How to get better SEO using Meta Tags
For a number of years I have used a standard meta tag formula. My belief was that real SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was about…
In that order!
Then I decided to listen to what the” experts” say about SEO and my rank on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) actually DROPPED!
So I decided to share a few of my own SEO tips, these are about Meta Tags in HTML5 but they also work in any version of HTML/XHTML. I do this all the time in WordPress, using our own TuKod Theme.
SEO vs SERP
Let’s face the facts, when most people talk about SEO, they are looking for SERP Rank. That is the position on the SERP. One of these days I am going to write a post on Effective SEO for SERP Rank! Until then, here is my way of doing Meta Tags for SERP!
Which Meta Tags for SEO
The first question to answer is which of the many Meta Tags to use for SEO. My answer may surprise you. Use as many as you want! However, only three will really change your SERP. So here are the secret three:
It may surprise you…
Most SEO experts will tell you things like:
- The Domain Name is the most important, it must have you main keyword and keep it short! ( False! )
- It is critical you have a dot com! ( False! )
- Keywords don’t matter to search engines, they do not even read them! ( They matter to SERP! )
Let me tell you why keywords do matter!
First of all they help you organize your thoughts. They help you to do better SEO and get better SERP Rank.
Make a list of 20-30 keywords. Doing it in a spread sheet is easy. Set your priority keywords at the top (row 1 would be your highest priority, row 30 would be the lowest priority).
What is a Keyword?
Now to organize these 20-30 keywords, you need to know what a keyword is!
Basically a keyword is what a person will type into Google or Bing. It is the smallest “topic” on your web page. The most important words, set in a priority list.
What is Not a Keyword?
Remember, a keyword is what someone is searching for.
I know a very fine dentist in Cebu, Philippines who is Dr. Pe. “Pe” is not a keyword (or maybe not a top ten keyword) because the person searching for a dentist in Cebu, Philippines, is not going to know Dr. Pe’s name is Dr. Pe! I would suggest one of the pages on Dr. Pe’s website have the top three keywords as, Dentist, Cebu, and Philippines!
The Top Ten
Now that you have 20-30 (I always try for 30) keywords, go through the list and pick out the words that you think people are most likely to type into Google or Bing, and make a Top Ten List.
Don’t be surprised if some of the Top Ten List are not within the top ten on your 30 keyword list. It happens to me all the time. Adjust your 30 keyword list so the top ten is the Top Ten list.
Make Additional Lists
- Make a Top Five List
- Make a Top Three List
- Make a Top Two List
- Make a Top Priority List! – That is the Number One Keyword for this Page!
Using The Keywords
You should use your top priority ( #1 ) keyword, or its derivative, as the most used word on your page, it is your main topic.
What is a derivative word, for example, for “dentist” the words dental and dentists come to mind. As used in “dental clinic” and “staff of trained dentists.”
If you are having a hard time using your priority keyword, perhaps it is not really your priority, and you should consider revising your lists.
The Other Keywords
Likewise, the main keyword should be used the most in your page, the second keyword should be used the second most and the third keyword should be used the third most on the page. The top three is enough for some pages, but I recommend you continue this for the top five keywords…
Content is Everything
If content is everything, then using your keywords in your content is a very high priority!
Any keyword that is not on your page, remove from your keyword list!
Put your top 20 to 30 keywords into the Keyword Meta Tag. (I usually end up with 20 or more.)Note: If you use WordPress and you do not have a place to put the Title, Keywords and Description Meta information, Change Themes!
Now that we have a working keyword list for this page, try to use your top three keywords in your title. Remember that titles are for humans to read, so do it properly, to make it easy to read and understand for humans.
However, having your most important keywords first are a consideration. Try to make the first word of your title the first priority keyword of your page, followed closely by the other keywords, but still in a human readable format.
Page Title Length
Hint: 70 Characters AND SPACES Max! These are your ~ Most Important Keywords ~ and MUST be included both in your visible text, and in the first words of your Page Keywords.
