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Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ Category

In the world of Search Engine Optimization—more widely known by the masses these days as “SEO,” just about everyone and any seo company knows the importance of keyword placement, page rankings and driving traffic to websites. Although this practice has been in active use for quite some time now, the question still remains as to how an individual or company can ensure that their SEO efforts not only places their website high in search results, but maximizes their ROI (Return on Investment), where applicable.Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Perhaps the most important lesson all people should keep in mind is the fact that there is no black and white, clear-cut strategy that produces top results each time. In addition to the important SEO factors laid out below, trial and error is almost always a part of the process as well. Knowing this ahead of time will help those attempting to tackle SEO better understand what the potential outcome could be and avoid setting unrealistic expectations.

What You Already Know About SEO (And Why You’re Still Not Seeing Results)

Tags –Including tags into your content is an added benefit that helps search engines determine how to categorize your site and the best way to handle the information. However, the relevance of tags when it comes to SEO has changed dramatically, especially when it comes to search engines and indexing.

According to Search Engine Journal, search engines originally relied on tags heavily to decide where a site will rank in online searches. Unfortunately, this realization caused many to overuse the tags in an effort to get recognized instantly. The end result: search engines deciding they’re not that important after all.

Is that to say you shouldn’t focus on including proper tags into your pages? Of course not. However, it is important to not focus too much of your energy on them. Proper SEO requires more than just concentrated effort in any one area.

Keywords – It is no secret that keywords are the “key” to being placed favorably in online search results and boosting a site’s presence on the Internet. At the same time, the concept of using keywords for SEO purposes has also led to some of the most commonly made mistakes. This includes overusing the keywords to an extent that while it may be fine for search engines to index, it completely makes no sense to the people actually reading it.

As far as how the use of keywords relates to getting results, SeoMoz has found through studies conducted that practices such as keyword density is virtually “a complete myth as an algorithmic component.” The site also concludes that based on the studies’ results:

“While it’s true that more usage of a keyword term/phrase can potentially improve targeting/ranking, there’s no doubt that keyword density has never been the formula by which this relevance was measured.”

To sum it up: use your keywords the appropriate number of times that makes sense within the context of the content. When it comes to keyword variations, stick to using only one or two variations of a keyword term/phrase.

What You Really Need to Know About SEO

While the information above may seem discouraging, it’s vital to see it in perspective. Keywords and tags are still an essential component to SEO and SEM campaigns but they are not the only factors that make an impact. Below are some factors that may be overlooked or even ignored.

Quality Content – For some reason, people still think throwing together a few paragraphs and then hammering them with various keywords is what makes for an ideal SEO approach. Wrong! It is important to understand that the content you’re offering up to the search engines to index are also being displayed to human beings that will be reading what you’ve posted. Content that is engaging, informative and includes the basics of SEO almost always increases the link conversion rate, which is described by SEOmoz as being the “ratio of those who visit to those who link after viewing.” So take the time to craft sentences that are articulate, thoughtful, entertaining and enjoyable for people to read. Without strong content, any SEO efforts will be useless.

Spread The Word – Sure, on-site SEO is the backbone of just about all online marketing efforts but it isn’t the only one. Off-site SEO methods should also be incorporated to cover all of your bases and maximize results. The following off-site ideas come from MrDefinite.com and have been proven to produce favorable results for those that implement them properly:

  • Social Networking: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook—there’s no shortage of ways to get the word out about your site by connecting with people with similar interests.
  • Subscribe to Groups: Become an active member of online groups that are highly visible (i.e. Google Groups). Participate in discussions to create a presence on those sites and leave answers in your posts that include your link.
  • Article Directories: You can’t do SEO alone. Take advantage of article directories and submit to all of the top performing ones. There are tons so chances are you’ll have luck with at least a handful.
  • Contact Site Owners: When done the right way (not appearing desperate or demanding), asking site owners if they’d be interested in one of your articles with your link included or inquiring about a link exchange, could boost your SEO results, especially if the site you’re contacting already has massive online exposure and plenty of readers.
  • Backlinking: Having a link on someone else’s site directing the person who clicks it to your own site is among one of the most effective ways to attract new people.

