META Refresher

Stephen Yagielowicz

When discussing HTML 5 and modern SEO, one of the often overlooked issues is the role played by meta tag deployment in traffic development today — as many webmasters believe these tags have little value — but is that really the case? Let’s take a closer look:

Supported by major web browsers and other software, meta tags enable the use of metadata, or specific information about information, to perform a variety of document handling tasks.

Meta tags have many other uses, from cookie handling to language specification, text direction and beyond.

For example, meta tags tell web browsing software how content should be displayed and web pages reloaded, while detailing the nature of the page’s content and source, such as a description and author’s name, for use by search engines and other indexing services.

Meta tags are always placed within a web page’s <head> element, where machines may read them, but their content is not visibly displayed on the page for humans to read, making them ideal for passing information without cluttering the page’s design.

Of particular value to traffic-hungry adult webmasters are the following meta tags:

<meta name=”description” content=”This website has a snazzy description”>

Surprisingly overlooked, the meta “description” tag is commonly used by directories to profile a listed website — such as the summary which appears under the site’s title in a search engine’s “results” listings. By carefully crafting and targeting this description, you can drive a significant amount of quality traffic to your website.

<meta name=”keywords” content=”a,comma-separated,list of keywords”>

It is important to note that in this context, the term “keywords” also includes the use of key phrases, or groups of keywords. When one thinks of search engine optimization, the use of the meta “keywords” tag comes to mind as a way of letting search engines know which search terms the page should rank for. Despite the obvious potential for abuse and the resulting lower-level of relevance assigned to this tag by search engines, the use of unique meta “keywords” tags on each page will only be a plus for your site.

<meta name=”zipcode” content=” 90210”>

Another overlooked tool is the meta “zipcode” tag, which is of particular value for brick and mortar operators seeking to capitalize on the growing use of mobile search and locational services. If your company physically serves a specific geographic area, then this tag should be used — just don’t expect positive results by spamming zip code lists in hopes of getting visitors to your paysite.

Meta tags have many other uses, from cookie handling to language specification, text direction and beyond. Although they can’t perform miracles, when fighting for every new visitor to your site, using meta tags is a no-brainer. “What” to include in those tags is the real challenge — and an arena that separates winners from losers.


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