Sunday, 31 July 2011

Going meta

A big part of SEO is getting the contents of your site just right, and a big part of that is the text of the articles and other pages. If you want visitors searching for a particular phrase to find your site, make sure the phrase is actually present on the relevant page - but only two or three times unless the context specifically demands more than that (i.e. it would be difficult for a page comparing twenty different search engines to avoid using the phrase 'search engine' several times, but don't overdo it.

Another big part of the local site SEO is the 'meta' information that you can place in the headers of very page you serve up, invisible to the reader but very visible and helpful to the search engines.

The relevant meta information consists of a description, keywords, and maybe an author name. This information is placed in the header area of your HTML, one good place for it being just before the closing </head> tag.

To do it on Blogger, from the dashboard you go to 'design' then 'edit HTML'. Make sure you make a backup copy of the template by clicking on 'Download Full Template'. Then scroll down until you find the </HTML> and add something like the following just before it:

<meta name="DESCRIPTION" content="All about SEO - Search Engine Optimization." />
<meta name="KEYWORDS" content="SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Optimisation" />

Obviously, your actual wording will vary depending on what you want to promote. Also, on an actual website you may have the option to vary the keywords from page to page, whereas with blogger using a common tempate the tags will be the same on every page in the blog.

Click on 'preview' to check that it works, use the 'view source' facility of your browser if you wnat to check that the meta information really is in there, then click on 'Save Template' to save it. Done!

Note that because blogger uses XML, the meta tags need to end with />, or be paired with </meta> ending tags. On a site which uses just HTML, the meta tags can end with just >. Also, becareful not to put your tags before a </script> tag, say, or your browser will mistake them for Javascript with possibly disastrous results.

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