If you look at the source code of a page on someone’s website, you’ll likely see the title tag <title></title> and <meta> directly below that. Of course the title is extremely important, but just how important are the meta tags? Most meta tags are useless actually. The only two that I actually use are the “keywords” and “description” tags. Many people believe other meta tags are important but testing has proven that they don’t do anything to help your website. Here is the basic template that I use:
<title>Enter Page Title Here</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”This shows up in the search engine listings. Catch the searchers attention.” />
<meta name=”keywords” content=”Keyword, Keywords, etc.” />
Even the keywords tag isn’t very important, but it doesn’t hurt. What you really want to do with the “keywords” tag is place just a few keywords in there. They should be related to what is actually on that page also. Don’t stuff the “keywords” tag with a whole slew of keywords or you just may set off a red light to the search engines and get your site penalized or even worse, banned.
The reason that the “Description” tag is important is because what you place here is what will usually show up as the description of your listing in the search results. If you do a web search for “video games,” you will get 10 results back. You get whatever the title <title> of the page is and the description <meta name=”description> of the page. This is your chance to suck in those customers. Use something catchy or interesting. Make sure that those searchers know that you have what they are looking for. It would probably not be wise to use salesy talk or something like “Free! Free! Free!.” Searchers will just suspect that your site is most likely spam and skip right over it and end up going to your competitor.
Experiment with your tags and find out the best copy that results in click-throughs. The <title> tag is not a part of the meta tags but most people include it, so one last thing you should know is that, in my opinion, changing the <title> tags are NOT usually a good idea, so try to get that one right the first time. There you have it. Now you know what meta tags are.