So Much About META Tags!
I've written about META tags in the past, and I thought I'd help you expand your search engine optimization efforts and increase your web hits.
Rule #1: META tags always go in between the HEAD tags on your website. Rule #2: NEVER include any line breaks in any META tag!
Most everyone knows the two basic META tags: keywords and description.
Keywords should be in a descending order of importance. Move your most important keywords to the front, and don't repeat yourself (e.g. auto,parts,auto parts,Auto Parts). Keep the list short, to about 25 keywords. If you cater to more than one ethnic group of people, consider keywords in other languages. Lastly, eliminate spaces between the words. Make them "comma" instead of "comma space".
Descriptions should also be kept short and to the point. Around 100-125 characters is about the max usable length. Make sure you use a few important keywords in your description, be informative but brief.
Web designers should include these tags as well:
These three tags may change if you are the owner of the company/website but not the creator. In that case, the first two lines would be about the company owner, while the third should be the creator or the creator's web address.
For visiting robots, you may want to add this line:
Although most robots use the robots.txt file, Google in particular also pays attention to the third item - noarchive. This tells the search engine to index the page, but not to cache it. This comes in handy if you change your page often. Google will then always send the user to the latest version of the page, not one that it cached.
Latly, you may want to consider these two META tags for our wonderful Microsoft-controlled world:
The first turns off a feature in MS Internet Explorer which displays "smart tags", or dynamic links, to your website. These links can actually send the user to your competition's website. Not good!
The imagetoolbar tag prevents Internet Explorer 6+ users from swiping your custom-made graphics by disabling a toolbar. This toolbar is usually displayed by doing a right-click on a graphic and saving it to disk. While people can still swipe your graphics, at least they'll have to go through a little trouble to get it. Hopefully its enough of a deterrant to keep them away.
Will Hanke is owner of Lighthouse Technologies, http://www.techlh.com a web design, programming and hosting company. He is also author of several software applications in use by companies across the US.
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