Engine Secrets: Using Tags
Search Engine Secrets: Using Tags
In your web pages, there are hidden areas of the page that the
casual browser doesn't see, but that the search engines sure do.
These are called tags, and come in two basic types: first the header
tags, which are found at the top of web pages, and second the heading
tags, which mark the parts of your text in the page that will be
used as titles and subtitles in articles. One other form of tag,
alternate text, should be filled out as well.
Most of the tags in your header are called metatags or meta tags;
they apply to the entire page and, in HTML, are at the top of your
document. In graphic web page design tools like Frontpage or Dreamweaver,
if you right-click and select page properties, you'll find these
in the first tab that opens.
When the web first opened to the public, metatags were a critical
tool enabling the primitive spiders and search engines of that time
to determine how to catalog a page. The idea was that you'd tell
the spiders where your page was supposed to be catalogued by how
you filled in your metatags, and they'd ensure you were listed properly.
It took very little time indeed before this mechanism was used
to rank less-worthy pages higher in the search engines. Today, metatags
aren't as important as they were then because they're so easy to
manipulate; you should still, however, fill them out. They can't
hurt, and in many search engine constructs they're useful for identifying
what your keyword is intended to be.
Title Tags are the most important of the metatags. Whatever you
put here shows up in the header bar of your web page, at the top
of the window. It should always start with your keyword so it's
clear what you are targeting. Short titles are better, and a very
natural style is ideal – no spamming by repeating your keywords
over and over.
Description Tags are also important. Start with your keyword or
keyword phrase, and describe what your site is about. The content
of these tags is often pulled out in search engines and directories
to describe your site, so make it concise and precise, and use complete
sentences with good spelling and grammar.
The keyword tag should list only keywords you actually mention
on your web page. If you use other keywords, some search engines
consider it spamming, and will downgrade your page.
Metatags should be focused specifically on the page, not on the
site as a whole. Consider each page when you design metatags.
Other Tags In Your Document
Image alternate text or image descriptions should always be filled
out; if you're using a graphic web design tool, right-click on the
image and answer the questions in the box. Use your keywords in
the alternate text, and if the image is something you're selling
be certain you give it a proper name. This enables the specialized
image search engines to find your images.
The H1-H6 tags in your document should always contain your keyword
once. Search engine spiders pay special attention to these containers,
which hold your text titles and subtitles. They may not give you
a huge boost, but anything counts in the search engine derby.
About the Author
Mark Lawson is the
webmaster for http://www.discountdomainsuk.com a leading UK Web
Design Service Please feel free to republish this article together
with working hyperlinks.