Proper Keyword Placement: Turn some of your attention away from the tedious meta tags and make sure to put your keywords where they really count, which is the title, URLs and internal links. Studies show these three basic elements increase the potential a page has to perform well.

No successful SEO campaign is without its flaws. Only through trial and error, consistency and time will relevant results appear. Keep at it and your efforts will definitely pay off.

In sum, we leave you with the following video from Matt Cutts (Google) where he speaks to one factor that may influence SEO, domain registration length.  As you may have gathered, there are MANY factors that go into SEO, and the ones listed here are by far the most important!

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Everyone Needs A Keyword Tool!

Posted by Jane on August 1st, 2007

This is a continuation to the Keyword Analysis series I recently did. Now that I have walked you through 3 phases of doing a keyword analysis, what do you do next???

Well, after you put together your keyword list, the next step is to use a keyword tool and other services that are available for webmasters. Looking at a keyword tool will enable you to discover additional terms you haven’t thought of before and help you determine which terms are most important. Essentially, it’s looking at which terms are used most often by people looking for your website or keywords.

Both free and paid versions of keyword tools are available. For the most part, free products are all you really need when first starting out, but there are some really good tools out there that you can pay for. Two good ones that come to mind are Google External Keyword Tool and WordTracker. For the more advanced bloggers, these are great options to check out. If you do have the extra cash, I recommend that you fork over the dough and use Wordze, one of the world’s top search engine keyword tool.

Free Keyword Tools

And now for the freebies, the Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool is a great option. Overture is a PPC service. Overture is a free tool that allows you to see how often a search term is used each month.

Here’s how to find and best use this tool:

  1. Point your browser to http://inventory.overture.com/.
  2. Type a search term and press Enter.

That’s it! The tool tells you how often that term was searched for during the previous month. The number isn’t too important, but what it does tell you is that some keywords are more popular than others. For instance, if one word was searched for 35,000 times last month, and another one for 10,000, you can be sure that the first term is the most important one.

Overture provides other search terms, too. It looks for similar and related terms, lists them, and also provides the number of times that those terms were searched for. This can also help you come up with additional terms for your list.

Other keyword tools

http://www.iwebtool.com

Iwebtool is great because it gives you multiple webmaster tools, not just a keyword tool. For example, the site provides you with a pagerank predictor, link popularity, keyword suggestions, keyword density checker, and much more. It’s one of the better free tools you can get.

Google Webmasters is also a great tool to use if you have a blog, website or an online business that you are want to SEO.

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Learn How To Do A Keyword Analysis Part III

Posted by Jane on July 27th, 2007

This will be the last post of the Learn How To Do A Keyword Analysis series.  I left you with part II of doing a Keyword Analysis where I explained the differences and opportunities there are by having misspelled words.   Today I want to briefly talk about other keyword considerations as you are finalizing your keyword list.

Hyphenated words

Let’s go back to your list of keywords that we’ve been working with throughout this series.  Take a look at it and see if you have any hyphenated words on your list that could be used without the hyphen, or vice versa. Some terms are commonly used both ways, so find out what people are searching most for and stick to that one.  Here are two examples:

Two terms that come to mind are ecommerce and e-commerce.  Both of these words are fairly similar in how many people search for these terms.  A little over 50 percent of searches using the latter term.

The dash in “e-mail” is far less frequently used, with “email” being the most common term.

Essentially, find hyphenated words, add both forms to your list, and decide which one is more common because search engines treat them as different searches.

Web Tip:

Search engines generally treat a hyphen as a space. So searching for sock-puppets is the same as searching for sock puppets. However, there is a real big difference between e-commerce and ecommerce.

