyword, and page description meta tags for this site.