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Are Meta Tags Enough to Save Your Website From Search Engine Obscurity?

In a word, no. If that word isn’t enough to satisfy your hunger for knowledge, read on to find out what meta tags are and what they can do for you.

Simply speaking, a meta tag is a bit of HTML code embedded into the “head” area of a webpage, and they are invisible to human readers. If you think that humans are the only entities viewing your website, think again. When your site is up and running, it becomes visible to search engine spiders, which assess it for information about its content and quality. This way, search engines know how and where to rank your site in their search results. An SEO campaign focuses on making your site more searchable to these spiders, therefore moving it up in the rankings of major search engines, leading to more visitors and higher rates of conversion for you.

Promote Your Website in the Search Engines with SEO

Meta tags should be a part of your SEO strategy, but not in the way you might think. In the past—think late 90s—meta tags were heavily evaluated by all major search engines as an indicator of what any given website was about. However, a number of unscrupulous webmasters abused meta tags by stuffing them with irrelevant keywords, which often led search engines to direct confused visitors to sites they weren’t looking for. Therefore, many major search engines have discontinued use of meta tags as a source of reliable information, and rely on other factors such as body copy for data about the content of a site.

This is not to say that meta tags are entirely obsolete; in fact, some search engines do in fact still use meta tags, and therefore your webpages should use them also. They must be used carefully, though, since they can negatively impact your search engine ranking, especially if you’re caught keyword stuffing. The lesson here is to use meta tags in the same way you would use keywords in the body copy of your website: intelligently, ethically, and sparingly.