The Myth about Meta tags

Meta elements are the HTML or XHTML <meta … > element used to provide structured metadata about a Web page. These Meta elements can be used to specify the page description, keywords and any other metadata not provided through the other head elements and attributes. The information inside the meta tags will not be displayed by the internet browser. Instead, the information inside meta tags is meant to be read by machines, or more specifically, the search engines.

Many people used to fill up the meta description and keyword of their webpages with paragraphs of keywords and think that it will greatly help their search engine rankings. But does it really work? Let us examine these meta elements closely.

Meta Description tag: This tag allows you to write a short description about the webpage. It is not used to determine the search engine rankings of your webpage. But please do not ignore this tag. Whenever your webpage is displayed on the search engine results, the content inside this tag will be displayed under the title of your webpage. So it is very important to carefully craft the content of the meta description tag, since google only display 150 to 160 characters of this tag in its search ranking result, and this information will actually determine whether your target audience would feel interested enough to click through to your webpage.

Meta Keyword tag: This tag used to be an important way of telling the search engines about the keywords that the webpage is associated to, and thus played an important part in search engine rankings. However, due to excessive spamming by SEO personnels and webmasters to stuff hundreds of irrelevant keywords into this tag, it is no longer considered by google.

There are some more meta tags around but the above two are the most commonly used (and commonly spammed) ones. Search engines nowadays are becoming more intelligent and more focus is being placed on the webpage content and their readabilities. Spamming of meta tag content is no longer a viable mean in SEO.

Not all backlinks contribute to your pagerank

In a previous post, I mentioned that backlinks contribute to the pagerank of your webpage, which in turn contribute to your ranking in search engine.

However, not all backlinks contribute to your pagerank. The “nofollow” attribute in the <a> tag instructs the search engine spider “do not follow this link”.

So if I have the following statement in a webpage:
<a href=”www.lexeltech.com/blog” rel=”nofollow”>MoCo Blog</a>

The above hyperlink will not contribute any pagerank value to my blog due to the “nofollow” attribute. There are quite a number of forums and blogs that set the links on their forum signatures and blog comments as “nofollow”. So if you are concerned about whether participating in a forum or commenting on a blog will give you more pagerank values, you should take a look at the page’s source code first.

Ways to gain more backlinks for your webpage

Apart from having good content and keyword-optimized for your website, another important aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to increase the pagerank of your webpages. Pagerank is a number that google computes for every webpages it indexed, and it is used to determine your ranking in google among other factors. The pagerank of a webpage is determined by the number of hyperlinks that link to your webpage, the quality of these hyperlinks (meaning the pagerank of those webpages that link to you) and the relevance of those links.

Thus, we shall discuss here how to gain more backlinks:

• Submission to web directories
You can submit your websites to web directories such as Yahoo! and Open directory (www.dmoz.org). You can also submit to some niche directories of your field.

• Article submission
There are many article directories around the internet. You can write articles and include a link to your webpage, and submit the article to these article directories.

• Forum signatures
Some forums allow users to include links in their signatures. Participate in these forums and share information with the community is a good way of directing traffic to your website. Not to mention the forum signatures help to increase your pagerank too.

• Press Release
There are many free press release sites where you can submit press release and gain backlinks.

• Link Exchange with relevant sites
This is a very common practice in SEO. Webmasters exchange links with each other to help increase each other’s pagerank.

• Blog comments
Read more blogs and leave comments. Remember to put links to your website. But the most important thing is, DO NOT SPAM other people’s blog. Contribute your ideas, knowledge and information, and blog owners will be happy to see your comments.

• Submit to social media sites
Submit your website to social media sites will attract more traffic and helps to increase your pagerank too.

One important thing to note is that, DO NOT join link farm, especially paid ones. Google doesn’t like these fake links and you will be penalized if you are found out that you join these link farms. And once again, do not spam links on other people’s blogs or websites. Spend more of your time to develop good content.

How to check if your existing landing pages are indexed

When you have a website, whether it is personal or commercial, you would want visitors to come to your websites. Afterall, why create a website if you don’t expect any visitors? One important way of attracting traffic to your website is via Search Engine. You want your target audience to come to your website upon keying in certain keywords/keyphrases into the Search Engine. In order for the Search Engine to do that, your webpages have to be indexed by the Search Engine.

A webpage said to be indexed by the Search Engine when the Search Engine’s spider has traversed to it as least once, and a record is created for that webpage inside the Search Engine database. The following table shows the instructions you can enter into the various search engines to check whether your webpages are indexed:

landingpage

Brief explanation on how Search Engine works

As more people prefers to search for information on the internet, the internet search engines have become an important part to business marketing. There are various search engines available, like Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. The most popular one of course is Google, so this article would focus mainly on the Google search engine.

 

What happens when a user do an organic search:
• The Search Engine first analyze the words the searcher typed in and pick the pages that match those words
• It will then ranks the matches.
• Finally it displays the search results.

 

How Search Engines Find web pages for the organic indexes
• Search Engine Spider traverses the internet via hyperlinks
• The spider visits each HTML page and scoops up all the text on the page, assigning the page a unique document number
• The Search Engine then removes the tags, keeping only the text
• Finally the search index is created with each keyword stored along with information about what pages it was found on

So the Index table will look something like that:

se1 And the document table will look something like that:

se2
Ranking the Matches

So after the Search Engine retrieve the pages (from the Index table) that match the search phrase which the user want to search for, it will rank these pages according to the following criteria:
Keyword Density – How frequently the search keywords are found in those pages
Keyword Proximity – Whether the search terms in a query are found close to each other in the web page.
Keyword Prominance – Pages that feature query words in titles, headings, emphasized text and initial paragraphs are said to have high keyword prominance.
Link Popularity – How many sites are linked to the page, and the authority of the sites that linked to the page.

 

Understanding how the search engine works is the first step towards SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In order for your site to rank high in search engine for your preferred keywords/keyphrases, you would have to optimize your webpages accordingly.

However, do bear in mind that, ultimately your webpages are meant to be read by humans, not machines. So do not cluster your webpages with keywords as that would become unreadable and google doesn’t like that too. Lastly, do note that google’s algorithm changes regularly so SEO is a continuous instead of one-off effort.