The Meta Tag Myth

Earlier this week someone asked me about checking the meta tags within his site. Unfortunately, he had heard the big myth that good keywords in meta tags are all that’s needed to rank #1 at the major search engines.

There are a variety of factors involved to achieve high search engine rankings. I recently wrote a tutorial on designing search engine friendly sites that include some top-notch sites for search engine information. Here’s some brief info:

  • Designing For Search Engines and Stars
    published at Digital Web (my latest tutorial) provides a sweeping overview of many of the details to keep in mind, including potential stumbling blocks and how to avoid them. While geared toward experienced designers, it’s also helpful for site owners, too.
  • Search Engine Watch (Danny Sullivan) and High Rankings (Jill Whalen and Heather Martin)
    are both exceptional resources for reliable information about search engines and achieving good rankings. They both offer newsletters, with Search Engine Watch offering a free monthly newsletter, and Rank Write offering a free weekly discussion newsletter in which they respond to questions that have been sent in. I highly recommend them both. You’ll also find a gold mine of articles and archived newsletters at these sites.
  • Search Engine Information and Resources at
    Many annotated links to top-notch search engine information, search engines, and related.

If you want to utilize search engines for bringing visitors in to your site, the most important consideration is to have at least 250 words packed with great keyword phrase content on the main page. The way the page is designed can also stop search engines in their tracks or help the spiders proceed through the site. Other important details are the title tags (the descriptive words you typically see in the top strip of your browser window), the navigation, and the behind the scenes coding.

Some search engines don’t even use meta tags, so keep in mind that while meta tags are important, they’re only one of several important ingredients. I’ve only barely scratched the surface here, but you’ll find loads of details in the references above.

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Categories: SEO

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