What are Meta Tags? The answer…

meta-tags (1)… might be a bit complicated. However, here is my attempt to explain it based on what I read the past couple of weeks.

Do you remember those index cards, were you used to write recipes? (maybe school lessons? or business contacts?) I do! My favorite one was oatmeal cookies.

You are probably thinking what on earth recipes has to do with Meta Tags?  Well, believe it or not, it works exactly the same in the World Wide Web (WWW) (at least this is what I understood :D).

The usual practice to write a recipe on an index card was to include a short title, which helped us find it later. The list of ingredients was as important, being that a wrong item would throw you off completely. Finally, the preparation took us into a more detailed explanation. In other words, I wouldn’t titled this recipe chicken stew, nor would I find red vinegar as  part of my ingredients, right?

Then, if you understand how we used those index cards, you understand Meta Tags! Meta Tags have the same purpose and system. The most common ones below:

1. Write a title that represents the page, remember, this is just a short phrase (ex: Oatmeal Cookies = Patricia Awapara’s Art), also known as Meta Title.

2. Include a list of words relevant to your webpage. That is, they need to be related to your content (ex: oatmeal, sugar, raisins, etc = art, acrylic paintings, artist,etc) also known as Meta Keywords.

3. Describe your page, yourself or product in detail. Unlike keyword, this must have full sentences to make sense, being that it will be visible to the reader, (ex: Start by mixing all ingredients into a bowl = Patricia Awapara’s paintings are colorful and have a variety of subject matters). Also known as Meta Description.

The End!

Well, at least when it comes to understanding a small part of Meta Tags. There are tons of information about this subject alone and articles alike. In fact, indexing is one of them. Once you finish writing all your tags a “Web Crawler” will (hopefully) find your page with the purpose of indexing it and store your information, which makes the “Search Engines” task easier (to find you).

Please, do not hesitate to comment or correct me if I am wrong.

Happy Meta Tagging!!

Update 6.3.13: Read comment from Art Morehead (Arthur) in the reply section below. He goes in depth regarding this issue. It is an excellent explanation. Check it out!

Arthur also replied after I asked him about my explanation and recipe metaphor, see following quoted comment here:

“Yes Patricia your recipe metaphor was actually pretty good but it didn’t really explain what tags are and barely scratched the surface which is why I added to it. However it did do a good job of explaining the way that basic indexing works through the title tags, meta description and keywords, I just gave it a little more of a push is all to include a little more detail about what tags are actually used for and how they should not be used for indexing. However this doesn’t mean that others wouldn’t use tags in a totally different manner. They could use tags for indexing but then you would use the “no indexing” attributes for your categories and or/ titles. Like I said it really depends on how you set your link structuring up under your settings (permalinks, slugs, etc.) This is why I tell everyone to have a self hosted wordpress.org blog to be able to make these setting on your own to work they way YOU want them to and not be restricted as to how Blogger, WordPress.com, TypePad, or any of the other free blogging sites.
Sure you can use it just use your editor to put what you need into “block quotes” and add my name and URL at the bottom of the quote so you don’t get hit for like kind content from Google.
Google doesnt like the copy and pasting of content from one site to another but the do like it when quoting is done correctly, Which means using the quote blocks in your html editor which captures and signals the bots that this is something of importance and is good for SEO, by Arthur Morehead  – This conversation was originally posted under a LinkedIn Group called Art Marketing

(I hope this is how it’s done :D)

9 thoughts on “What are Meta Tags? The answer…

  • Patricia I am more than glad to help, First thing first is understanding the lingo and settings to a blog which you can find here
    http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page
    This page has the basic explanations of what you should know about settings and what they are for. If you are not sure about certain terminology you can just Google it and you will find plenty of information on what your looking for. Even starting out with the free version of WordPress.com will help explain some of the techy stuff but not all of it. Using the free version like you are Patricia will get you familiarized with the format while your learning about each one of the functions which doesn’t take long. Then when you are ready to take control of your own self hosted WordPress.org blog you can just transfer the one from WordPress.com to your own server which is only about $10.00 a month on average for an unlimited shared hosting account. Personally I recommend Hostgator they have been around the longest and their customer service and support is second to none. With Live/chat support 24/7 its incredible and the staff is amazing. I have used their service for 7 years and never had a problem, of course I am online mostly in the after midnight hours but it’s still the best support on the net for hosting companies.
    Anyway, take a look at the WordPress.org link and start to learn the basics of blogging BEFORE you attempt to learn SEO (search engine optimization) You must know the basics before you can start to understand SEO. It sure makes it easier understand when you know what it is referring to when talking about keyword optimization, meta descriptions, permalinks, slugs etc. etc.

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  • This is fascinating Patricia – another whole world out there in how to market and be found. I think the information is great and will be very helpful to a lot of us bloggers.

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  • Patricia, actually meta tags are used to locate things internally on your blog and/or website and rarely used for indexing a page in the search engines and should have the “no index” “no follow” attributes to prevent double content being listed in the search engines. In other words if you publish a blog post or article on the internet most likely it will get indexed based on title and keyword and /or category. However if the tag words are not carrying the no index attributes most likely the search engines will index the same article under the tag listing as well causing the page to be indexed twice only under two different URL’s and sometimes even three or four copies all with different URL’s. This is called double or like kind content and it can hurt your ranking in the search engines and can spam flag you with a penalty which will send the pages back in the SERP’ (search engine result pages) to maybe a page 10, 20, or even more depending on the severity of it. Tags are used to search for more information within your site that is related to the article that it is listed on. For instance if you write a recipe for “apple pie” then a meta tag would be “apples” and would show at the bottom of your post. Now if someone wanted to see what else you have written about “apples” they would click on that meta tag “apples” and take them to an article you may have written within your blog about “apple turnovers” or a list of articles with URL’s pertaining to the keyword “apples” in your Sitemap.xml file
    Now even though your post can still be found by the use of keywords “apple turnovers” Google does not put value to keywords as an indexable source or page rank. How your posts and articles are indexed is really based upon your permalinks and/or linking structure.
    You really need to learn the basics of setting up a blog and learning the terminology and differences of your settings and what they do before you begin to understand SEO and how it all works as a whole but you are very close to understanding meta tags.

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    • Arthur, Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this issue in depth. I am having a bit of trouble understanding the entire process of indexing and SEO related subjects, but I know how important this is. By the way, do you have any suggestions on where to start reading (accurate) information about all that?

      Anyway, I do appreciate it!
      All the best.

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  • I love the way you have explained this – the recipe cards make so much sense to me and it is no longer a complete mystery, I may even venture into the world of meta-tagging myself one day! Thank you so much for sharing your research! 🙂

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