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<title>Home Inspector at American Society of Home Inspectors: American Society Of Home Inspectors, ASHI, ASHI Home Inspection, ASHI Inspector</title>
<!--6/22/2005 above is recommended by KeyWord Ranking replacement for below
<title>Home inspection information from ASHI - American Society of Home Inspectors</title>-->
Use a short, focused, attractive title, and make sure it fits neatly within the length limits imposed by the search engines' results display format.
Same for your meta description -- The title and description are your one major chance to "sell" the searcher on clicking to view your page(s). Make them look polished!
But even these are just two of hundreds of aspects used to rank pages -- There are many, many more.
Using multiple titles and/or meta tags will get your site reported by competitors, and is against Google's quality guidelines. So, choose top-ranked for a month and then buried for a year with this multiple-titles gambit, or find [webmasterworld.com] a better way [webmasterworld.com] to optimize [webmasterworld.com] your site. Enjoy!
I've been confused by this over the years because no one can seem to agree on what works and what doesn't. I've made a few observations:
Assertion: Meta tags are not used by search engines. I found this to be completely and totally false! On one site I've been working to the bone, I have a meta description slightly different than my first paragraph. I did this on purpose. And lo and behold, when the site indexes, guess what is used by two major search engines for the "snippet" following the title link? The meta tag description, not the first 'graph.
So this prompted me to question all the other stuff I hear about what works and what doesn't. In the sample above, Home Inspector appears three times. The title tag is one of the most important things, is it not?
It's my guess this makes it more relevant in a search for Home Inspector, but of course I am pot-shotting and know nothing. :-) While I agree that the title is poor and confusing, and a human may not understand it, people in a search are generally more determined on page one than they are on page four.
Of course, one thing I **DO** know is that these techniques will ONLY work for you if the page's content indeed discusses these topics in sufficient detail to justify the keyword occurrence. This is a very important point.
Secondly, comments are indeed digested. I've done simliar experiments to test this, using specific words ONLY in commented text. Guess what! They appeared! So it's my guess also that leaving that commented text in there also boosts that keyword.
To those that really know this stuff remember I'm just speaking as devils' advocate here, because I am desperately searching for that holy grail, white hat, non-spam SEO that works for the little guy. :-)
[edited by: encyclo at 8:55 pm (utc) on Aug. 19, 2006]
[edit reason] no links to personal sites please, see forum charter [/edit] [/edit][/1]
The meta keywords tag is largely ignored these days because of rampant abuse in the past. You might want to toss a half-dozen top keywords in there, and possibly a few common misspellings of your top three keywords. But keep it short. Then forget it.
There are other meta tags that you see all the time --like the "revisit after" meta-- that don't do anything at all vis-a-vis search ranking. That particular tag was for an obscure Canadian directory indexer, long since gone, and only affected that indexer. Yet you'll find that tag on hundreds of thousands of pages (if not more). And it does absolutely nothing but push the body content down another 40 characters...
Or how about P1R's favorite -- the <meta name="robots" content="index,follow"> tag -- another good way to push your content down without any concomitant benefit. Since "index,follow" is the default behaviour in the absense of this tag, using it with "index,follow" only hurts your page.
I'll stand by the two links I posted above; Other than the title and description, your best bet search engine-wise is put your work in the <body> tag, and not to add a bunch of other junk in the <head> section. With the hundreds of other on- and off-page factors, there are simply far better things to spend your time on.
If all your site has going for it is three repeats of the main keyword in the title, you've got serious problems for the long term. As I said, presenting a polished, professional title and description leading to a polished and professional page/site is the way to go if you want to move past short-term and get into 'branding.'
Remember that the search engines' purported view of the Web is unchanged from its inception: The purpose of the Web is to disseminate information to those looking for it, and all else --including e-commerce and online marketing-- is irrelevant as far as search goes. So the search engines offer this deal: Provide useful, unique information, and we'll rank you highly (as long as you don't make uninformed SEO mistakes). If you do that, then they don't care if you are selling something or not. But if you don't do that, then you can't sell much of anything until your site becomes a household name. And you can't become a household name without doing a good job at all aspects of marketing.
There'e no quick fix, and the only keyword that will matter in ten years is [b]quality[/i]. That's because the search engines' ultimate goal is to have their algorithm be able to look at a page and classify it as useless dreck, poor, fair, good, very good, excellent, or outstanding, in perfect agreement with a human reviewer's assessment. That's their goal, and if you're in this for the long term, you won't forget it.
Sorry . . . .
EDIT: Thank you jdMorgan, this is really helpful!
If all your site has going for it is three repeats of the main keyword in the title, you've got serious problems for the long term.
On this I totally grok - if you're using three occurrences in the title it had better have good content on that topic, correct?