There are some techniques you can use to optimize your site for search engines. The first is meta tags, which are HTML elements that sit behind the pages of your site that label the content of that page. Why are they important? They help search engines correctly index the content of your pages. They are not, however, a guarantee that your site will automatically shoot up to the top slot of search results.
There are many kinds of meta elements, but here are the four basic meta tags you should include on your site. The page title, page description, and page keyword tags should appear in the “header” section of the HTML code (at the very top) on all of your web pages. ALT image tags should be directly associated with each individual image on your site.
Page Title Tags
The page title tag is one of the most important tags and appears as the clickable website link in a list of search results. Your name or the name of your project must appear in the page title tag.
<title>YOUR NAME OR TITLE OF YOUR WEB SITE HERE</title>
Page Description Tags
This is a short description of your site and you place it directly after your page title tag in the HTML code. On a search results page, the page description content appears directly below the clickable link to your web site.
<meta name=”description” content= “DESCRIPTION OF YOUR WEB SITE HERE”>
Here’s an example of what Creative Capital’s page title and page description tags look like on a search results page:
Creative Capital Foundation – Investing in Artists who Shape the Future
Creative Capital has awarded $30 million to 530 groundbreaking artists … 8,000 creative minds to strengthen their careers and enrich their communities.
Page Keyword Tags
Meta keywords allow you to provide additional text for search engines to index along with the actual content on your site.
Keywords should reflect the basic topical areas covered by that web page. Examples include “feminist art, political action, fresco”, etc. The list can be as long or short as you want, although search engines may not index more than ten keywords. Place your keyword tags directly after your page description tag in the HTML code.
For artists with common names (ie, Robert Smith), names that can be abbreviated (ie, Bob Smith), or names that are often misspelled, you can add the various versions of your name in your keyword tags. Here’s an example for artist Matthew Deleget: “Matthew Deleget, Matt Deleget, Matthew Delegate, Matt Delegate”.
<meta name=”keywords” content=” KEYWORDS HERE” />
(Note:Search engines like Google and Yahoo no longer take Meta keywords into consideration, but MSN (Bing) does. Even with Bing, Meta keyword attribute is no longer an essential ranking factor, but to score keyword credit, they (Bing) recommend using it positively.)
ALT Image Tags
Your web site more than likely uses lots and lots images, so you should make use of ALT image tags. ALT image tags display alternative text for users who cannot read images. This includes search engines. In addition to text information, people often search the web for images and use search engines like Google Image Search. You want, of course, your images to appear in image search results, but to do so, each image must include an ALT image tags. Here’s an example of HTML code in insert an image on a page. It includes the appropriate ALT image tag.
<img src=”IMAGE FILE NAME HERE.JPG” alt=”IMAGE DESCRIPTION HERE” >