SEO is not about the metatags…

The role of metatags is misunderstood by some members of the webmaster community. We still see people who are not in the business talking about SEO as if it’s all about picking keywords metatags. I try not to cringe when I get into these discussions.

SEO Consultants have built tons of high ranking sites and not implemented any keywords metatags at all. In fact, Matt Cutts confirmed in 2009 that Google does not use the keywords metatag.

            The fundamental reason for search engines to ignore the keyword metatag is that spammers abused it in the early days of SEO.

The user can’t see the keywords metatags unless they view the source of your web page. It’s this invisible aspect that makes the keywords metatag so attractive for a spammer to abuse it.

So what about metatags in general? This short article will provide an overview of their value and the best way to use them. By Eric E.

Description Metatag

This metatag also sees limited use by search engines. Like the keywords metatag, it is not generally speaking user visible. I know of no search engine that considers the content of the description metatag for page ranking purposes. However, a search engine may use your description metatag as the description of your page that it displays in search results.

Google, for example, does this if it can’t find enough text on your page to develop a good page summary on its own. For that reason, you should make sure that you write a good description metatag for your pages. Since this description may show up in the search results shown by search engines, you want the description to be well written enough that it will help entice the user to click on the link to your site instead of a link to someone else’s site.

Keep the description metatag crisp, just a few lines of text. Don’t stuff it with keywords. Remember, search engines do not use this tag for ranking purposes. Write something that tells the user why they should come to your page – what benefit will they get by doing so. Straightforward, basic marketing.

Keywords Metatag

So should you implement a keywords metatag? I never do. If someone in your company is insistent, than spend 10 seconds or less and pick some keywords that relate to the unique aspects of the page.

Robots Metatag

The Robots metatag is relatively new. Both Google and Bind support this tag. It is designed to allow you to tell a search engine when you do not want it to index your page, and/or when you do not want the search engine to look at or evaluate any of the links on your page.

 

Summary

Understanding how to use metatags can be useful.

The title tag is critical, the description metatag is important, and the Robots metatag can be useful in certain situations.

Prioritize your time accordingly!