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Meta tags? Use them or not?

     
11:15 pm on Mar 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Hey guys,
I am new to the site, and fairly new to SEO, and from what I have been reading I have been going at SEO at the entirely wrong angle. I am the only guy working on SEO at this startup company I work for, and I started doing this about a month ago.

I am baffled by the fact that you have received such fantastic results in the search engines without the Meta Tags. Is this a result of concentrating on a few keywords at once, and then having a content rich page? I would love to rack your brains on how I can achieve some better positions!
-A Gerhart

5:04 pm on Apr 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Meta keywords are all but ignored by most search engines any more. Their value is basically not more than any other word on the page. They've been abused, over used, and reused so many times that search engines had to start throwing them out. Those of us that still use meta keywords, basically stick to our top 5-10 kw's and phrases and throw everything else out.

There is more to be gained from having the microsecond faster loading page without the keywords than the rankings influence with them.

Meta description on the other hand, continues to play a large role in those engines that use meta descriptions.

6:02 pm on Apr 3, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the reply Brett, I can see why many of the SE's tend to disregard meta tags. I think that I am going to direct my efforts towards themes instead, as from reading alot of the threads in here I think they are the best way to go.

I still think that with the algo's used by the search engines, the meta tags shouldn't be forgotten, as you can never tell what the SE's will deem as valuable in a week, or a month from now. Am I thinking on the right wavelength or no?

9:33 pm on Apr 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Are themese by far and away the best way to go though? Or if META's are used... will they just eventually generate more traffic?

I know it's all about content... and we can debate whatever IS actually content... But still...

9:44 pm on Apr 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

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meta title tags are still the single most important factor for on page ranking. Meta keywords aren't really going to get you anywhere. Meta title tags, themes, links, and optimized content seem to be the working approach.
11:06 pm on Apr 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

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>Meta title tags, themes, links, and optimized content seem to be the working approach.

Yes, themes is almost a layout and design function -an SEO technique applied at the site level, like css. It doesn't really exclude any optimization on the individual pages. IMO, title tags and meta descriptions are well worth the effort. On the other hand, meta keywords aren't worth the time.

Woz

11:15 pm on Apr 4, 2001 (gmt 0)

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>On the other hand, meta keywords aren't worth the time

As a general rule of thumb for many major search engines I would agree. However for some of the lesser, more focused, or even up-and-coming search engines keywords are still important. I still put them in ready for when I have a little time on my hands to do the rounds of submitting to these lesser engines. I think they are still worth some small effort and help in some ways to keep you focused on the main theme for that page. IMHO of course.

Onya
Woz

6:07 pm on Apr 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

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>I still think that with the algo's used by the search engines, the meta tags shouldn't be forgotten, as you can never tell what the SE's will deem as valuable in a week, or a month from now.

I would agree that it can be a bit difficult to predict how SE's will continue to evolve, but I'm fairly confident that we will never see any major SE move back to an algo that assigns a great deal of weight to the meta keyword tag. Doing so would dramtically reduce the quality of their indexes.

The biggest problem with "meta tag menucia" is that the time spent on it is usually time taken away from more important areas like developing effective design and navigation strategies.

On top of that, the way most people write meta tags, (the proverbial santa's wish list)usually results in page that can easily be penalized.

Regarding up-and-coming engines, it is true that many do place greater emphasis on the keyword tag. They can do this because they don't generate enough traffic to attract spammers. As soon as they become a big enough player, they will also remove/demote the keyword tag from their algos.

IMHO, the best approach is to follow the strategy Brett mentioned, (Detlev Johnson also laid out a great meta tag strategy in yesterday's I-Search [list.media.com])and then move on to more important areas.

6:45 pm on Apr 13, 2001 (gmt 0)

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WG, you raise some good points that I will look into.. SOrry for the hiatus... I've been quite busy lately.

~eric

4:44 pm on Apr 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

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>However for some of the lesser, more focused, or
>even up-and-coming search engines keywords are still important.

That and what WG said are very true. I think 5-10 words are more than enough to get the point home. Any more than that, is bascially spamming. Alta looks for 2 duplicates right now and downgrads a page if it finds 3.

3:59 pm on Apr 17, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Brett that is awesome info to know about Alta. That's exactly the type of thing I have been looking for. Do you have or know of any location that lists information like that for all the engines?