Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is the process of ensuring a website is utilised to rank as highly as possible on search engines such as Google and Bing. Although a complex specialist subject, we wrote about the basics back in January. In this article, we will explain how to edit meta tags, a fundamental element of SEO.
Meta tags are segments of code which are added to each and every web page on your website. They are invisible to human readers but visible to search engines. Their overall aim is to provide the search engines with information about the content of the page so that they can index it for searching. Three of the common meta tags are:
As it sounds, this tag contains the title of any given page. It should be a maximum of 50 - 60 characters and should include your main chosen keyword. This keyword should also be mentioned within the content on the page.
This tag is no longer used by any of the main search engines as it was heavily used by spammers to try and deceive search engines. Some companies however still utilise it as a mechanism to record the tags for which they are trying to optimise the content. This is fine, providing the keywords are present in the content. Some search engines (especially bing) will penalise the page if you include keywords which are not mentioned. Unless there is an organisational requirement, this tag should be left blank.
These are the paragraphs that appear underneath the titles in search engine listings. They should contain 150 - 160 characters and explain the content of the page and why it should be read. While it should be written to include keywords, it should also be written for the human reader to convince them to select your website over the others surrounding it in the results.
Three Sixty Media construct our websites using a Content Management System, or CMS for short. There are many systems out there, but we commonly use either Wordpress or Drupal depending on the size and complexity of a project.
When adding a new page or blog post, you will find the page settings area at the bottom of the screen. By selecting “Meta Tags”, you will see a screen similar to the one shown below.
You will see that both the “Page Title” and “Description” fields have the following default entries:
[node:title] | [current-page:pager][site:name]
These entries mean that Drupal is automatically creating the title element based on the official page and site titles.
For the Description, the Summary field is used. This can be accessed by clicking the edit summary link above the body element.
The default entries would be fine to keep, but there may be an occasion where you need to specifically craft the text in the tags. In this situation you should remove the default text and enter your own before saving the page.
We recommend the using the Yoast SEO tool. Above you will see this in action at the bottom of the add / edit page area. Again it has a default entry for the title tag based on the page title and website name and the description is formed from the first paragraph of the content. You can modify these if you feel they need to be changed to a more suitable value.