Let’s recap on what we’ve learned thus far. We now know how non-HTML text is more difficult for a search engine to understand, how to best create crawlable link structures and ways to see how a search engine sees your website.
We then took it a step further and gained a deeper understanding of what keywords are, how to best implement them for SEO and took a look at what a title tag is.
Lets pick up where we left off as we learn to understand the importance of a search engine friendly website- starting with meta tags.
Did you know: Meta tags were originally intended to provide a proxy for information about a website’s content.
See the basic meta tags below:
These can be used to control an engine’s spider activity on a page level. There are plenty of ways to use meta robots to take control of how search engines treat a page, e.g.:
- index/noindex – This tells engines whether or not the page should be crawled and kept in the engines’ database for retrieval. If you were to choose “noindex”, the page will be excluded from the engines. Engines automatically assume they can index all pages, so selecting “index” value, is generally unnecessary.
- follow/nofollow – This will tell engines whether the links of the page should be crawled or not. If you were to choose “nofollow”, the engine will ignore the links on the page for both ranking and discovery purposes. By default, all pages are set to have the “follow” attribute. Example: <METANAME=”ROBOTS”CONTENT=”NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW”>
- noarchive – This is used to stop search engines from saving a cached copy of the page. As a default, engines will keep visible copies of all pages they index, which is accessible to searchers through the “cached” link in search results.
- nosnippet – This tells the engines not to display a descriptive block of text next to the page’s title and URL in search results.
Meta Description Tag
The meta description tag functions as a short description of the page’s content. Search engines do not use the keywords in this tag for rankings, but it is used as the primary source for the short paragraph of text. This can be found beneath the listings in search results.
A meta description tag’s main function is to “advertise” what the page is about. If implemented successfully, it will draw readers to your site from the search results, making it a very crucial part of search marketing. Creating a well-structured, readable and compelling description with important keywords can draw a much higher click-through.
Your description can be any length, but search engines usually cut off text from about 160 characters onwards, so try keep it short and concise. If there is no meta description present, a search engine will create a search snippet from other elements of the page.
URL or Uniform Resource Locator, is the web address for a particular document and are of great value from a search perspective. They can appear in many locations, e.g.:
As search engines display URLs in their results, they can greatly impact click-through and visibility for your page. Pages whose names included the queried term may receive some benefit from a proper, descriptive use of keywords.
The URL will also appear in the web browser’s address bar. Whilst this may hold very little impact on search engines, a poor design and URL structure may result in negative user experiences.
In this example, the URL is being used as the link anchor text, which will direct you to the referenced page in this blog post.
Rules of URL construction.
- Employ Empathy – Put yourself in the searcher’s shoes, if you look at the URL and can roughly tell what the page is about, then you are doing it right. Theres no need to put every last detail into the URL, but a rough idea is a good starting point.
- Shorter is Better – Whilst description is key, minimizing length and trailing slashes will make your URLs easier to copy and paste into blogs, emails, messages etc. This will also be fully visible in the search results.
- Keyword use is NB – If the page is targeting a specific term or phrase, be sure to include it in your URL. However, don’t go overboard, overuse of keywords may lead to unusable URLs and may even trigger SPAM filters.
- Use hyphens to separate words – Not all web applications are able to interpret separators such as; underscores “_”, plus “+” or space “%20”.
- Best practice would be to use hyphens to separate words in a URL.
Well there you have it. Now you know the basics of how to create, or modify, a search engine friendly website. For any questions or advice. Contact us on 021 880 2228.