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A Day in the Life of a Search Engine Friendly Web Page: Title & Meta Tags

This post continues my series on search engine friendliness of a website. You can scroll to the bottom for links to the previous posts in this series.

To reiterate again, I’m making a distinction here between “search engine optimized” and “search engine friendly.” They are two very different things. Making your website search engine friendly is largely a one-time task, while optimization of that website is an ongoing process. But in order to be effective with the optimization, your site must first be search engine friendly.

This installment I’ll focus on the Title and meta tags, most specifically the description meta, but this can include the keyword meta, though that one is largely irrelevant.

I can pretty much sum up search friendliness of the Title tag and meta description as being two things

  1. They are present
  2. They are unique

You might be surprised to find how how often number one is not done, even by experienced web developers. About a year ago we signed a client for SEO only to find that their programmers did not create a way to program a unique title for each page. But it gets worse. They didn’t even program a way to add any text whatsoever into the title tag. Their code looked like this:

< title >< /title >

One of the first changes we requested was to add a title to their pages to which they told us that such functionality is not available and it will take a few months before the programmers can add that functionality. Can we say, “Your Fired?”

They chose not to fire their programmers so we fired them!

Many ecommerce systems we see use a global title tag across all pages. Well, step one is complete, the title is present. But now each of those titles needs to be unique for each page in order to accurately represent the content of the individual page each is on.

When working with a database system, the smartest (read: most search engine friendly) thing to do is not to just make the title and meta tags editable for each page, but to allow for unique default verbiage to be automatically generated for the pages until keyword optimized text is created.

When looking a potential client’s website the other day we were concerned when we saw that the title tags of each page looked to be typical default text. We contacted the developers to find out if these were editable and sure enough, they gave me the answer I was looking for. They are editable for each page but default text is in place until those fields are edited by the client. Perfect!

If you don’t use a e-commerce system for your website then you simply want to go add unique title tags, description tags and possible keyword tags to each page. Don’t worry so much about using keywords, that’ll be your SEO’s job, but for now, just make these elements search engine friendly by getting them in place.

Other posts related to this topic:

Constructing Effective Web Pages: Page Title
Constructing Effective Web Pages: Page Description
Constructing Effective Web Pages: Page Keywords

Previous posts from this series:

Search Engine Friendly is NOT Search Engine Optimized
An Argument for Website Validation
A Day in the Life of a Search Engine Friendly Web Page: The Domain Name

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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