SEO: Tags & Meta Tags

meta tags

Why Do Tags & Meta Tags Matter?

I remember when keyword tags were the big thing.  One of the main components of SEO was plugging in the right keywords relating to your website and you were good to go.  Then the unscrupulous spammers and black hat SEO progammers came in and ruined all that for us by keyword stuffing, inputting invisible text and other unethical practices.  Google and the other search engines had to come up with alternative measures to counter these measures and the new Tags & Meta Tags practices discussed in this post are just one aspect of the SEO practices that were changed.

Title Tags

meta tags<Title Tags> as it looks in HTML format is the same as it was before.  The title tag is used by all search engines and is the first thing spiders (also known as web crawlers, web robots, or automatic indexers) will index and the first thing people will read. </title tag>

Description Tags

<meta name=”description” content= This is where your sample content goes you want to show up in your search engine results.  You want to keep this description length less than 170 characters.” />  The description tag should read well, and be interesting enough to make someone click on the link to visit your site more than your competition. Think of the description tag as an advertisement.  Take some time to put your best material in this space.

Keyword Meta Tags

<meta name=”keywords” content= “Tags, Meta Tags, SEO, Title Tags, Social Media” />  Remember what I said at the very beginning of this post how spammers pretty much ruined keyword tags?  I’m still stickin’ to that, but I wanted you to see what it looked like in HTML format.  If you are working with WordPress you will be able to toggle back and forth between “Visual” and “HTML” format.  My research indicates Yahoo does still use keyword tags, but they don’t carry much weight, and if you do decide to use them, don’t use more than 10.tags

Robots & Additional “Bot” Tags or Meta Elements

The robot attributes or tags are supported by most of the major search engines and determine whether search engine spiders are allowed to index a page or not, and whether they should follow links from a page or not.  the no index prevents a page from being indexed and the no follow prevents a page from being crawled.

meta name=”robots” content=”noodp”
Google: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”noodp”>
Yahoo!: <meta name=”Slurp” content=”noodp”>
MSN & Live Search: <meta name=”msnbot” content=”noodp”>

 

Now if all of this sounds like a bunch of technical jibber jabber don’t feel bad.  It can be overwhelming at first.  There are plenty of people who handle SEO for a living and love it if you would rather not bother.  But if you want to take a stab at it, keep reading, post questions on my fan page and follow me on Twitter.  Even if I don’t know the answer, I know LOTS of really smart people who do!

So You Want to Link

When you hear the word “link” what comes to mind?  I immediately think of a big chain with huge links and the saying a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. If you think about it, your website is very much the same way.  As you read this post, you will see how it’s important to structure your site and link your pages correctly for  SEO or Search Engine Optimization.  If you have structured your site correctly, you should be showing up on the first couple of pages of Google or other search engines regardless of which term you searched to arrive at your site. I’m a novice at SEO so I’m still working on mine.

External Links

What’s an Inbound Link?link

You want to pay attention to the number and quality of your inbound links.  An inbound link brings visitors to your site.  You get inbound links by posting comments on other people’s blogs, in forums,  submitting your blog to rss feeds and submitting your site to directories.

What are Outbound Links?

Outbound links play a different role altogether.  Outbound links increase the content quality and lends authority to your site because you are referencing external sites to back up the subject you are writing about.

Not all links are created equal.

You need to be careful when sharing links,  accepting offers that seem “too good to be true”.   Posting comments to a high profile blog will carry more weight than posting your comment to a blog that no one reads.  Does this mean you shouldn’t post your comments to the smaller blog?  No, it will still help your blog because it’s an inbound link and it will reduce your Alexa number.

Say No to BlackHat SEO

Associating your site to a black-listed site can do your site more harm than good.  Stick to sites that have an Alexa rating to ensure you are linking to a reputable directory to maximize your SEO opportunity.  If you hire a 3rd party company to optimize your site, make sure they don’t practice black hat SEO such as keyword stuffing, keyword crowding, keyword spamming, etc.

Internal Links

What’s an Internal Link?

Internal links are the links within your website or blog.  You’ve got several pages and posts so what you want to do to maximize your SEO efforts here to link your current post to another page or several pages within your blog or website.

You want your site to be easy to navigate for your reader.  In other words it establishes your site architecture or spreads “link juice”.  These are terms you may have heard or read, but not fully explained.

On a page, search engines need to see content in order to list pages in their huge keyword databases.  They also need to have access to a crawlable link structure  in order to find all of the pages on a website.  Now imagine if they come to your site and it makes the error of  “hiding” the site architecture by not having internal links.  Well hundreds of thousands of sites make this critical mistake of hiding their main link navigation in ways that search engines can’t access impeding their ability to get pages listed in the search engines’ databases.

internal link

So there you have it, if you start your site correctly and continue to add posts with correct SEO link structures your site will be indexed, and crawled by the search engines.  (Note the sarcasm in my writing – because I’m still learning and if I were to show my structure in the place of the one above, it would look quite different! LOL.)

