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Using Metatags for better Website Marketing
by Ginny Stibolt www.websiteideas4writers.com
Meta tags: the hidden information that classifies your site
Every webpage is divided into two parts: the header and the body.
The information in the the header of a web page is hidden. The header identifies a file as a web page and provides a title. The header may also contain other information in its meta tags such as description, keywords, robot instructions, language, copyright, author, and more.
The body of a web page includes the content–the text and graphics that a web surfer sees.
This article provides some information on how to add meta tags to your web pages and why they're important.
Title: It's your headline. (While the title is not technically a meta tag, it's included here because it's in the header and because of its importance in the presentation of each web page on your site.)
The title of a web page is displayed at the top of your web browser's window. Make sure that the title provides great headline for the content. Titles are often displayed as part of the search engine results. Look at the titles as you surf around the Internet and you'll often see bad titles like, "New Page_1" or "book4." Don't let your titles make a bad first impression.
The code looks like this:
<title>Every page needs an understandable title</title>
Keywords: While the importance of the keywords varies depending upon the search engine, it is important that these words and phrases reflect the content of your site. List the most descriptive terms first, because some directories display your keywords.
Keywords should include your name, your book titles, relevant subjects, and other words or combination of words that people might be searching for. You should always include probable misspellings of your name, your business name, or location. You could even include misspellings of keywords and phrases. Each page on your website should have its own list of keywords.
Don't pay anyone create a list of keywords–you know better than anyone what your likely search terms are.
The code looks like this:
<meta name="Keywords" content=“Your name, your occupation, misspellings, books, subjects”>
Description: Some search engines and directories use the full description when listing your site. This is your chance to provide your version of what's important on that page. Each page on your website should have its own description.
The code looks like this:
<meta name="description" content=“Write two or three sentences describing this particular page.">
How to create metatags: If you are using a website editoe, you may access the meta tags by choosing the HTML or CODE view. With Dreamweaver, the code is displayed at the top of the split window. Some meta tags and the title are automatically generated when you start a page, but you'll need to add others yourself.
Here is a view of part of the header for an author's home page. We've included keywords for all her book titles and their characters, various versions of her name, awards she's won, and various affiliations. (While this may look hopelessly complex, I promise that it's really more tedious than anything else.) www.luciastclairrobson.com
<meta name="keywords" content="Lucia St. Clair Robson, Lucia Robson, Lucia St.Clair, award-winning author, Golden Spur Award, Best Living Western Historical Novelist, Official author website, historical author, history, historical, historical novels, historical novelist, historic, published writer, Native American, Indians, Ride the Wind, Comanche, Quanah Parker, Naduah, Cynthia Ann Parker, Sam Houston, Tiana Rodgers, Walk in My Soul, Cherokees, trail of tears, Seminole, Osceola, Light a Distant Fire, feudal Japan, Japanese history, Tokaido Road, The Tokaido Road, 47 ronin, Mary's Land, Marysland, Margaret Brent, St. Mary's City, Lord Baltimore, Lord Calvert, Maryland history, Texas history, Mexican American War, Mexican-American, camp followers, Fearless, Fearless: a Novel of Sarah Bowman, Sarah Bowman, Golden Spur, Western Writers of America, Lozen, Ghost Warrior, Apache, Victorio, Geronimo, Forever Texas, an Anthology of Texas History, Revolutionary War, George Washington's spies, Alexander Hamilton, Women spies, Culper Ring, Culper Spy Ring, Spy 355, Shadow Patriots, loosh, Lucia St. Claire Robson, Lucia Saint Clair Robson, Lucia Robeson">
<meta name="description" content="Lucia St. Clair Robson, historical novelist - Official author website contains book reviews, excerpts and background information about her books. It also contains personal information and photos.">
<title>Lucia St. Clair Robson, historical novelist - Official author website</title>
Then the rest of the page information follows - normally you won't have to deal with the HTML code directly except for these three: keywords, description & title.
Here are the meta tags for one of her book pages - there is different information on each page. Remember, you may have people hitting this page first, so it must make sense and you must include complete navigation to the rest of your pages. (www.luciastclairrobson.com/RidetheWind.htm)
<meta name="keywords" content="Native American, Indians, Ride the Wind, Comanche, Comanches, Quanah Parker, Cynthia Ann Parker, Wanderer, Golden Spur Award, Western Writers of America, Top 100 classic western, Naduah">
<meta name="description" content="Lucia St. Clair Robson, historical novelist - Book page: Ride the Wind - the story of Cynthia Ann Parker and her life as Naduah with the Comanches. Ride The Wind won the Golden Spur Award 1983, voted the top 100 classic westerns of the century in 2000. This page contains reviews, an excerpt, and background information about Ride the Wind.">
<title>Lucia St. Clair Robson, historical novelist - Ride the Wind - the story of Cynthia Ann Parker and her life with the Comanches</title>
Metatags are invisible on your webpages, but they may just make your site visible to a web surfer who is craving your information. And what good is a terrific website if no one can find it?
© Ginny Stibolt. She has a mission to help small businesses maximize their web presence through practical design and good marketing and PR. www.websiteideas4writers.com (You may not repost this article, but you may quote parts of it with a link back to this page.)
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