DIY Canadian SEO – Chapter 3
Okay, let’s see if we can finish off the whole <META> tags area with this third chapter on DIY Canadian SEO, shall we?
Once you’ve read Chapter 2 here, and understand that I do NOT like using (under any circumstances) the <META> keyword tags for a whole variety of reasons, you should then learn that I do like using the <META> description tag for all clients…but what’s the difference, you ask?
Simple, really. The <META> keyword tag, as I explained is a simple — they give information about an HTML page to the browser but are usually not seen by the user who visits the site. They have been severely limited in usage over the past 5 years or so due to the fact that they were so easy to manipulate to try to force higher rankings for websites that Google has simply said that their algo no longer uses them to rank a website at all. Yahoo still uses them but ever ever so slightly to count towards a site’s rankings that it just doesn’t matter. And BING, well, they say that using same does count…maybe not much and maybe not a lot….but on their site they do offer up some <META> keyword advice, all of which I discount and do not believe. In my world, the <META> keyword is dead for any real SEO rankings use, and that’s that.
But…ah…always a but, eh…the <META> description tag is a total other store. Wikipedia describes this tag as follows — “…unlike the
keywords attribute, the
description attribute is supported by most major search engines, like Yahoo, BING and Google and will fall back on this tag when information about the page itself is requested. The
description attribute provides a concise explanation of a website page’s content. This allows the Web page authors to give a more meaningful description for listings than might be displayed if the search engine was unable to automatically create its own description based on the page content. The description is often, but not always, displayed on query reports, so it can impact click-through rates. Industry commentators have suggested that major search engines also consider keywords located in the
description attribute when ranking pages. W3C doesn’t specify the size of this description meta tag, but almost all search engines recommend it to be shorter than 200 characters of plain text…”
As you can see, Wiki has covered nicely the major items to learn here, which I wanted to comment on myownself by using an example here first to show you what is meant by using this <META> tag. No Canadian would doubt that the Globe & Mail newspaper offers up canuck news….so I thought I’d use them to show you what I mean. Go to google and type in “news from Canada,” and await the results page and then scroll down to the #6 spot and what do you see?
Do you see the second line that describes for the viewer, just “what” content will be found at that site? Sure you do, and if you want to see where it came from then simply go to that linked page and then View Source to see this —
<meta name=”description” content=”The Globe and Mail offers the most authoritative news in Canada, featuring national and international news” />
Looks familiar eh? Yup, the phrase that Google used to describe the Globe & Mail site, is the same phrase that their SEO guy used, verbatim, in the <META> description tag. This is how it works and this is important for a host of reasons….not the least of which is the fact that as stated by Wikipedia, mostly all the search engines support the <META> description tag. This is important to realize that the term “all” is really say the top 10 or 20 of same. There are thousands of search engines and they come onto the web by the dozens daily, but as you most likely know they end up being sadly underutilized because they never ever climb up to even get noticed by web users who would then list their sites with same. The top 10 search engines cover about 99% of the world’s searches which when I last checked run at about 200+ million a day back in 2006…and from what I’ve heard lately that is now in the BILLIONS per month.
One more thing then, about the <META> description tag, is about that which Google only refers to as “rich snippets.” And what’s a rich snippet, you ask? Well, in the words of Google themselves, they are additions to the query results that show a potential website visitor “convenient summary information about their search results at a glance….and we are currently supporting data about reviews and people.” You need to use a special markup type of text insert to take advantage of these annotations; and the best spot to learn more is on the Official Google Webmaster blog…give that a read and see what I mean.
So then you should know that to get a search engine to ‘index’ what you want them to know about your site, via their bot, means that if you use the <META> description tag to actually show them what a page’s contents are all about, will mean that if and when one of those billions of searches brings up your site, the potential website visitor will then see what you want them to see, content wise. Which should, if you’ve done your SEO tasks correctly, bring you new targeted leads that will convert to new revenues….least that’s the real rationale behind SEO! Still following me here?
Hope so…cause there are hundreds if not thousands of potential customers or clients who’ve yet to buy your services or products, who will never ever find you unless you DO use the right SEO tactics to bring them to your site. And that’s the dang truth, eh! So use the <META> description tag to describe your page contents up to that 200 char limit….and do it well as your new revenue stream depends on it!Google