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Posted 26 November 2003 - 05:45 AM
I spent most of the day yesterday reading the forums here.
When I search for certain keywords I come up top. However none of the keywords were ever in my body text, but actually only in the metas.
So does that mean that Google has gone back to reading Meta Tags? How else will they identify the words I have in my metas with my site if they dont do it?
I have been told Google no longer uses Metas, however quite a few of the old websites that have come to the top from years gone by still have their meta tags.
So I was wondering if my theory has some merrit.
I still use metas because I want to help the less sophisticated search engines out there.
What do you think?
Posted 26 November 2003 - 05:52 AM
I was wondering too if meta tags are now part of the equation for a high ranking. And like you point out, it seems to be (just from looking at one site so far mind you) if you have the phrase in a meta tag and the phrase in the content, then you don't get good rankings.
Posted 26 November 2003 - 09:44 AM
As an example formula (and it IS an example, this isn't how it's done, afaik)
If you assign 1 point for each instance of the key word in the metatag, the description, the copy, the links and the incoming links, is the number more than (for example) 10? If so, nuke site. If not, give site full credit for keywords and continue processing SERP.
Obviously this is oversimplified. I suppose it would be possible for a metatag to be the one that pushed you over the limit, but you're probably better off looking at the whole picture rather than any one part, especially since other SE's which are likely to become much more important then they are now in the new year, use the Meta tag to one degree or another.
It IS a sign of spammy copy if the metatags are stuffed with keywords, or are really long. Keep them short, sweet, on topic for the page they are on, and you shouldn't have any problems. At least, I don't seem to, and that's the only info I have on it right now.
Posted 26 November 2003 - 09:47 AM
Posted 26 November 2003 - 11:06 AM
That is not to say that Google does not index them, just that they do not use them to form descriptions in my experience.
At any rate we use meta description tags in every page we optimize because Inktomi and Alta Vista still use them to form descriptions in their SERPs.
Posted 26 November 2003 - 11:16 AM
The other engines aren't dumb though (quite the opposite)- in order to compete with G they will have antispam algos in place, too.
Many people do skip the keywords metatags, purely because it's not used by G. On the other hand, if it was totally ignored, then why apply a penalty to it? It would make no difference either way. I think focussing on G to the exclusion of everything else is probably a short sighted strategy. Always think long term optimisation.
The keyword and description metatags exist because they can help a good site be better, from an SE viewpoint. Naturally ANYTHING that falls into that category is a prime target for spammers. But you don't skip content or links or headers just because spammers abuse them, do you?
More to the point, a properly written metatag will either help you or be neutral to your site, just like a properly written H1 or title tag or anything else. It's a lower priority than some other items because it's not visible to the visitor (by design) so it's open for abuse, but it's certainly not likely to hurt you.
It's considered good design. Look at the top sites for any particular search and you will almost always see metatags. You will usually NOT see a keyword metatag stuffed full of spam in these listing though.
I say usually because no doubt someone can find an example somewhere of spam - seems to be showing up a lot lately, but I wouldn't plan my website design around spam sites.
Feel free to not use them. It won't hurt you, with the possible exception that it may help in other areas and you'd be missing out on those.
My opinion, as usual,
Posted 26 November 2003 - 11:49 AM
searchrank said: In my experience, I have yet to see Google use a meta description tag as a description for a listing in the SERPs.
One of my sites comes up at #29 for a very generic, one-word keyword (15.7 million returns). Google uses my meta-description in the SERP, not on-page copy, and it appears to be doing the same for many other pages in the Top 30. The same site, different page, comes up #26 for a slightly less common one-word keyword (7.8 million returns) and, again, Google uses the meta-description in the SERP.
Maybe Google would use on-page copy if I didn't have a meta-description for those pages, but I sure don't want to find out.
Posted 26 November 2003 - 12:00 PM
See, it therefore makes sense to optimize not only body copy but also meta description tags as Ian made reference to. Optimize for all the search engines, not just Google. There are others out there people, although you wouldn't think so at times the way everyone focusses on Google, Google, Google! :dribble:
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