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In this course, search engine optimization (SEO) expert Peter Kent walks step-by-step through the process of reviewing the content and markup of an existing web site to improve its ranking in search engine results. This course offers a consultant's take on how to analyze each component—from keywords to content to code—and determine what improvements are necessary to become more visible to search engines like Yahoo!, Bing, and Google.
This course was updated on 10/12/2012.
Meta tags are little pieces of information stored in a web page but hidden from the person viewing the page. They're intended to be read by machines, not people. These tags appear near the top of the source code in the head section of the document, that is, before the ending head tag. The most important, from an SEO perspective, is the description meta tag, which contains a description of the page. We'll look at that in the next video. Then there is the keywords meta tag, a tag designed to hold a list of keywords related to the page contents.
We'll look at that in a separate video, too. There are various other meta tags you'll run across, many of which are more or less irrelevant from an SEO perspective, things like that generator tag, which shows what tools was used to create the page; content-type tag, which defines the character set used in the page; and the copyright tag. Some site owners use various meta tags, even making up their own to stuff keywords into them in the hope that the search engine will read them. It's a waste of time.
In general, search engines are not interested in content that is hidden from users, making exception to very specific tags, such as the description tag. There are a few other tags that can be used for SEO purposes. I won't go into great detail. You can Google for the details. There is the Robots meta tag, which can be used to tell search engines do not index a page, or not follow links on the page. It can also be used to tell the search engines to index the page or follow the links in the page, but that's rather pointless, as the search engine will index and follow if they want to, not because you tell them to.
There is also a googlebot meta tag that provides instructions specifically to Google. You can use this to tell Google not to archive--that is, cache--your web pages. There are also geo tags, which are used to specify location for sites that represent the local businesses. We'll look at that in a later video when we discuss localization. We mostly concerned with the description and keywords tags though, and as you'll see, not particularly concerned with the keywords tag, even.
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