Why don’t metatags matter?

October 18, 2013

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Metatags do matter, just not in the way that they used to. In the past, when we used search engines like AltaVista, Lycos, eXcite and others, you used to be able to put in tags that look like this (and have it work):

<title>Janey's site all about plants - buy the cheapest houseplants here</title> 
<meta name="description" content="Awesome website about plants. Buy orchids, ferns, pots, soil, fertilizer.">
<meta name="keywords" content="plant, plants, gardening, orchid, phalenopsis, dendrobium, potting media, soil, planters">

Search engines will still read those tags, and use the title and meta description tag, but it will not influence your site’s rankings. So why should you bother crafting title tags and description tags? Because of the way your site appears in the search results.

siteresult

The title and description tags should now be written with a human in mind, not a search engine. Write title tags (shown above in blue text) that entice the user to click. The description tag (the black text) should support your title tag. The green is the site URL, use a page name that shows the user that this is the link to click!

Keyword tags:

Keywords tag is no longer of any use. Not only does Google pay no attention to this tag, but Bing has even said that they occasionally use it as a spam signal to filter out websites.

It’s not just about the homepage:

Make sure you look at the title and description tags on all of your pages, not just the homepage. Each page on your site is an opportunity to bring in traffic — interior pages, or blog pages are terrific for targeting keywords.

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