SEO 101 – Writing Meta Tags

Back in the early days of the internet, all one had to do to get high rankings in the search engines was throw your keywords into your meta keywords tag and you would rank for those key words. Fortunately search engines have come along way.

Although search engines have very complex algorithms that they use to rank websites, meta tags still do serve some purpose in the SEO mix. There are two meta tags that you will hear about: meta keywords and meta description.

Contrary to what many people will tell you, the keywords meta tag is pretty much useless. Search engines stopped looking at them long ago because of the amount of spam people were putting in the tag. The only thing I ever use the keywords tag for is to quickly see all of the key phrases I have optimized a page for. Even then I can mostly accomplish this by looking at the title tag. Conclusion: Don’t waste time on the keywords tag. Use it if you want to but it should be an after thought.

The description tag on the other hand is still very useful. Not only is it the second thing search engines look at when they crawl your page, this is the little blurb that shows up under the title in the search results as in the figure below:

It is very important that you write the description in a way that would entice someone to click on your listing in the search results, while at the same time you need to repeat what is in the title in sentence format.

For example, the description I would write for our dry cleaners example would look something like this:

<meta name=”description” content=”Learn how to start a dry cleaning business quickly and easily and own your own dry cleaners franchise today.”>

Notice how I have basically reworded the title that I wrote and made it into a complete sentence. Search engines want to see consistency like this.

IMPORTANT: A description should not be any more that one to two short sentences long.

Adam White is a 20+ year entrepreneur having built and sold 18 internet businesses. He currently runs JustReachOut and SquidVision, a new type of landing page optimization software for SaaS companies, and does SaaS and SEO consulting at He lives in Tennessee with his wife and kids and in between SaaS businesses he writes and directs feature films.

6 comments On SEO 101 – Writing Meta Tags

  • It is really useful to know that we have two types of tag. i just focus on keywords tag previously.

  • Thank you, I am glad to know the importance of the description. Up to now my page did not have any.

  • This was a very helpful tutorial!

    Now we just wait and see if I rank higher after what I learned here.

    Thanks for the info!

  • How relevant is this information. Its saying this info was posted nearly 4yrs ago (Posted on June 30th, 2008), Google is always changing its rules and algorithms. Have you also been keeping up?

  • I have been using the same basic strategies for 7 years now and they still work. How did you find this site? On page one for internet marketing in 2012, these things must still work.

  • Give us more of such excellent tutorials. The solution to this meta tag, keyword issue is the key to writing a Google front page article or blog post. Thank you for this educative one.

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