SEO Keywords & How to Use Them in Your Post

seo keywords

Search Engine Optimization otherwise known as SEO.

Just the mention of those three letters makes many bloggers and business owners break out into a cold sweat.  SEO doesn’t have to be a daunting task to be successful.  This post is an example.

Keywords

What are keywords? You choose a word or words that will be used in your title and throughout your blog post.  In this blog post my keyword is KEYWORDS. You will also need to emphasize it in size, type, and style.  You will notice there is a heading “KEYWORDS” which is a different size.  That is a <h3> size heading.   There are 3 sizes of  headings:

<h1 Keywords>

<h2 Keywords>

<h3 Keywords>

Ideally, you want to use your keywords in each of these sizes.  I don’t always do this because it’s just not feasible.  What’s always good for the search engines is not always good for the readers and the readers should ALWAYS be your first priority.  Now I can hear some of you saying to yourself  “WAIT! You just went from easy to confusing in one fell swoop!  What the heck is a <h1> heading?”  Not to worry.  Just watch this very short video.

How many times you use your keywords is based upon the length of your post.  Is there a magic number?  Not really.  There’s a good percentage and if you have a WordPress blog like I do, you can install a plugin that can help you keep track of your SEO requirements at a glance.   Again, if you use WordPress, chances are you are familiar with plugins and widgets, I’m using the Vibe SEO Pack Panel.  I like it because it gives me a checklist of what I need to accomplish for each blog post.  For instance, in this blog post, I still need to put the keyword in the “alt” image tag and the internal link.  I’ll cover those topics in another post – so until then, Tweet me, or post your questions on my Facebook fan page.

My Alexa Ranking Sucks Here’s What I’m Gonna Do About It!

Watch As My Alexa Ranking Improves

I admit it, I’ve been bad.  I’ve been so busy with social media, posting to different platforms I’ve completely ignored my Alexa ranking for my blog.  So, my current project is to improve my Alexa ranking.  This blog post is outlining the steps I’m taking based upon the research I’ve done indicating what will work to improve my rankings:

1. Comment on other blogs and websites

Being a member of Triberr this is an easy step to accomplish.  What I like about Triberr is the community, getting to know the other members by interacting with them on Twitter and commenting on their blog posts.  My next goal is to choose a few people each day on Twitter, not just Triberr and comment on their blogs as well.  I’ve read this is one of the best ways for enhancing my Alexa ranking.

2. Participate on forums

I’m going to have to find some forums to participate in, so I may need your help.  If you know of any good forums relating to social media feel free to post a link in a comment.

3. Write about Alexa ranking and search engine optimization

This post is the first post about Alexa and as my ranking notably improves I will write another post to track progress.  The kicker here is it HAS to improve or this series of posts is a big FAIL.

4. Submit my blog to search engines and directories

Step 1   find a good list of sites to list my blog.

Step 2   list my blog.

Step 3   wait

I’ve searched  through these lists before and this is a long drawn out process.  Mixed in with the reputable sites will be spammy sites, sites offering “black hat” methods which will get you black listed from search engines, sites that want to charge you money.  If you’ve got the money, I suppose that’s an option, but since I’m between employment opportunities, I’m putting in the time.  As I find the “good” sites I will make a note and post them for you.

5. RSS Feed Submissions

RSS feeds are a great way to get your message out to your readers in your target market.  There are several websites and tools which can help you increase your Alexa ranking wiith this.  Triberr, Facebook, Google Reader, Twitter and LinkedIn are all examples where you can use your RSS feed submissions.

6. Post frequently

If you post once a month or once a week, your Alexa ranking won’t score as well as if you post every day.   Is there concrete data to determine if this is based upon content updates versus the number of visits to your site? I haven’t found any yet.  As far as the frequency of posting is concerned, my view is, leave them wanting more.  If you post so often it gets annoying, your readers will unsubscribe.  I would rather them visit more often and read older posts, but that’s just my opinion.

7. Expand your social networking

Start out with Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon.  Another option (if you have time) is to try the Asian based websites in the Alexa top 500.  You will need to get used to the translator but if you’ve got the patience and like noted above, the time, you can improve your rank more quickly on these Asian based sites than if you stay in the US alone.

8. Write quality content

It seems this would be a given, but many websites don’t have much content at all.  Some are filled with embedded videos and photos.  I confess, I need to improve my content.  I write short posts and my SEO widget fusses at me about how I my post doesn’t have enough content.  Duly note SEO widget – I will comply.

9. Install Alexa toolbar

This was a really easy fix.  Go to Google, search Alexa toolbar; you’ll be given several options based upon which browser you use.  Install the toolbar for your browser.  Note: you’ll need to do this step before you go to the Asian websites.

10. Use Alexa rank widget

I read this is an essential step for my blog so I installed a widget.  Apparently every click on this widget is counted and it gives a real boost in the ranking. Only time will tell. 🙂

Today is Thursday, August 4th, my current Alexa ranking is shown in the image below: (Yes I know, very bad)

alexa ranking