When you write your description, start out by writing a description of 150 characters. This is what will display in the SERP. Be sure it is very close to 150 in length, like 148-154 characters! End this with a period (.) which is a full stop to Google and Bing.
This Description must use all 3 (and maybe 5) of your top priority keywords.
Then add a short “add on” sentence (100 characters) that contains both your main keyword (again) and additional keywords. Together these should be less than 250 characters and spaces (be sure to count spaces)…
Page Description Length
Hint: 250 MAX! Google indexes all 250 but PRINTS the first 150 or less! Try to use many of your Page Keywords.
Hint: What words or phrases (separate by comas) people will search with to find your site! About 20-30 priority words, put most important words FIRST!
~ All keywords MUST also be within visible text. ~
Here are the results you should expect if you do this properly. This is the first steps in obtaining the SERP result you need for each of your pages.
Unless you picked a wildly popular keyword, you should come to the top 100 SERP results, within about a month, by searching for your top keyword. That means you will reach the top 1000 results! Many people do much better! Remember, it takes time and inbound links to reach the top pages… This is actually a great start!
Top Two Keywords
Unless you picked wildly popular keywords, you should come to the top 10 SERP results withing about a month by searching for your top two keywords. That means you will reach the top 100 results!
Top Three Keywords
Again, unless you picked wildly popular keywords, you should come to the top 3 SERP results withing about a month by searching for your top three keywords. That means you will reach the top 30 results!
#1 in the SERPS!
Since Search Engine Results Pages were invented (even before they were called that!) everyone wanted to be ranked #1. Obviously everyone cannot be #1!
So back then, they noticed that people who were on SERP #1 did best, but people on SERP #2 did well to. Experts in SEO were born to advise people how to get and stay in the #1 spot. Weaknesses were exploited and Search Engines evolved… So people started realizing that over the long run, Content is King and do not worry about your exact SERP Rank, just “aim for the first two SERP pages.”
That same advice, slightly modified. continues today.
- Content is King
- Aim for the First Three SERP Pages (Top 30 Results)
Today Page Two of the SERP performs like page one did in the past. In fact, with so much money being thrown into SEO, many people do not look at the first few results, or even skip the first SERP page entirely!
SERP Three is the New Two
Likewise SERP Page Three is not performing as well at sending traffic to a website as SERP Page Two did in the past.
So if you have an SERP Rank within the Top Thirty, be grateful, the Search Engine is sending people to your website! You will notice the traffic!
That is a good time to start building meaningful links on other websites on the same topic.
The Proof is in the SERPs!
The old saying, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating!” still applies. Here is an example of the above applied to the three keywords:
Pizza Dog History
Google Pizza Dog History (or just click the link) and look at the SERP.
Today (as of this writing) it shows:
“About 175,000,000 results”
175 Million Results for the three keywords, “Pizza Dog History!”
Number One out of 175 Million
Drum Roll Please… The Number One SERP Result is…
Remember what Most SEO Experts say? ( Reviewing above… It may surprise you… )
- The Domain Name is the most important, it must have you main keyword and it must be short!
- It is critical you have a dot com!
- Keywords don’t matter to search engines, they do not even read them!
Obviously, someone forgot to tell these “SEO Rules” to Google! The Proof is in the SERPs!
Amazingly, Bing returned the same site as #1 on their SRP, but with only “1,210,000 results!” So we should assume, by the experts on the Internet, that Bing does not know the “SEO Rules” either!
It makes me wonder what Internet, or what Search Engine, these “Experts” are writing their “SEO Rules” for?
Content Is Everything
Well, in conclusion, I would like to remind you that content is everything! Not only what you write, but your structure as well. Spelling counts, in whatever language you write, so does grammar, capitalization and punctuation! Making wise choices in your Meta Tags, Keywords, Title and Description will help move up up the SERPs!