Geo-specific terms

Geo stands for Geography.  Is you website or business heavily reliant on geography? Are you selling shirts in Seattle or socks in New Mexico? Don’t forget to include terms that include your city, state, or other nearby cities.

A good example of this is Nate Whitehill.  He’s based out of Arizona and advertises his Infinfx web hosting business as Scottsdale Web Design & Hosting.  If you do a google search for “Scottsdale Web Hosting” Infinfx shows up #2 for that search.

Other company names

If people will likely be searching for companies similar to yours, add those companies and products to your list. That’s not to say you should use these keywords in your pages. But it’s nice to know what people are looking for and how often they’re looking.  It’s a competitive analysis sort of speak.

If anyone else has different strategies as to how they do their analysis, I’d love to hear about them.  I am always learning new things everyday :-)

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Learn How To Do A Keyword Analysis Part II

Posted by Jane on July 25th, 2007

I’ve received a lot of great feedback on the Learn How To Do A Keyword Analysis post I wrote about a week ago. I want to expand on that post and take a closer look at your keyword list once you have actually put it down on paper. Now that you have done your brainstorm, looked at access logs, looked at competitors, and asked friends for their feedback on what they would search for, lets get down to business.

After putting together that initial list, you should go through it looking for more obvious keywords to include. Don’t dwell on this if you’re struggling because all you’re doing is creating a draft list to run through a keyword tool. This tool will show you how many people are actually typing in those keywords that you have on your list into search engines. The higher the number that shows up on those results, the more people are searching for that keyword and the more popular it is.

Obvious Spelling Mistakes

Scan through your list and see if you can think of any obvious spelling mistakes. Some spelling mistakes are pretty important, with 10, 15, or even 20 percent of all searches containing the word being misspelled, sometimes even more! For example, the word calendar is misspelled a lot! About thirty percent of all searches on the word calendar are misspelled!

Web Idea:

If the traffic from a misspelled word is high, you may want to create a page on your site that uses that misspelling. Or even better, create a separate domain for that specific misspelling and use it as a landing page for some sort of affiliate marketing campaign. Some sites contain what I call “Duh” pages. Basically, Duh pages are those that have misspellings in the TITLE tags, which can work very well. These don’t have to be pages that tons of people see. After all, the only people who will see the misspelled titles in a search results page are those who misspelled the words in the first place! So they’ll never know its wrong :-)  Kinda evil huh..hehe

Synonyms

Sometimes similar words are easily missed. If your business is a home-related business, for instance, have you thought about the term house? Americans may easily overlook this word, using home instead, but other English-speaking countries use the word often. Still, add it to the list because you may find quite a few searches related to it.

Split or merged words

You may find that although your URL name is one word — SockPuppets, for example, most people are searching for you using two words, Sock and Puppets. Remember to consider your reader’s point of view.

Also, some words are used in two ways. Some people use the term knowledgebase, while others use knowledge base. Which is better? Both should be on your list, but knowledge base is used around four to five times more often than knowledgebase (and if you type into a Word document, most likely it will be underlined as one word. If you optimize your pages for knowledgebase, you’re missing out on around 80 percent of the traffic!  Pretty big!

Web Tip:

You don’t need to worry about upper- versus lowercase. You can use sock or Sock or SOCK, for example. Most search engines aren’t case sensitive. If you search for sock (and probably almost 90 percent of all searches are in lowercase), virtually all search engines will find Sock or SOCK— or sOCK or SOck, for that matter.

3 Comments

Learn How To Do A Keyword Analysis

Posted by Jane on July 17th, 2007

With any blog or website that is trying to increase their traffic there has to be a keyword analysis done. What is a keyword analysis? Well, it’s a check of what keywords people use to search on the web. If you don’t do this, you are losing on some valuable potential traffic. Imagine spending hundreds of hours optimizing your site for a keyword you think is good and you find out that another keyword or phrase gets two or three times the traffic. I don’t know about you, but that would tick me off.

