SEO Headlines – Meta Tags as Content
Take Responsibility For Your Crappy Rankings
Susan has already accused me of being ranty today so I figured I may as well embrace it. (Especially since Bruce is in London for SES. Hi Bruce!) To that end, consider this a reminder that the search engines, particularly Google, don’t owe you anything. In fact, they don’t even care about you. If your site falls out of the index today, they won’t miss you. This may be hard for your ego to grasp, but if you disappeared from the search results, Google would still have exactly the same number of sites indexed for your keywords. You’d simply be replaced by someone else. It’s like dating in grade school. Or what happens when mommy has a new baby. [Or we hire a new writer. *ducks* –Susan] I know you don’t really mean that. [sniffle]
Google’s goal is to provide relevant results for its users, not to get your site ranked. If you want to rank well in Google, you have to be relevant. And that means paying attention to what Google deems relevant. That means no spamming, creating a Web site Google can actually spider, being useful to searchers, not buying links with the intent of passing PageRank and a million other things. Do you have to follow what Google tells you? Nope. But they don’t have to rank you either. Stop crying.
Also, if your customers don’t understand you/your site/your mission, that’s your fault too. Okay, I’m done ranting. For now.
The True Importance of Meta Tags
Sally Falkow wrote a piece over at Search Engine Watch entitled Meta tags as persuasive content where she talks about how when it comes to writing tags, it’s not only about showing up in the search results. It’s also about inspiring that user to clickthrough and visit your Web site.
There’s always a lot of talk in the forums about which tags are important for search engine optimization and which get spidered and which don’t. But as Sally reminds us, Meta tags aren’t just about pleasing the engines and reaching your search engine optimization goals. They’re more importantly your first point of contact with new customers. As Sally explains, people read the ‘headlines’ (Title tag) and the ‘blurb’ (Description tag) on the search results page before they decide which link to click on. These areas are your first point of conversion. If users don’t make it passed this step, it doesn’t matter what the rest of your site looks like.
Site owners should be utilizing these areas by including descriptive keywords and sexy copy to entice users into doing exactly what they want them to do – to clickthrough to their site! How you word your Meta tags could be the deciding factor as to whether searchers visit you or your competitors.