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03 Nov 2008

Meta Tags Enhance Your Link Building Efforts

Meta TagsMeta tags can help improve your placement in search engines and can increase quality traffic to your web site.  Unfortunately, unless your website developer has a fundamental knowledge of search engine optimization, or you have an SEO professional review your site, many websites lack some of the fundamentals needed to enhance your site and increase traffic.
Even those who have a basic understanding of the importance of meta tags may not do everything required to optimize your site. Creating effective meta tags is a lot of work. However, the long term payoff is well worth it, especially in your link building efforts. Even with the most effective link building campaign, if your meta tags are not well-written for your specific web page, you can undermine your link building efforts. Search engine optimization success relies on these two factors to work together for ultimate effectiveness.

So what does your website meta tags need to have in order to garner the best results? Below are a few tips and guidelines for your website:

Title Tag.  Each page should have its own title tag.  Try to use 5 to 8 small to medium sized words and include one complete incidence of your keyword phrase.   This is important to all three of the major search engines and is what normally shows up in the listings displayed on the search results. Title tags for all of your webpages are extremely important. Make sure each is unique to the page on which it appears.
 
Meta Description.
  Start this tag with an incidence of your keyword phrase and then produce a short 15 – 18 word sentence clearly describing your web page. Keep in mind that the description tag is often viewed as the description for any rankings you achieve so it is best to make it as alluring as possible to potential site visitors.
 
Meta Keyword.
  Keyword tags have long been considered ineffective and no longer have any importance on Google; however Yahoo does still consider the keyword tag so include it. The keyword tag should start with the main keyword phrase. The maximum size of a keyword tag should be 250 characters, using commas to separate each phrase. Only use keywords that appear on that web page. As with title tags, this is important!
 
Keywords in URL.
  Create keyword-based filenames that closely represent the content within the file. Search engines tend to reward keyword-based filenames a small amount – perhaps enough to push past your competition. It’s worth the extra effort.
 
Headings.
  Heading 1 and 2 tags should be applied on every page where appropriate to embolden the relevance of the page. In other words, use the page’s keyword phrase within a Heading 1 tag to further enhance the visibility of the keyword phrase on the page.
 
Alt text for images.
  Don’t forget to provide appropriate ALT text for each image on your website. Adding an incidence of the keyword phrase or a portion of the keyword phrase is totally appropriate which can add slightly more credibility to your page score when the search engines index the page. 

While meta tags are no guarantee that your site will make it to the top of search engine results, they do serve as a way to offer the website owner the ability to control how pages are described on search engines. Quality link building is quite simply one of the most important activities you can undertake to get higher search engine rankings but with inferior meta tags, your website is working against itself to achieve these rankings.

[tags] meta tags, SEO, search engine optimization, link building [/tags]