What to do first

Identify the obvious keywords. Start by brainstorming the keywords that first come to mind. When brainstorming, include keywords that you have already thought of, or, if you haven’t started yet, the ones that come to mind first. After you write them down, take a few minutes and look the list over. Is there anything else you can add? What similar terms come to mind? Add them, too.

When you do your analysis, you’ll find that some of the initial terms you think of aren’t searched for very often, but that’s okay. This list is just the start, what else are brainstorms for right :-)

Look at your site’s access logs. Take a quick look at your web site’s access logs (this is usually found on your stats program. It is often called hit logs). You may not realize it, but most stat tracking programs show you the keywords entered into a search engine that brings people to your site. Write these keywords and phrases down because they are the ones that are bringing people to your site.

Here’s an example:

Sample Access Log

If you look at the Query, that is what someone entered into Google before coming to Daily Web Ideas. This is great because I know what people are searching for and I know what keywords to target. From this example, I would consider using “Web Idea” and “Network” as some potential keywords for this site. And having Web Ideas in the domain of this website, that can only help.

Examining competitors’ keyword tags. You probably know who your competitors are, if you don’t you should. Know what is popular in your niche and what to emulate. What you want to do is go to their sites and open the source code of a few pages at each site. You do this by choosing “View Source” from your browser’s menu bar to get a sneak peek. Look for the <META NAME=”keywords”> tag and see if you find any useful keywords there. If the blog has an All-in-one SEO plugin, this is where you will see it. Often the keywords are garbage, or simply not there, but if you look at enough sites, you’re likely to come up with some useful terms you hadn’t thought of.

Here is an example of what a source code and keywords looks like (if you can see it):

HTML Source Code

 

As you can tell, this information isn’t seen on the actual web site, but only in the coding. So a human eye can’t see these keywords, but robots sure can.

Brainstorming with colleagues. Another method of identifying keywords is by talking with friends and colleagues to see if they can come up with some possible keywords. Ask them something like, “If you were looking for a site (what ever site you have), what terms would you search for?” That should get you to a good start.

How do some of you identify your keywords and how do you do your keyword analysis?

I will be continuing this post in Part II. Stay tuned.

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7 Ways To Increase Your PageRank

Posted by Jane on July 16th, 2007

PageRank. The illustrious tool from Google Stanford University that formed the basis of Google. A man (and a women. Sorry Jane!) should always know the tools with which they work, so a little background info before I carry on. ‘PageRank’ is the brain-child of Stanford student and Google founder, Larry Page. Hence the name PageRank. PageRank wasn’t initially intended to be used on the World Wide Web. In fact, it was PageRank which sparked the idea of Google. A new form of search engine, which allows it’s users to rank content and therefore control search results (Web 2.0 in 1995, anybody?).

PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numerical weight to each hyperlinked document. Kinky, eh? Maybe Jeff Kee may think so, but I don’t. At least not on the face of it. But what we really have with PageRank is a tool that allows us, the Google users, to control the results that are outputted by the search engine. That means, unlike the general conscientious, Google isn’t operated by robots that crawl our Web sites. Quite the contrary. It is in fact controlled by us. It is that reason, that targeted humans really control the results, that Google is the No.1 search engine on the Internet. No robots guessing at what the best results are. No humans sat in a cube guessing what results are best. The results are driven by real world recommendations from targeted Web site users. But as bloggers, how do we use this complex yet powerful tool?

Links Links Links

PageRank is all about incoming links. In short, the more Web sites that link to your Web site, the higher your PageRank is going to be. But that’s just the start. Each link to your Web site is given a particular “weight” (value). This value is determined by the PageRank of the Web site that is linking to you.

For example, a link from a Web site with a PageRank of 6 which links to your site will carry far more weight than a Web site with a PageRank of 2 which links to your site. The more each link weighs, the higher your PageRank is going to be.

