Thursday, July 12, 2012

META TAGS and their purpose

We need to start somewhere, so lets jump in at the deep end and hold onto the side till we get comfortable before we start swimming in the soup of information about META TAGS and their purpose.
META TAGS are those small bits of information hidden in the <HEAD> section of the HTML code.  (Hypertext Markup Language - the code which makes your webpage understandable to all web browsers).
For those who have doubts about the value of meta tags read this if you are still convinced META TAGS have no value coz you are an expert, read this if you want to understand more read further

 A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or a web address is the physical name of your page and we will talk about these in a week or 2.

Search Engines (SE's) associate
  •  a calculated set of words with their scores,
  •  links with their scores, 
  • META TAGS with their scores and
  • a real lot of other data about each URL or  web page that they index then -
This data is fed to their algorithm and the resultant data is stored in their huge database to be used each time a search is initiated by a user - you when you type some words into the search box and request an answer.
The better the scores are,  the higher to the top of SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) your page gets. It is thus imperative that your page gets a good score for its META TAG  content. Be careful how ever coz BAD META TAGS are punished very heavily, so in some cases it is safer to not add any SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) related META TAGS.

The purpose of these META TAGS hidden in the <HEAD> section of your page code is really quite simple. It is to inform the SEARCH ENGINES about your page. So what information do the search engines require?

Lets word that a little differently as a statement  that you will need to understand very clearly as all your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) will evolve around this.

META TAGS inform search engines about your page and explain to search engines 
1) what your page is about (page description and page title)
2) whether the page should be indexed or not (not Follow / no follow)
3) what type of page the search engine is examining (Static page / database page / info page / other page)
4) what language the content is meant to be read in
5) what are your key words (the main ones a person searching will type into the search box)
6) When the page was last updated as well as when it will expire and have no more value to users
7) a whole lot about the author, country of origin and authoring tools used to create the page
8)  quite a bit of other seriously technical information about your page

Further reading recomended

Do a search in your favourite Search engine  for the term META TAG EXPERT to see just how much is written about meta tags, then you will understand that they have a true value and add valuable data to your pages for search engines.

Page title and page description  tags are vital for good search positions and help the end user, the  viewer or reader of your pages to understand what your page is about, and whether they should click on your link as supplied by the search engine or not.

Many will tell you META TAGS are worthless. Do not ever believe them, they are either mis-informed or blatantly misleading you. META TAGS are the most important tools that a search engine uses to classify, catagorise and evaluate your page. These vital snippets of information will make the Differance between being at the top of the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) list or some place down there where searches never venture.

USE META TAGS but be aware that bad use or mis-use (BLACK HAT SEO) gets punished very severely by most search engines, that is why many say they are worthless, but those that say NETA TAGS ARE WORTHLESS should never be trusted with your SEO coz they are either lazy to learn how META TAGS  work or very stupid.