Meta Tag - SEO Advice

Hi All

Can someone explain to me the use of meta tags and how they are indexed etc by the search bots.

I have launched a new site for my business, we are a graphic design, print, web design, property marketing and sign business. After doing lots of research regarding SEO, I am going through the site and making it as SEO friendly as can be.

I have looked at my competitors tags and have a question.
Listed below are the home page tags of a competitor:

“graphic design, design agency, web designers, printers, printing, worksop, retford”

I understand that words within commas are one keyword phrase, the last two on the list are town names.

My question is, do the search bots link two keyword phrases from one meta tag list when indexing and searching

ie from the competitors list above, if I searched for “graphic design worksop” would the search engine see that within their list.

Or would I need a tag of “graphic design worksop” in one phrase.

The reason for the question is that we are in the centre of several large towns, all within 20 miles, so would like to be seen if searched in each town etc.
I realise ranking is not just about meta tags.

Thanks
Mike


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Perhaps I will find consensus if I just say that Meta Tags are not nearly
as important as they used to be, and are actually somewhere between
dangerous and merely ineffective when aggressively used.

There was a link posted earlier to what is described as an SEO browser,
this is what your website looks like in that browser:

For comparison, here is one of mine,

You might want to use it to look at your competitors sites and try to
establish any meaningful correlation. Then, forget what they’ve done and
try to imagine yourself as a curious user of your site - who can also read
page code, meta tags, and has a healthy distrust of marketing-speak (aka,
bullcrap). What will your experience be like? What I find is less is often
more, like with your wordy page titles. Search engines only display the
first little bit of page titles (and real people only scan so far ahead) so
why not ditch all the scattershot and concentrate on a focused human
description geared toward a human attention span?

I know, because you want to be found in search results. Even with good
keywords - that is, keywords that match actual content of your page while
matching the words used by people searching for you - that can be very
difficult. Add to that the growing sophistication of search engines and the
desire of their masters to “humanize” the web experience. You have to start
thinking of your website not as something that serves your needs, but
something that serves the needs of the users who will visit it. In theory,
if it’s serving their needs, they will be able to find it.

Keywords and Descriptions for each page should be reflective of the content
of each page… (just as the content to be reflective of what your users are
looking for) Especially as search engines will find more than just your
home page and you should rightly expect the home page won’t necessarily be
the point of introduction to your site. A website is less of a linear,
book-like thing and more of a sculpture - that you can approach from many
angles. A page on how people can find you (contact page) can have all the
information about the communities you serve, and how people in those areas
can find you.

Getting links to your site from other sites in those communities will help
too. Meta Tags won’t fool anyone if you’re not part of those communities.
Find out who is publishing in these communities and see what you can do to
get noticed by them. Sponsor a community event or group that gets you press
and links, and be strategic about publishing endorsements, press releases,
and case studies for your own client work… not just portfolio shots but
inspiring bits that reveal your process and how you serve clients in those
communities you want to be noticed in.

There, that should give you something to think about.


Ernie Simpson

On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 9:28 AM, Mike Thornley email@hiddenwrote:

Hi All

Can someone explain to me the use of meta tags and how they are indexed
etc by the search bots.

I have launched a new site for my business, we are a graphic design,
print, web design, property marketing and sign business. After doing lots
of research regarding SEO, I am going through the site and making it as SEO
friendly as can be.

I have looked at my competitors tags and have a question.
Listed below are the home page tags of a competitor:

“graphic design, design agency, web designers, printers, printing,
worksop, retford”

I understand that words within commas are one keyword phrase, the last two
on the list are town names.

My question is, do the search bots link two keyword phrases from one meta
tag list when indexing and searching

ie from the competitors list above, if I searched for “graphic design
worksop” would the search engine see that within their list.

Or would I need a tag of “graphic design worksop” in one phrase.

The reason for the question is that we are in the centre of several large
towns, all within 20 miles, so would like to be seen if searched in each
town etc.
I realise ranking is not just about meta tags.

Thanks
Mike


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Hi Erns

Being from a tradtional print background, I am fairly new to the web, so lots of catching up to do.

Thanks for the link, interesting, yes my own site is being sorted to be more html than graphic, but was researching SEO etc first to make sure everything is as good as I can get it.

I realise that no one could ever cover googles or any other search engines great criteria for getting high in the rankings.

So what would be a good way of getting traffic from other local towns. Because if the nature of our business, I want to concentrate on solely on local business, the business opportunities in my home town is quite small as we are the smallest town, but with 20-30 miles of two cities and several larger towns.

Have a look at this site, what benefit does listing all the local towns at the bottom of the page with different services acheive?

http://www.chameleon-online.net/

Mike


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I’m sure it does. Each town page has a file name, H1 title, and lots of html text.

