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SEO - HTML Blog - Tutorial

We will from time to time attempt to include information we have found to be useful as a guide to Search Engine Optimization, beginning with basic HTML principals.



Saturday, January 07, 2006

Meta Tags, Introduction

When a search engine robot indexes a website, it takes down cursory information like remote location, size, and other details. The actual content of the page is often dynamic and very difficult to categorize automatically; this is where Meta tags come into play. Meta tags serve as guidelines for search engine robots, validation engines, and even your audience's actual web browser. Proper use of these tags ensures your page will be recognized by all types of browser and search engine robot, and will be indexed quickly and efficiently.

  • Beware defaults; visitors with their browser settings set up in nonstandard ways will rarely see your website as it's intended to be seen
  • In general, it's good practice to keep everything in lower case
  • Using quotations within quotations is a common source of error, beware of quotes in your meta information
  • Punctuation in general can wreak havoc on validators and robots, try and avoid it within meta tags.

Generally, the following format should be sufficient for most sites:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<title>Descriptive Title</title>

<meta name="author" content="Author of this site's content">

<meta name="classification" content="Descriptive category for indexing">

<meta name="copyright" content="Usually author or company name">

<meta name="description" content="Keep to about 12 words, be descriptive and concise">

<meta name="keywords" content="A series of keywords, separated by a comma and space, that describe your site. These are things users might type into a search engine if they were looking for your services. Don't go overboard, keep them focused. Some robots will only read the first dozen or so, keep the important ones at the beginning">

<meta name="distribution" content="Global">

<meta name="language" content="Language code. In Canada, this is en-ca">

<meta name="reply-to" content="Put your inquiries email address here">

<meta name="revisit-after" content="30">

<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">

<meta name="rating" content="GENERAL">

<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">

The latter tags ensure that robots will visit often, and index your entire site. The very last tag prevents your page from being improperly indexed by Microsoft's controversial "Smart Tags" program.

Next week, we'll examine further ways to insure robots index your site properly.


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Mission Statement

In a world dominated by the internet, design and compatibility are crucial to a company's success. Care must be taken to properly and formally code a webpage, so it works across the board on a variety of systems, and is still fully compatible with the latest search and information management technologies. This weblog will teach designers the fundamentals of such coding, including the crucial need for proper validation, the methods in which one can create code which requires less debugging after the fact, and the methods in which Search Engine Optimization can be used to promote the stature of a company within a page of otherwise nondescript search results.





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