Website visibility: Choosing the right meta tags

Having a website is an important step towards gaining more exposure for your business. Once it is up and running, how will your target audience find it?

Most people find websites with the help of a search engine. In order to be found and properly indexed by search engines, your site needs good meta tags, such as 'title', 'description' and 'keywords' tags, that optimize your content for findability. While meta tags are not seen by visitors to your website, search engines use the tags to read, categorize, and interpret the content of your pages.

In addition to using key terms and phrases throughout your page, you'll want to make sure you optimize your title, description and keywords meta tags for the best results.

How do search engines find your website?

When a user enters a query into a search engine, the engine sifts through the pages recorded in its index to find the best matches, and then ranks the results in order of relevance. Each search engine uses its own formula to determine the significance, relevancy and ranking of any web page it comes across. Each search engine's algorithm works differently and may turn up different results for identical search terms.

A few things search engines look for:

Which meta tags are key for search engine optimization?

Using the correct metadata, such as proper titles, descriptions, and keywords, can positively affect how search engines rank your website.

Title meta tag

Recognized by every major search engine, this is one of the most important meta tags. The title ensures that the correct name of your website appears in a search engine listing.

Including relevant keywords in the title can get your page a higher ranking in search engine listings. Do not simply list key terms; give your page a proper title.

Description meta tag

Summarize your page concisely by using the description meta tag. This text appears in the search engine results as a summary beneath the title of your page. Write a description that is approximately 150 characters in length (longer descriptions may get cut off in the display of search results).

When you compose the description:

Keywords meta tag

Finding the key words or phrases that represent your content is important for attracting the right visitors to your website. Ideally, these key words or phrases should be incorporated naturally into the text of your content, and into the title and description.

If your website has an internal search engine, you can optimize your pages for search by entering key terms in a keywords meta tag. This field can contain things like synonyms, acronyms, and misspellings that are not visible on the webpage itself. Be aware that major search engines generally ignore this data, and pay more attention to the naturally occurring keywords in the content on the page. To find the right keywords to use, you'll need to know your content and learn about your audience's search behaviours. When you compose the keywords:

Your website's analytical data might help you find some of the key terms that people are using to find your pages. In addition, some search engines offer tools that can help you gain insight into frequently searched keywords.

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