Optimizing your web page’s meta tags come with a few additional considerations besides keyword selection. In this blog post, lets discuss some Best Practices for optimizing your meta tags for search engine crawlers.
1). The Title Tag — The Title tag is among the most important factors Search Engine Crawlers look for in SEO. It is meant to define what your page is all about, for both search engine crawlers and users who are searching for your site in either Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Here is an image to see how your title tag appears in the search index.
It is an SEO best practice to keep your title tag to 70 characters long, including spaces.
2). The Description Tag — The Description tag is also an important factor for SEO. The description tag should reinforce the title tag and provide a little more information about the page to both the crawler and the user who is searching for your site. When writing your description tag, make sure to include your chosen keywords for the page and clearly define what the pages are about. Also be sure your sentences are grammatically correct, as users will be reading the description in their search results, as the example image below will show.
The SEO best practice length for the description tag is roughly 150-180-characters, including spaces.
3). The Keyword Tag — The Keyword Tag is currently not accounted for by search engines, so stuffing a bunch of words you want to rank for is not going to help. A good practice would be to include the keyword or key phrase you are optimizing the page for, just in the event that one day Google makes a change and starts to again account for the keyword tag in their algorithm.
Once you have selected your keywords, following these guidelines will ensure you are using Best Practices for optimizing your meta content. There is no need to over-do-it when writing meta content. Simply do your best to optimize each page with a single and unique keyword or phrase. Make sure each page has unique meta tags related to that keyword and you will likely see increases in your rankings.
A common SEO question seems to be, “How do I optimize for both Bing and Google local search?” The simple answer is that by following certain “Best Practices” for search engine optimization and doing your due diligence with things like effective keyword research and applying proper link building etc, you should get the desired results from both search engines.
There are also some nifty tools out there which let you view search results “side by side”: http://www.bingle.nu. For instance, a search for “car parts” returns these results from both search engines:
Both Bing and Google return many localized results via “Google Places” for Google:
and the Bing Business Portal for Bing:
Google places (formerly Google Local Business Center) is where you can tell Google directly about your business. Bing offers the same service: http://www.bing.com/businessportal/. Of course, for both engines, it is still wise to ensure that you have included localized onsite content like your address and related keywords, included your address and keywords listed in local directories, reviews of your business and maybe localized keyword elements in the domain name.
For a business with multiple locations or, for instance, law firms or banks with multiple branches, create separate pages for each on the site and include the address and any pertinent contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses. Obviously, ensure that each store or branch is easily found via navigation and/or an HTML sitemap page.
Navigational elements on your website can be created in many ways, but the only “true” SEO-friendly way to construct any links on your website is to use plain text links formatted with CSS — plain and simple! CSS formatting allows you to render plain, text links more appealing to the user.
1) Ensure there is an Internal HTML sitemap on the site that provides alternate, text based navigation.
2) Link to important pages in your Footer Navigation:
3) Keep your XML Sitemap up-to-date to help the search engines spiders properly index pages on your site.
4) Use optimal text in your Alt tags. While certain images are “crawlable”, they are not necessarily “optimal”. Adding keyword rich text to Alt tags tells the search engines the theme of the linked page:
So, how crawlable is your website? If you are not the person who designed the site and are unsure, simply mouse over a link or button on a page and see if the URL for the link appears in the bottom of your browser window. If it does, there’s a good chance you have an SEO friendly, crawlable link. You can also view crawlable links in a “text only mode” for your site by typing in “cache:www.mywebsite.com” into Google and clicking on the link that says “Text-only version” in the dialogue box at the top of the page when it loads. If the link appears on this text only version of the webpage, you’re most likely in good shape.
To determine if the link is anchored with an image, merely right click the link and see if you have the option to “view image” or “save image as” etc in the pop-up menu. If you use a browser such as Firefox, you will also be able to tell if the image has associated Alt text by looking at the “Associated Text” section under “View Image Info” in the pop-up menu:
For Internet Explorer, perform a search in the source code for the term “Alt” to locate any Alt tags associated with any images on the page: