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Re: Need simple advice about Meta Tags
From Max on 10 August '98
adding to Need simple advice about Meta Tags posted by Linda Khabaza

>I'm in the process of learning html...
>but would like to submit my pages to search engines
>...if i don't know what i'm doing, should i leave out meta tags?

No. Learn about them, use them properly and then submit so the users
will see a good description and have searches based on good keywords
from the start. Visit http://www.hrmlhelp.org/ for a good set of pages for new page
authors.

Here's some basics:
In the [head] [/head] area:

NO LINE BREAKS INSIDE TAGS! Browsers can handle it, but search engines
can't.

1. TITLE is critical. Make sure it contains your critical keywords, AND
is descriptive of the page contents, AND is short. This will show in any
bookmark list, and show in the search results. Too-long titles can crash
browsers!

2. The META tags should come BELOW the TITLE tag (MS FrontPage doesn't
do this, and will persistently move the tags into the wrong spots.)

3. The META DESCRIPTION="your description" tag is what shows on most search
results to let the user know what the site is about. Put a VERY CONCISE
description of the page's contents here so they will know what's on the
other end of the click. 10-15 words MAXIMUM (technically you can have more,
but only the first 10-15 will show up in the search results.)
Rumor has it that keywords repeated here will affect search engine results,
but I have never seen it proven. Concentrate on informing the user, not
fooling the search engines.

4. The META KEYWORDS="word1 word2 word3" should NOT repeat keywords more than
2 or 3 times. Put the most descriptive words first, include common bad spellings
of any words, and think like a user ... if people were looking for your product
or service, what would THEY call it? Don't capitalize.
You will see some sites with "comma delimited phrases" - like this
META KEYWORDS="fried potatos, french fries"
instead of just a list of words like this
META KEYWORDS="fried potatos french fries"

This is good and bad - the phrase will beat the plain words if the user is looking
for the EXACT phrase, but if the user doesn't use your phrases the
plain list of words wins. In the example, if a user searched for
"french fried potatos" the site with the plain word list would win.

You can use both methods, but watch out for the number of repeats of any given
word. If the product/service concept contains some words that are search targets
on their own, but refer to a totally different thing when together, use the phrase
with commas. I can't think of an example right now.


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