The Search Engines expect to find certain information for each page, it’s not visible on the page but it is extremely important. A lot of professional Web Designers fail to include this information because you don’t know about it and what you don’t know about you wont miss!
The technical term is ‘Meta Data’
Think of Meta Data as ‘I am describing the content of the individual web page for Google’
This is how Google shows a real company website entry for ‘Touring in Elegance’ in a search result page. Andrew the owner offers quality UK chauffeur driven holidays for foreign visitors (he is also still working on the website so it’s likely to have changed by the time you read this).
You can see how Andrew has tried to maximise the space available on the Title by inserting important keywords. The description has also been written with important keywords. Sadly in this example Google has cut the description short, this is indicated by the three dots. Google normally shows around 160 characters. Andrew was over the limit so Google cut the description to the nearest comma. All of this is automated, so you have to be careful what you type in because if it gets truncated it might not make sense. Have you noticed how his domain name does not actually tell you what he does? www.specialist-tours.com could mean anything from bus tours to haunted house tours, www.uk-chauffeur-tours.co.uk would have been better in my opinion.
The Meta Tags on each page need to be fully customised to reflect the nature of the business or service on that page. They also have to be relevant to the textual content on the page, Google will weigh this relevance and if it thinks you are telling it one thing and your clients another you will get penalised.
The Title Tag should contain a descriptive sentence and not just the name of the company. Google only shows the first 62 characters.
Personally on Andrew’s site I would have used Touring in Elegance: Chauffeur Driven UK Tours and Vacations That’s 60 characters long and squeezes the extra keyword Vacation in (Andrew is aiming at the American Market).
A comprehensive descriptive sentence needs to be created and it should include as many keywords as possible. Google only shows the first 160.
This is a list of keywords that a web surfer might enter into a Search Engine, you need to add 20 keywords to each page Keyword Tag. These are not visible on the page or the search result page, they are only used by the search engines.
On Andrew’s site he has used:
Personally I would have used: (but as I said early, only the business owner knows what his clients are looking for so my interpretation could be completely wrong, what do I know about chauffeured holidays?)
Anchor Tags (Text on buttons):
The text that you use for your page buttons when designing your is important, the search engines call these Anchor Tags and know that they are relevant keywords. Choose the button names carefully.
Going back to our fictitious Plumber, he could use something like:
All of these are important keywords in the plumbing industry.
As discussed in the Photos and Graphics page, all the pictures should have a descriptive Alternative Tag or sometime it’s called the Picture Description, this not only helps you to conform to accessibility regulations but they are also used by the Search Engines to rank your site.