<meta name=”keywords” content=”insert primary keyword, secondary keyword, one additional keyword” </ >
Meta-Tags play a vital role in web development, especially in making your website “Search Engine Friendly”. Search Engines have been using ‘keywords’ to index website into ‘relevant’ topics since the beginning days of the Internet Boom.
To Keyword or Not to Keyword
*** Special Note: Before we get into the topic of how to formulate your keywords, some of you might be wondering if it is still necessary; afterall, Google (so they say) no longer looks at keywords as a search result factor. However, even though they are the largest search engine in the world, they are not the only search engine in the world, and many of the others still utilize the meta-tag for keywords. So, we believe that they are still necessary for every website. ***
A Brief History
Early web designers, and programmers who were savvy to keyword tags, used this technique to prosper early in the online revolution, shooting their way to the top. This created a ‘have’ or ‘have not’ senario. Others began to realize the importance of the ‘meta-tag Keywords’ jumped on the band wagon. However; not fully understanding how keywords were used; they flooded the meta-tag with tons of keywords believing more is better. This less reputable use of the meta-tag by some programmers became known as a technique today called “keyword spamming”.
Eventually the major search engines stopped looking at websites with tons of keywords or limited their algorithms (the method by which they study and index web pages) to only look at the first five or six, maybe even seven words. And it was not so much the words that were analyzed but the characters. In writing, when counting words each letter, number or space is considered a character. Six characters make one word and that is how you count words on a written page. Search engines counted up to approximately twenty seven characters (depending on the search engine doing the indexing). And this helped them to limit the amount of information they indexed at the same time ignoring the rest of the words so-as to not overload their databases.
Today, black-hat web marketers still use this technique, however it can now have a very different effect on your search engine results. On a point scale system, your website can be given negative results actually pushing your website further away from the top positions. In some cases, Google has actually been known to ban web pages (and eventually entire sites) from their databases for using black-hat marketing techniques.
Because these black-hat spamming techniques water down the relevance of your web page and make your web page irrelevant to a search query – it is always better to build it right than take the chance of getting negative results.
Relevant Search Results
As search engines became familiar with unsavory programming techniques, they quickly changed the way they seek, store and post results. Relevant search results are results that relate to the specific terms you put into the search engine in order to get a specific result.
Search engines began to vary the amount of ‘keyword’ data it would collect. Google.com even implementes human follow up on websites as they were getting indexed. It was (and I believe that it still is) kind of a hunt-and-peck system of human verification as new websites were being discovered and come online, but when a website was found that was using less than reputable SEO practices it often resulted in either a ‘time-out’ in the infamous “Google Sand Box” (which they still deny exists), a bad ranking (if any) or banishment from the Google database – oooh! Not where you want to be.
How to format your ‘keywords’ meta-tag properly:
- Keep them concise
- Make sure each one relates to the topic of the web page you are using them on. Every web page is unique – so your keywords should also be unique.
- Use no more than 3 or 4 keywords or phrases – see example below
- Choose at least one major keyword or phrase – be specific
- Choose at least one minor keyword or phrase – be specific
- Choose a general topic phrase – more general to your topic
A specific search term might be
“#search engine optimization” or
“#internet marketing” or
“#internet marketing services” is a more general category, but still related.
A good keyword meta-tag for a search engine optimization company may look something like this:
<meta keywords=”#search engine optimization, seo strategies, internet marketing services, oklahoma</ >
This short set of keywords is actually crammed full of useful variations. A search engine can put words together like:
- search engine strategies
- seo services
- internet marketing
- internet marketing strategies
- seo oklahoma
Also, let me mentioned that the first keyword has more weight to the search engines than the last keyword, they can be helpful in almost any of the combination’s that you can think of. So without repeating words, and using strategically chosen words or phrases, you actually increase your marketing ability.
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About The Author
Mathew Zupan has been serving the business community since 1998, developing websites, offering premium web hosting, creating reusable web templates and increasing business revenues through strategic Internet Marketing techniques.