I’ve seen this approach before and for now it does appear to work even though for the user it might be confusing. I do wonder if will Google clamp down on this one day.

David

http://www.ineedwebhosting.co.uk

On 29 Dec 2012, at 16:34, “Mike Thornley” email@hidden wrote:

Have a look at this site, what benefit does listing all the local towns at the bottom of the page with different services acheive?

http://www.chameleon-online.net/


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I would avoid that type of approach, it doesn’t pass the smell test for me.
And I don’t know that it works… that’s the rub.

This article had some interesting ideas, though it isn’t much different
than what I think I’ve already said. The main point, there is (and
shouldn’t be) any easy way to game the system. All content should be usable
and of benefit to the user.


Ernie Simpson

On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 12:21 PM, David Owen <
email@hidden> wrote:

I’m sure it does. Each town page has a file name, H1 title, and lots of
html text.

I’ve seen this approach before and for now it does appear to work even
though for the user it might be confusing. I do wonder if will Google clamp
down on this one day.

David

http://www.ineedwebhosting.co.uk

On 29 Dec 2012, at 16:34, “Mike Thornley” email@hidden
wrote:

Have a look at this site, what benefit does listing all the local towns
at the bottom of the page with different services acheive?

http://www.chameleon-online.net/


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Hear hear! This is a genius metaphor! Thanks in advance for letting me steal it!

Walter

On Dec 29, 2012, at 10:40 AM, Ernie Simpson wrote:

A website is less of a linear,
book-like thing and more of a sculpture - that you can approach from many
angles.


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Here’s my very short list of how to succeed in SEO by trying really hard. Ignore the first paragraph, that was answering a different question.

http://www.freewaytalk.net/thread/view/45080#m_45082

Oh, and to get local interest, it’s pretty hard to beat direct mail. 10,000 postcards will cost you less than you might think, and can do a lot for you and your site, particularly if you key it to a special offer or freebie. We tend to forget the analog when promoting the digital. Also coordinate PR efforts with local TV and radio and dying newsprint publications.

Walter

On Dec 29, 2012, at 11:34 AM, Mike Thornley wrote:

Hi Erns

Being from a tradtional print background, I am fairly new to the web, so lots of catching up to do.

Thanks for the link, interesting, yes my own site is being sorted to be more html than graphic, but was researching SEO etc first to make sure everything is as good as I can get it.

I realise that no one could ever cover googles or any other search engines great criteria for getting high in the rankings.

So what would be a good way of getting traffic from other local towns. Because if the nature of our business, I want to concentrate on solely on local business, the business opportunities in my home town is quite small as we are the smallest town, but with 20-30 miles of two cities and several larger towns.

Have a look at this site, what benefit does listing all the local towns at the bottom of the page with different services acheive?

http://www.chameleon-online.net/

Mike


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Hi Walt

Thanks for the reply, apathy seems to rule here in the UK.
To promote the new site, I sent an emailer to the 150 existing customers on my database.

After some research, most thought an actual gift would be an incentive to visit the new site, which was the aim, the mailer offered a £25.00 itunes card for any order over £200 during the month. Only 8 of the 150 took me up on the offer and all of those would have ordered anyway. Only 48 people actually opened the mail, I then phoned to see why they didn’t open the mailer, again apathy.

As mentioned previously, I am fairly new to web design etc, but not to print design, I have gone down the mailer route in several forms in the past, again this works best if you actually have a direct contact name and carpet mailing doesn’t really work that well as most people just drop them in the bin.

Unfortunately websites rule for generating new business and the access is immediate which is what people want. Which is why the SEO for me is a subject of great interest to be able to rank above local competitors.

With regards to the chameleon site, they are friends, but also a major competitor, I used to freelance for them, but decided to wind this down as most of the sample work on the site is my work and I thought was a detriment to my business.


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Forgot to mention - have spend the last couple of days using google keyword tools and then cross checking with word trakker to fine tune the keywords.

Back to the original question does putting a town name as a keyword link with other keywords in the list?


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Meta Keywords are widely believed to be completely unused by Google. Other search engines may vary in this practice, but the received wisdom here is that they are a total waste of your time in Google, and thus in general. Meta Description is used in preference to the first part of the first P tag on the page as the description of your site in search results if it is present, but again, does not weight the ranking of your site in any way in Google’s eyes.

If you want your page to have a great deal of weight in particular geographical locations, do the following:

  1. Add that location name to your Title tag.
  2. Add that location name to your H1 tag.
  3. In the first paragraph of your page content (in source order) include that location name in a natural context.

