What Should I Enter Under Title, Description and Keywords?
Your Meta Title, Description and Keywords don't actually help your website's page rank. What they do, however, is just as important: They help with your site's indexing and "click-through" appeal. Having good information in these fields can make the difference in ensuring your link is the one people click on when they get their search results.
We've put together some information to help you set up your Meta tags.
The info in your Meta Title will appear as the main linked text with your search engine results as well as appearing on the top of the browser itself, or in the tab if your visitor is using a tabbed browser. Your Meta Title should therefore reflect the name of your business, at the very least. You can also include something you want your potential visitors to know about you - your city, your main specialty, even your telephone number.
You'll want to make sure your title is relevant to the content of your website. You want people to click through to your site, but you also want the people clicking through to be the ones who are actually looking for the type of service you're providing. The title is the first thing that will catch a prospective client's eye on the search engine results page. "Jenny Jones Wedding Photography - Serving The Greater Los Angeles Area" for example, will work better than "Jenny Jones Photography" if you're looking to attract L.A. area brides.
Meta Description is an often-misunderstood tag. What it does do is improve click-through. An informative, well-written description will get your link in a search result page clicked on more than a poorly-written one.
What constitutes a well-written description? Clear, relevant information in an “about us” format is a good guideline for most types of pages. The meta description should describe in just a couple of sentences what the reader can expect if they click on the page. Being on page one doesn’t help much if people aren’t clicking.
You should avoid using keywords in the meta description tag. Google will drop the description if that field contains a list of keywords. Normally, if there is no description or the description contains only keywords Google will pull random text from the page. If you're using a Flash template, that means Google will have nothing to use in that field and your link will appear with no description.
Another thing to watch out for is long paragraphs of information in the description field. If the text is too long, Google may drop it from the search results and display the link with just blank space underneath. Two well written sentences are much better than two paragraphs. Avoid the temptation to tell the story of your business in your Description tag - that info is best set up in your "About Us" info page.
PhotoBiz allows you to set up unique Meta Descriptions for individual pages, over and above the global Description found under the "Search Engines" link in your control panel. While it isn’t necessary for each and every page to have a different description, you can set up a unique description for individual pages. For example - if your info pages contain important info like directions to your studio, you can give those pages a unique description.
The description doesn't just have to be in sentence format; it's also a great place to include structured data about the page. For example, news or blog postings can list the author, date of publication, or byline information. This can give potential visitors very relevant information that might not be displayed in the snippet otherwise. If you use your Calendar or Testimonial pages to present newsletters or topical information, you might consider using this format for the Meta Description on that page.
In a nutshell, the description should be concise, accurate and human-readable.
Do Meta Keywords truly help your search result? That question has been tossed back and forth for years. Some people swear it does, some swear it doesn’t. The surprising answer is: It isn’t that important in page rankings, but it’s still important in page indexing.
Google announced in September 2009 that they no longer use the keywords meta tag in their page ranking. SEO experts have suspected this for awhile, but Google is not very forthcoming about their search ranking criteria. Google encourages websites to rank on clear, human-accessible and relevant information rather than on tricks with keywords and meta data. For that reason, keywords don't do much for your page rank.
Should you still set up Meta Keywords? Absolutely yes! Some search engines such as Yahoo and Ask to still appear to use the tag, though they don’t rank it very highly. Some private or limited search engines also still use it. It’s also important to remember that while the crawlers don’t necessarily recognize the Keywords tag, they do read the text in the field as page text. This is expecially important if you don't use Mirror HTML; you can use the Keywords meta to add crawler-readable text. The appropriate format for your keywords is very specific and consistant across all the search engines: comma delimited words and phrases, relevant to the subject of the website.
There's a couple of caveats here: In general, you want to avoid anything that could be interpreted as misleading or spamming in your keyword content. Avoid using keywords or keyphrases that do not describe what you actually do. For example, "nude photos" is a high-traffic search term, but unless you are doing nude photography don't use it just to get hits.
Avoid excessive keywording - too many similar keywords can look spammy to the crawlers. For example, don't list your photography speciality as a keyphrase group with every city in a 50 mile radius. Instead, choose one or two of the largest cities and use those. Most people in smaller communities will search by country or by the nearest major town. If your keywords are spammy or misleading, your site will end up losing page rank.
Finally, one of the most valuable uses of the Meta Keywords tag is to add common mispellings. This allows the crawler to categorize those mispellings as search terms for the page. You don't want to put misspellings on the page itself, but since the content portion of the tag is still read by crawlers, putting the mispellings in the keyword tag gets it indexed as a search term without it being visible to the site's visitors (and thus potentially making your site look less professional).