SEO 101... These Tags Really Do Matter

In search of the coveted search engine traffic? Yes? Then don't ignore your meta tags. If anyone tells you that meta tags are not important, they are seriously misinformed. Follow these simple rules and the clicks will come. Skip them and the high search engine rankings that you work so hard for will never deliver on the true traffic potential.

Imagine that you check your incoming email and there are two messages waiting for you. You look at the summary information for each and they appear as follows:

MESSAGE #1:

From: unknownperson@obscuredomain.com

Subject: iaviq qiegaie aeiapih

MESSAGE #2:

From: your-favorite-guru@gurusite.com

Subject: An "insider" shortcut guide to creating sensational ads

If you're interested in how to write killer ads, which message gets opened and which goes in the trash? It's obvious I know, but it's relevant.

Test the search engine results for one of your website pages and here's what you'll find...

The search engine results pages (SERPs) for the big 4 search engines (Google, Yahoo, Altavista and MSN) display information to their users by spidering your web pages and grabbing the text from various areas. When someone conducts a search and sees your web page in the results, here's what you can expect them to see: GOOGLE: Your title tag Your description meta tag

***********

YAHOO!: Your title tag Your description meta tag Text from the upper area of your web page

***********

ALTAVISTA: Your title tag Your description meta tag Text from the upper area of your web page

***********

MSN: Your title tag Text from the upper area of your web page

Do you see the parallel between your web page's title tag and description meta tag in comparison to the "from" address and subject line in our email analogy above? The copy that you use in these tags becomes your advertisement to the world when your pages are displayed in search results.

Since each of the top 4 search engines display your title tag first, take some time and think through what you want people to see. Offer benefits. Offer a solution. And when you write the copy for your title tag, use your targeted keyword / phrase at the beginning of the title statement. Search engines place a high value on the title tag.

Your description tag (used by Google, Yahoo and Altavista) should serve as your call to action. Write your description in such a way that it compliments the title tag and motivates the searcher to click through to your site for the answers to their specific problem or need. Your targeted keyword phrase should be included once but not at the very beginning of the description.

How important is it that your website name be included in the title tag or description meta tag? You can draw your own conclusions, but in my view it's not important. The link to your website will show people where they're going from the SERPs, and after landing on your site the URL in their browser along with your site's branding will help them remember where they've landed.

Don't shortcut or poo-poo your site's title tags and description meta tags. When the day comes that you're ranked number one in your niche (and you will be), make sure that Google, Yahoo, Altavista and MSN display the information that will motivate searchers to click though to your site instead of the site listed just below you. It's your traffic. You earned it.

Copyright 2005 Ron Hutton

Ron Hutton is a 20 year sales and marketing veteran with a passion for coaching and training. Subscribe to "GoThrive Online", for Free Video Tutorials for Internet Marketing and big juicy marketing tips in small, easy-to-chew, bite size servings. Free Video Tutorial Archives Here: library/video-directory.html">http://www.gothrive.com/free-video-library/video-directory.html

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