As we have come to expect from Google, it doesn’t even stop there. As well as looking at incoming link volume and the PageRank of those incoming links, Google also uses text-matching techniques to determine how relevant the Web site linking to you is to your Web site. A PageRank 5 Web site about football linking to a Web site about football is far more useful, in PageRank terms, than a PageRank 5 Web site about football which links to a Web site about real estate.

Of course, all of this information is useful because Google uses PageRank to determine the results it displays when somebody searches for a key word or phrase. All other variables aside, if somebody searched for “football”, a Web site about football with a PageRank of 5 will rank higher than a PageRank 4 Web site.

How can we improve our own PageRank?

  • Write Blog Comments – There are an ever increasing number of blog owners who are removing the “nofollow” tags from links in comments. By posting comments on these blogs, your PageRank will increase (There’s another business idea, by the way. A Web site which displays a list, split in to topic categories, of blogs with “nofollow” removed from comments. I’ll let somebody else start that one!).
  • Purchase text link ads – Purchasing text link ads doesn’t have to be expensive. Spend $30 a month to get two or three links from some PageRank 4/5 Web sites. Web site owners will often publish adverts on forums such as WebHostingTalk and SitePoint to try and find new advertisers for their Web site, so keep an eye on the forums to find new places to advertise.
  • Order a Review – Not only are these great ways to generate targeted traffic, but they are also a great way to get a good link to your site.
  • Exchange links with related Web sites – Contact Web site owners and ask to exchange links. This usually works better when you already have some established PageRank, because you’ll have more to offer.
  • Post on Forums – Most forums allow links in signatures to be followed by Google. Post enough on a relevant forum with a good PageRank, and you’ll reap the rewards.
  • Web Site Network – If you have several Web sites, link to each site from all your Web sites. I have about five main Web sites which I link to each time I create a new site. By doing that, I usually receive a PageRank of 4 straight away.
  • Quality Content – Eventually, writing quality content is going to generate a buzz and other bloggers will link to your site without you even asking.

What’s a good PageRank?

Generally, a PageRank of 4 is relatively easy to achieve and is what most people end up at. A ranking of 5 isn’t too far fetched for the average user, but probably qualifies as being just above your average PageRank. A rank of 6 puts you on par with John Chow. Generally, the step from five to six is very hard, and the step from six to seven and above is almost unheard of unless you’re the New York Times, MSN, Amazon etc.

Now might be a good time to generate those incoming links. Apparently, Google is on the verge of doing another public PageRank update. If you’re looking to get a prediction of what your PageRank will be next time an update occurs, check out the IWebTool.com PageRank Prediction tool. Nobody is really sure how accurate it is (Google don’t release all its information about PageRank, so we can only go on what very little we know). However, Kevin at BloggingTips aims to find out how accurate this tool is. Even if it doesn’t come close, it makes for some good fun.

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Silly Rabbit, Tricks Are For Kids

Posted by Jane on July 7th, 2007

In this case, there are no rabbits or kids, there are search engines that don’t like tricks played on them.  I gave you some Pearls of Wisdom in regards to gaming google not to long ago.  I wanted to follow that post up with some of the things that search engines dislike and can be considered “Blackhat” when talking about Search Engine Optimization.

The search engines know of many sneaky ways that webmasters try to get undeserved ranks. If they discover that you’re trying to do this, I wish you luck!   Some possible things that may happen are having your rank downgraded, or even your whole site could be banned. This most certainly will change your “earn money online” mentality right away!  Even if your site is never caught and punished, over time your tricky techniques might eventually stop working.

A couple of reasons why search engines can blacklist you include:

Duplicate content.  You might think to yourself, if one website brings you sales, why not make a bunch of identical websites with different names and get even more sales? The problem with this kind of thinking is that it ignores the big headache it causes for searchers. If the search engines listed identical content multiple times, it would destroy the results, which would destroy their usefulness to the searcher. So, if the search engines catch on to duplicate content schemes, they’re likely to knock you down in the ranks.

