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Search Engine Optimization Terms

Knowing about SEO terms will definitely help your site, but using them effectively makes all the difference in the world. Using meta-tags in moderation is a good way to ensure that you the most out of them and better equip youro website to show up on search engines. If ou have the time and are inclined, read through the whole page before you start taking action on any of it. Having a picture of how some of them use the other will save you a bit of time in the end.


What they are:
Not to be confused with 'meta keywords'! This is the set of words and/or small phrases you use to characterize your site. Generally, you will want these to show up in your sites content so that search engines will associate those words/terms with your website. This is part of the reason that certain sites show up when you type in something like 'how to play guitar’ into Google. Making a list of keywords for your site is always a good idea.

How to use them:
The best way to think about choosing keywords is that you're trying to pick terms that meet two criteria:

  • They apply to the subject of your website
    • This part is easy. If you have a website about ice cream sandwiches, a good term idea would be 'ice cream sandwiches'. A bad one would be 'awesome internet prices'.
  • They are terms that are actually searched for
    • You can use a site like Google’s Keyword tool, to do research. Basically, you go there and type in a word or phrase. The tool will tell you similar terms that people are searching for and how many people are doing so. Another place you can go is Wordtracker. I prefer WordTracker personally and it is a paid service, but they will give you a lot more useful information that could be helpful for sites needed for marketing or selling a product/service.

What they look like:
This is just more of a list for your reference, so you can keep them saved in a document, or spreadsheet(my preference).


Page Title:

What they are:
The page title acts as...well, the title for your page. You can see the page title in the top bar of your browser, and it also becomes the name on bookmarks. People usually make it a short phrase, or a few keyword terms that match content on the page. The page title is also the text that will show up as a clickable link when your page comes up in Google or other search engines.  This is a good place to squeeze in some of your keywords.

How to use them:
If your page title is longer than 65 characters, a shortened version will show up on search engines. With that being said, try to keep the character count closer to the 30-45 character range. This will ensure that your entire title is displayed on search engines. In addition, your terms will(as with most meta tags) be valued more when there are less characters.

What they look like:

  • Ice Cream Sandwiches | How to procure Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Welcome to Ice Cream Sandwich Headquarters!


Meta Keywords

What they are:

If your keywords are a list of words/terms used to characterize your website, meta-keywords would be a MUCH shorter and more specific list of your keywords meant for just one page. They aren't as important to your search engine results as they used to be, but it's still a good idea to add them for (at least) your important pages.

How to use them:

The more keywords you use, the less power each individual word or phrase has. With that in mind, you'll want to keep the total amount of words down to 25 or less. This way, you have a smaller group of words that are valued higher due to there being less of them overall. The best way to pick these would be to choose around 25 keywords from your list that are most relevant to the page.

What they look like:

  • [For a page on ice cream sandwich flavors] Ice cream sandwiches, vanilla, strawberry, knickerbocker glory, neopolitan, black cherry, oreo cookie, mint chocolate, phish food, rocky road…


Meta Description:

What they are:
The meta description is a tag that uses a brief sentence you create as the general ‘description’ of that page. This is the sentence that shows up in black under the title on search engines like Google. This definitely a meta tag that you don’t want to leave empty as it looks very odd when a page shows up on a search engine without one.

How to use them:
You’ll want to be lighter on the keywords when it comes to the meta description. This is meant more for your visitors than anything else, so try to make it a clear, concise, and compelling description of the page. If the other tags are meant to please the search engines, than this is the one that should be meant just for people. Also keep in mind that a shortened version of the meta description will display it’s longer than ~155 characters. Keeping it that length will look really good for your site when you show up on Google.

What they look like:

  • Welcome to the official website of the International Ice Cream Sandwich alliance! Your home for compelling information about the world’s best dessert!

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