In today’s online climate, a very useful and valuable feature offered to the website owner is the ability to control, to some degree, how the information for their website is refined by internet search engines.
This can be done with the use of meta tags in the website's source code. Meta tags are used to describe your site in search results and determine how and if at all, your site is indexed.
This guide explores these and other meta tag-related features in more depth and takes you through updating the metadata for your site through the SEO Manager found in the CMS panel of your dashboard.
Terms you need to know for this guide
Search Engine: A web search engine is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. Some popular examples include Google, Yahoo! Search, MSN search and Bing.
HTML: This stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the predominant markup language for web pages.
Crawlers: A Web crawler, also known as a spider, is a computer program that search engines use to collect information about what is available on public web pages.
What are meta tags? They are information inserted into the 'head' area in the source code of web pages. A metatag is a line of HTML coding that contains data (called metadata) about a webpage. Meta tag information won’t change the way the page looks, and won’t be seen by the website viewer unless they are viewing the source code to the page. Instead, meta information is used to communicate information to internet search engines.
Here’s an example of meta tags inserted into the source code head area:
<TITLE>Australian Fishing World<TITLE>
<META name=” description” content=” All you need to know about Fishing in Australia”>
Meta tags go in between the ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ HEAD tags. Shown in the example is a TITLE tag, and then a META DESCRIPTION tag.
The Title Tag: The HTML title tag isn't really a meta tag, but it's worth looking at. Any text you place in the title tag (between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> portions as shown in the example) will define the title in the visitor's browser toolbar. In addition, this text will also be displayed as the title for the page in search engine results and also provides the title for the page when it is added to the favourites.
Open the SEO Manager
1. Login to the admin area
2. Navigate to Content > SEO Manager
3. Choose from a list of pages on your site and click Go
4. Select the page you'd like to change from those available
5. Enter your metadata in the screen and click Save Changes when you're done.
(note: ignore the Meta Keywords field as this is a deprecated HTML functionality that all modern search engines ignore now)
Let's take a quick look at what each field means
Title: The HTML title tag isn't really a meta tag, but it's worth looking at. Any text you place in the title tag (between the <TITLE> and </TITLE> portions as shown in the example) will define the title in the visitor's browser toolbar. In addition, this text will also be displayed as the title for the page in search engine results and also provides the title for the page when it is added to the favourites.
Meta Description: The meta description is a short, concise description of your page's content that is displayed by internet search engines directly beneath the link. In the example, 'All you need to know about Fishing in Australia' would be displayed. This tag should be limited to 170 to 200 characters and is designed to increase the likelihood of a person clicking on the search engine results page and visiting your site.
Meta Keywords: These used to be referred to by search engines for determining keywords relevant to the page and how they relate to people searching for results related to those keywords.
This is now a deprecated meta tag that all search engines now ignore - Google has ignored this meta tag for many years before the other most common search engines (eg. Bing, Duck Duck Go etc.) followed suit in the past couple of years - so there is no value in spending time on data entry in this field.
Keywords and key phrases are now handled very differently and are the core part of Google's most complex algorithms and AI systems and Google makes its own determination as to how it handles content on a given page and correlates it to what someone is searching.
Keyword research and management is a major part of any SEO service, including Webninja's own SEO plans and services.
Conducting effective keyword research and planning is akin to a full-time job, demanding dedicated time and expertise. It involves continuous learning and staying updated on Google's evolving algorithms. The nuanced nature of this process, coupled with the complexity of adapting to algorithm changes, makes it challenging for the average layperson or website manager to navigate independently without specialized knowledge.
Successful SEO planning requires a proactive approach to adapt to the latest changes so it's highly advisable to engage an SEO management service with years of experience in this field to ensure you're getting the most out of your content management as it relates to organic traffic finding your site and products.