Using metadata to improve your SEO

Metadata consists of your title tag and several of the meta tags including keywords and descriptions. 

Website title tag

This shows up in the browser tab and also in the search engines as the text that you click on when searching for a keyword. Aside from the instantly obvious relationship between your title and what people see in search engine results, search engines place a high value on the contents of this tag as they try to figure out what your site is all about.

In order to get the most keyword value from your title tag, try to keep your keywords as far to the left as you can. Instead of saying "What you can achieve using the KEYWORD", try something like "KEYWORDS help you achieve this". 

Notice how 'KEYWORD' went from the far right of the title (last word) to the far left (first word)? This instantly added value to this page for the leading keyword in the title. Try this with several pages on your website and especially your homepage, which traditionally has more SEO value than your other pages.

Your title should be more than about 60 and less than about 120 characters. These limits tend to change a little from time to time, but somewhere in the middle should be pretty reliable for you over time. Don't use keyword lists as they will be considered spam.

Meta description

This shows up in Google under your title when your page is returned in the search results. Try to ensure that the description you enter on the page is unique to that page on your site as well as being informative. Search engines don't like it when you use the same description on more than one page as it makes it difficult to decide which page is more relevant and therefore which page needs to be displayed in search results. 

If you have no meta description tag set up on your page, Google will use some of the content from your webpage. This is usually a section of visible text on your webpage that occurs just after your opening body tag in the HTML source code, or the first text that closely matches the keyword somebody is searching for.

The meta description should contain concise, grammatically correct text barely longer than your title. The length should be at least 90 characters and up to 160. 

Meta keywords

Finally, you should then have some keywords, and these words should match what is contained in your title and description tags. You can add as many keywords as you like, but the less you have the more effective they will be. These keywords should all be relevant to your site content.  Keywords should also be contained in the main text and if possible in the main heading on your website. When you include popular keywords in your metadata and website content, they will be noticed by search engine bots or 'spiders' so your website can be correctly categorized and ranked. 

There are many SEO techniques that can boost your search engine ranking. Let's start with these simple steps that you can use to get your website noticed.

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