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Thread: Lesson 5: Should You Really Put Your Keyword Phrases In Your Meta Tags?

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    IM GreenHorn
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    Aug 2012
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    Lesson 5: Should You Really Put Your Keyword Phrases In Your Meta Tags?

    You'll remember last week that we took a close look at how to optimize your webpage title tags for better search engine rankings, and to encourage clicks on your search engine links.

    While properly optimized title tags are often thought to be one of the most important on-page factors to good ranking, today we'll look at the most under looked and misunderstood elements of your webpage--the description and keyword meta tags. You'll see why in reality these play an important and not so obvious role in traffic generation.

    As you may know there are two kinds of "Meta Tags"; a description tag and a keyword tag.

    The meta tag description is a useful description of what people can expect to find on your webpage. The keyword tag simply contains a list of keywords which are related to your webpage. I'll explain both below in more detail, but first we need to get something completely out of the way here...

    Some people think that the meta tags have no effect on SEO and they often leave these tags off of their site's or don't take the time to do them right.

    It's true, in reality; by themselves these tags have little overall ranking power. However, in concert with the other webpage optimizations I'm showing you they do help! They help because when they contain the same keyword phrases you're using elsewhere on the page and so they contribute to demonstrating a consistent theme, and hence strengthening the overall theme of the page. More importantly, I'll also tell you why the meta description tag must look great and must inspire people who see it (hint: because Google shows this one to people in search results!)

    Otherwise these tags are completely invisible to people who visit your site unless they view your page's source code.
    Here's what they look like near the top of the HTML source code:

    You'll just pop open your text editor as we did with the title tags in last week's lesson to edit these too.

    Description Meta Tag

    Inside the description Meta tag we want to include the one to four keywords related to the page. Use these keywords as naturally as possible in 2 to 3 sentences describing the content of the page.

    Limit yourself to the two to four keyword phrase rule, more than that will create a buffer of too much stuff at the upper part of your Web site in your HTML code. Focusing in on those primary three or four keyword phrases here is what's going to help you the most as far as ranking high in the search engines, while not looking like you're trying to manipulate the search engines.

    If you're having trouble writing 2 to 3 sentences using all the keywords and it seems too unnatural to fit in this many keywords then only use your primary keyword.

    Insider Insight: Benefits Speak Louder than Words

    Like the title keyword the Meta description will appear on search engine listings below your link for the page when someone does a search. Because of this the description should be well written and focus on the benefits of the page. Write in terms of what the visitor "gets" when they visit the page.

    If you don't include compelling benefits in the description you are giving up traffic. Searchers don't like to click on what they don't clearly understand, or doesn't seem valuable to them.

    Again, if you can't work all your keyword phrases in naturally then it's better to use less, or only the primary keyword phraseinstead. Try not to exceed 150 characters because that's the maximum Google will show in search results.
    Here's an example of what Cabela's uses for their Meta description:

    <META name="description" content="Cabela's offers quality outdoor clothing and gear for hunting, camping and fishing at competitive prices and is a leading source for outdoor information.">

    Keyword Meta Tag

    The keyword Meta tag is just list of your top keyword phrases separated by commas. Here's an example:
    <META name="keywords" content="Discount Personal Training Seattle, Personal Fitness Seattle, W eight Loss Program Seattle">

    The keyword Meta tag should include all of the keyword phrases that are relevant to the page and that you actually used on the page. This could be one to three keyword phrases, and some variations on those phrases which are very similar.

    Important: If you didn't use the keyword phrase on the page then don't include it in your keyword Meta tag. You should also avoid stuffing the keyword Meta tag with duplicate keyword phrases, or tens or hundreds of keywords. This looks like spam to Google.

    See you tomorrow for "Lesson 6: Search Engine Optimization 1-2-3 for Page Content".

    Previous Lessons
    Lesson 1
    Lesson 2
    Lesson 3
    Last edited by seokiller; 09-05-2012 at 09:00 PM.

  2. #2
    IM GreenHorn
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    What if I don't include compelling benefits in the description am I giving up traffic. Searchers don't like to click on what they don't clearly understand, or doesn't seem valuable to them??

  3. #3
    IM GreenHorn stevthomas17's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
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    WOW!!.Thanks for sharing this useful information about the myths and fact about SEO. I totally agree with you. You should have even created an ebook out of all this. Thanks a bunch!

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