In today’s online climate, a very useful and valuable feature offered to the web site owner is the ability to control, to some degree, how the information for their website is refined by internet search engines.
This can be done with the use of meta tags in the web site's source code. Meta tags are used to describe your site in search results and determine how and if at all, your site is indexed.
This guide explores these and other meta tag-related features in more depth and takes you through updating the meta data for your site through the SEO Manager found in the CMS panel of your dashboard.
Key words you need to know for this guide
Search Engine: A web search engine is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. Some popular examples include Google, Yahoo! search, MSN search and Bing.
HTML: This stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the predominant mark-up language for web pages.
Crawlers: A Web crawler, also known as a spider, is a computer program that search engines use to collect information about what is available on public web pages.
What are meta tags? They are information inserted into the 'head' area in the source code of web pages. A meta tag is a line of HTML coding that contains data (called metadata) about a webpage. Meta tag information won’t change the way the page looks, and won’t be seen by the website viewer unless they are viewing the source code to the page. Instead, meta information is used to communicate information to internet search engines.
Here’s an example of meta tags inserted into the source code head area:
<TITLE>Australian Fishing World<TITLE>
<META name=”description” content=”All you need to know about Fishing in Australia”>
<META name=”keywords” content=”fish, fishing, hooks, sinkers, line, bait, rocks “>
Meta tags go in between the ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ HEAD tags. Shown in the example is a TITLE tag, then a META DESCRIPTION tag, then a META KEYWORDS tag. The most common types of meta tags are meta description tags and meta keywords tags.
The Title Tag: The HTML title tag isn't really a meta tag, but it's worth looking at. Any text you place in the title tag (between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> portions as shown in the example) will define the title in the visitor's browser toolbar. In addition, this text will also be displayed as the title for the page in search engine results and also provides the title for the page when it is added to the favourites.
Open the SEO Manager
1. Login to the admin area
2. Navigate to Content > SEO Manager
3. Choose from a list of pages on your site and click Go
4. Select the page you'd like to change from those available
5. Enter your metadata in the screen and click Save Changes when you're done
Let's take a quick look at what each field means
Title: The HTML title tag isn't really a meta tag, but it's worth looking at. Any text you place in the title tag (between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> portions as shown in the example) will define the title in the visitor's browser toolbar. In addition, this text will also be displayed as the title for the page in search engine results and also provides the title for the page when it is added to the favourites.
Meta Keywords: Like the meta description tag, meta keywords contribute to your search engine ranking. These days, though meta keywords are not a major factor search engines consider when ranking sites, they should not be omitted from your page. The key words should be brief and concise and list the most important themes of your page. In the example code, although fishing is the main theme, meta key words list the other words that a visitor may be searching for like hooks, sinkers, line, tackle and so on. Meta key word tags should be kept below 15 words or phrases that aren't repeated, and list the most important words at the beginning of the list.
Meta Description: The meta description is a short, concise description of your page's content that is displayed by internet search engines directly beneath the link. In the example, 'All you need to know about Fishing in Australia' would be displayed. This tag should be limited to 170 to 200 characters and is designed to increase the likelihood of a person clicking on the search engine results page and visit your site.