Keyword stuffing.   Repeating the same word or words over and over again so that your page looks like an industry-specific grocery list is another great way to get noticed by the search engine cops.  Even if you don’t get noticed, it’s pretty horrible to see lists of the same words over and over as a reader.  There’s a place for your keywords list, it’s called your meta keywords tag!  Or better yet, download the SEO plugin and you’re on easy street.

Invisible text.  One sure way to get yourself spotted by the Google cops is by making a ton of keywords invisible by making them the same color as the background. The search engines caught on to this one a long time ago, and they’re not likely to let you get away with it.

Hopefully you all know this stuff by now and you haven’t gotten blacklisted.  But if not, there are and infinite number of domains you can buy to start over again.  I’d like to hear from some of you if you’ve experienced getting banned by Google for a dumb reason or if you heard of someone getting blacklisted.

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Common SEO Misconceptions

Posted by admin on July 5th, 2007

If you’re new to blogging, the internet, or to online marketing, you may have come across the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO); and heck, you might have even dabbled a bit with it.  As I get more and more emails about people trying to SEO their website I have noticed that there are many SEO misconceptions out there.  Now let’s get them out of your head now so that you don’t spend a lot of wasteless time following false assumptions.

What are some of these SEO misconceptions? 

Here are some examples:

“We’ve got to get more sites to link to us so that our ranks will improve!” There are so many reasons for you to get inbound links.  But if the only reason you set out to get more links is so that Google will rank you higher, you are missing the big picture. Inbound links are access points that help people visit your site.  In other words, it increases visibility of your blog.  They can be excellent, direct sources of targeted traffic!  And we all love targeted traffic, some pay lots for targeted traffic :-)

“Our site is doing great! We ranked #1!” Ranked #1 for what? Starting now, forget about having “We ranked #1” in your vocabulary and replace it with “We ranked #1 for the term ______”. Ranks aren’t too important unless they are tied to a meaningful target keyword.

For example, I just did a search for Jane May and I came up at the number 1 spot for all the major search engines according to Shoemoney’s SERP tool.  That’s great, but who is really going to search for Jane May and do I really want those people finding me????  Hmmmm…Good question.

 

“We’re only going to promote our home page.” SEO is not about your site’s homepage, it’s about every page of your blog. Every single page in your website stands on its own and they can either sink or swim.  If you approach SEO as a page-by-page endeavor, you will be on a surer path to success.  Focus on unique and relevant titles with keywords in addition to having them in the text.

“We’ve filled in our meta keywords tag…we’re good to go!” The meta keywords tag carries very little influence with the search engines, and it’s certainly not going to do much for your ranks.  If you do want to focus on the meta aspect of SEO, then stick with the description tags, they carry more weight.

Our site gets a ton of traffic! We’re so popular, we’re destined for top ranks.” Search engines don’t have insider information about your overall web traffic, so they don’t know exactly how popular your site is. But they can count up how many sites link to you, and this is a way to measure your site’s popularity.

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Gaming Google, Yeah Right!

Posted by Jane on June 29th, 2007

I constantly hear people writing about not relying on Google so much to generate traffic for you.  Although I agree with diversifying your traffic streams similar to diversifying your income, Google does control things right now.  In other words, Google is God!  You mess with Google, you’re screwed.

How can someone try to game Google to rank higher on search engine results?  The answer is by using blackhat methods to SEO a website.  I will write more about this in a later post, but for now, let me leave you with some pearls of wisdom about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google.

  1. Often, factors that matter most in the search engine algorithms are good for both websites and their users.
  2. You will never really know exactly how Google works
  3. Text is eternally important in searches.
  4. The vast majority of businesses do best when they use a holistic approach to SEO.  By holistic, I mean combining elements of organic and paid search with a healthy dose of good writing and usability.