This site is number one or two in the natural listings for “eye doctor jenkintown”: http://elkinsparkeye.com Read the source code to see why that might be. Note that I do use keywords and a description. I don’t believe they have anything to do with Google, but they do help with Bing and DuckDuckGo (vanishingly small portions of the referrer population, but every bit helps). Note especially how the keywords are used to provide synonyms for other words used on the page.

Walter

On Dec 29, 2012, at 2:23 PM, Mike Thornley wrote:

Forgot to mention - have spend the last couple of days using google keyword tools and then cross checking with word trakker to fine tune the keywords.

Back to the original question does putting a town name as a keyword link with other keywords in the list?


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In this instance Mike wants to be listed in other local towns which potentially can draw more orders.

You could try and test a few specific pages with your target town listed in…

File name = web-design-mytargettown.html
H1 = Web design in mytargettown
Some content mentioning thus town.

All you need to do is to reverse engineer your ideal search term at least for a test.

A purest would say its the wrong way to go using maybe fake content. The fact is many use this method. I see it used and very successful in Wordpress sites or directories.

We got a similar issue with http://www.printlineadvertsing.co.uk where the office is in an area well away from the centre of Leeds. Study our home page, this helps somewhat. Written in a friendly but meaningful way for Google.

A competitor well out of town and close to us have created a Google maps page in the centre of the city at the main Postcode. Hopefully Google will get round to catching up with this. In the meantime they list very prominently in Leeds.

David

On 29 Dec 2012, at 19:35, Walter Lee Davis email@hidden wrote:

This site is number one or two in the natural listings for “eye doctor jenkintown”:


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Sorry that should have been http://www.printlineadvertising.co.uk/

David

On 29 Dec 2012, at 20:06, David Owen email@hidden wrote:

We got a similar issue with http://www.printlineadvertsing.co.uk where the office is in an area well away from the centre of Leeds. Study our home page, this helps somewhat. Written in a friendly but meaningful way for Google.


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Hi All

Thanks for the interesting replies, for me local SEO is the area to concentrate on because of where we are situated. Based in Worksop, We are centrally located for Sheffield, Chesterfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, Retford with 60% of our current clients are from Chesterfield.

David - as we offer similar services, do you think having duplicated web pages with the same content (ie logo design branding page) and changing the town names, in the title, description, meta tags and body text as you mentioned in your reply do you think this approach would have a positive or negative effect with the search engines.

Chameleons method does seem a carpet bomb approach, but for now it is working, but in some searches, my site does rank higher.

Also your idea of google places seems an area to look to.

Regards
Mike


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The Google places was not an idea just a very poor unrecommended example. It can be a double edged sword. Google wants unique content. By creating local content Google expands their potential business massively. Making your content too local can make your content drop out of the listings nationally. Which is fine is there is plenty of local business to be had. We found out the hard way as our national listings plummeted. It took a while to fix.

If you business location is ‘a’ but you want your work to come from location ‘b’ you going to have to create pages mentioning location ‘b’

David

On 30 Dec 2012, at 14:59, “Mike Thornley” email@hidden wrote:

Also your idea of google places seems an area to look to.


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On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM, David Owen <
email@hidden> wrote:

If you business location is ‘a’ but you want your work to come from
location ‘b’ you going to have to create pages mentioning location ‘b’

And I would suggest that any content that targets users in location ‘b’ be
far more significant to humans than the chameleon site example. The biggest
problem with SEO in my opinion is the concentration on creating content for
search results often detracts from content geared toward the user.


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Hi Erns

What about location c, d, e and f?

Mike


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I bet many search users still enter the phrase “widgets / service my town”. If that’s the service you provide you have to mention it. Mike should mention it if he supply’s to those areas. Including multiple areas if needed.

David

On 30 Dec 2012, at 16:57, Ernie Simpson email@hidden wrote:

The biggest
problem with SEO in my opinion is the concentration on creating content for
search results often detracts from content geared toward the user.


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Hi
I’ve done more research on this today and the most common opinion I have found is that the proper way to do this to be in keeping with google guidelines is to have multiple landing pages, but with a big BUT each page should have unique content and obviously with place name keywords in tags and content etc.

Obviously the chameleon site uses the same copy and just changes the place name, which will down rank the site according to my research.

So the challenge I suppose is to come up with different sets of copy keyword rich for each of the core services we offer and have time to make a living also.


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I still think that’s a terrific article, with the exception that as far as
accessibility goes, search engines are users too and that construction
technique matters. But only if you create a site people want to find and
want to use and want to return to. This requires constant and clever work
on the part of site designers.


Ernie Simpson

On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 4:07 PM, Richard van Heukelum <
email@hidden> wrote:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/12/11/seo-the-inconvenient-truth/


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