Search Engine Marketing – Meta Tags (Step 4)

These are some further tips on how to better use your meta keywords and meta description:

Meta Description
1. Only use relevant keywords
2. Keep your description succinct, around 200-250 characters
3. Ditch superlatives and in some cases unnecessary adjectives, for example, sweeping countryside, beautiful brochures, high quality marketing communications solutions
4. Talk in a language that your target market uses
5. Keep revising until it is perfect


Search Engine Marketing – Meta Tags (Step 4)

Meta keywords and meta description (meta tags) are two elements that most search engines use to rank pages. Others include page title, domain name, content, alt tags, h1 and h2 headers, and DMOZ listings, among others. Google apparently doesn’t even use keywords in its algorithm anymore.

Browsers to Web sites don’t actually see the meta keywords and meta description. Though they reside in the code, much like the web ‘page title’ and web ‘content’, they are not displayed within a web page or in the browser title bar (the meta description can sometimes be found in search engine results). They are, however, very important and should not be overlooked.

Like the other key areas of search engine marketing, page title and content, the keywords you place in the meta tags, both meta keywords and description, should be selected from a list you have drawn up from various sources (see ‘Search words').

Your meta keywords should also be checked on a regular basis to identify any modifications which would improve them. Site stats should help, in part, in this process but you also need to ensure that you are aware of the keywords people are typing in to search engines (see Word Tracker, Overture Suggestion Tool and Google Adwords Selection Tool) and of what your competitors (those with high rankings, obviously) are using on their Web site.

Top tips follow in Part 2

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Search words – identifying them

Keywords are THE critical element in achieving search engine success. Keywords are important not only in your meta information but also in your page title and content. These search words filter through to the following key areas: page title, meta information (keywords and description) and content. You may also want to bear in mind the fact that Google does appear to try and match search words with domain names.

I believe the key is to identify the search words that your target audience are using. If you can get into their mindset, and work out what they are likely to type when searching for a ‘product like yours’, then you’ve made some huge steps forward. Tools like Overture’s Suggestion Tool and Word Tracker, may well help to broaden your search word base; however, getting back to basics is as important.

You need to be asking yourself the following questions:
What words do my clients/partners/competitors use to identify my products? For example, mobile phones, religious books, rugby balls, etc
Are there any new buzz words around? For example, ‘Talk-time’, ‘pay-as-you-go’, ‘mobile devices’, ‘broadband’.
What words are my competitors (those ranked highly on search engines!) using? This is how you take a look at the meta keywords and description of your competitors - competitor meta information.
What about regional, cultural or language differences? E.g. elevator (US), lift (UK).
Should I be thinking of the bigger picture? For example, golf is a hobby/recreation but can be a corporate event; marketing is linked to business strategy but also has elements of tactics and promotions; computer chips have huge range of applications not just in a PC.
You may find it helps to list your information in a spreadsheet, placing words for different audiences into different columns.

Google Adwords Keyword Suggestion Tool

Wow! This is a really great tool. It allows you to find specific keywords for your search word, related keywords and even keywords for different countries and languages. Here's the URL:

Google AdWords Keyword Suggestions

Related Article
Overture's Suggestion Tool for search keywords

Word Tracker – a tool for identifying keywords

Like Overture’s Suggestion Tool, Word Tracker allows you to view words and, as importantly, related words that people have been typing in to the search engines over the past month. This should help you come up with a broader list of search words for your product, service or company.

What Meta Information Are My Competitors Using?

To find out the meta information that your competitors are using, simply go to their Web pages and then click View > Source (on the Internet Explorer menu) and look for description or keywords (if they’re not clearly visible, try Control+F). If you're using Safari, you will need to go to Develop > Show Page Source.  Don't forget that Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking.

If you would like to develop your Digital Marketing skills, why not take a look at our CIM Certificate in Professional Marketing course, which covers areas such as company audit, competitor analysis and creation of objectives.

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