I give you these pieces of advice because I’ve known a few people that have gotten blacklisted by Google.  Once you get blacklisted and put into Google’s sandbox, your online career is down the tube for that domain (URL).  And I don’t know if there is any turning that domain around and getting on Google’s good side at that point.  Maybe sending them some chocolates and flowers will help, but I doubt it :-)

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Learn To Blog And Earn Money: Tuesday

Posted by admin on May 22nd, 2007

Today, I continue my series of what webmasters should do on their first week of having their web site, you can see the summary here: Learn to Blog and Earn Money: Week 1.  Two weeks ago, I left you with what you should do on the first Monday having your blog.  You can review that post here with Learn to Blog and Earn Money: Monday.

Today’s post will cover Meta tags.  There has been much discrepancy as to the importance of using Meta tags.  The reason this is my number two thing to do when starting a web site or blog is because Meta tags are one of those things that are a lot easier to do when creating something from scratch.  They don’t hurt right? They do help and help in a monetizing way.  I have implemented them on a site or two.  I did so only when creating a new site or blog.

There are so many other things you can do to better optimize your site that take a lot less time.  Things such as including title and heading tags and great content can be a better use of time if you already have a site created.  Having to go through an already existing site to include these tags would be tedious.  If you have an existing blog, I wouldn’t go through the trouble of inserting these tags, focus on the headings.

A major reason I like to use these tags is because they tend to have an impact on my adsense and the ads that are being shown.  Anytime I can focus those ads translates to more adsense revenues.  This can be a major factor in turning daily totals from $100 into $300 with adsense.

Meta Description Tag

Meta description tags are not visible for the world to see.  Well, at least they are not supposed to be.  Sometimes web sites leave the tag out of their code.  Why can this be a bad thing? Well, search engines usually display snippets from your site in their listings.

Here are some possible scenarios in which your Meta description tag might be displayed instead:

  1. If you have a Flash or graphics only site, or maybe even if you have the only content on your site being a redirect to another page.
  2. When off-page factors make your site a relevant match for a search but no exact match is found in your site’s text
  3. In less-sophisticated search engines that use the description tag as a workaround for their inability to display snippets

Search engines often display 150 characters or more for the listing description.  That’s kind of a lot of space.  Well, a lot of space relative to the page title that is.  That space is prime real estate to convey your message. So, if good writing comes naturally to you, you have a lot of opportunity to make this tag stand out. But if writing isn’t your strong suit, this tag gives you a little more room to make mistakes. Bring in a proofreader if you need to; this is a bad spot for an embarrassing typo.

I’ve recently taken a tour around my community on MyBlogLog and there are a good 50% of blogs in my community that have some sort of grammatical errors in key places.  I usually cut and paste my content into a word document to catch any minor grammar errors I might have missed.

Here are some pointers for writing a great Meta description tag:

Keep it simple and informative. Think of the Meta description tag as an “About Us” blurb, not a “Buy Now!” advertisement. Do you have a 30 second elevator speech you have prepared for those key moments when you are next to a high profile executive and you want to network?  Well, this is similar, think of it as your keyword-rich elevator speech.  It’s not worth the upkeep to write this tag to promote special events or deals.

Pair it with the page title. While you can’t be sure exactly when or how people will see your Meta description tag, it’s a sure bet that when it is shown, it will be right under your optimized page title. So, don’t repeat your title text in your description tag.

Include your keywords. While the Meta description tag may not be a huge factor in influencing rank, include your target keywords because they’ll be bolded in the search results. Notice how the bolding catches your eye in these pointers.

Make it Unique. Like your page title, your Meta description tag should be custom-written for each landing page to match its specific content.

Here’s some good news if you’re interested in saving time: The combination of page title and Meta description tag can be used as is, or with a little trimming or spinning, for any directories that you submit your site to later. And, if you’re looking for a keyword-rich tagline to add to the bottom of your page, your Meta description tag can be a great starting point.