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The Meta Tag

Preparing and submitting your site to the search engines is one of the jobs we all love to hate. Graphic designers enjoy doing the pretty pictures, programmers enjoy any new coding challenges that they might face, techies enjoy complaining that they can't view anything while browsing with Netscape 0.01 on Linux with images and javascript disabled.

When it comes to submitting the site to the search engines we are all agreed on one thing - let the trainee do it:) just kidding. It's boring and it's time consuming but it's worth putting in the effort if you want people to visit your site.

There are few stages you must go through before you even think about visiting a search engine to submit your site. The first is metatagging. Meta tags are not visible on the page except for the title tag (yes, the title tag is a meta tag). Meta tags are used by most search engines to help index and rank your site. Meta tags are often used to display search engine results, so choose them carefully.

Below is an example of the minimum meta tag information you should have in every page.

<title>Descriptive Title</title>
<meta name="audience" content="all">
<meta name="author" content="Company Name">
<meta name="copyright" content="Who Owns Copyright">
<meta name="publisher" content="Publisher Name">
<meta name="robots" content="index, follow">
<meta name="description" content="This description should contain about 200 characters and use words that are used in the main body text'">
<meta name="keywords" content="Use upto 20 keywords">
<meta name="revisit-after" content="30 days">

Make sure that you use keywords that appear in the body of your page and that your desciption actually describes what your page is about. For an extended description of what it all means, take a look at the metatagger code generator index page.

Next you have to consider which images require ALT tags and which images are purely eye candy. Having descriptive alternative text on images helps your search engine ranking. In Internet Explorer and now Netscape 6 you can use title="text" on text links, which work like ALT tags on images. Try this example.

The Meta Tag | Frames | SSI


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