Search Engines, Web Site Text & Meta Tags

by Pam Jones

Identifying the keywords for your web site is one of the most important things you can do. If you are building a new site, you will want to cover this base prior to even beginning to write the text for your site.

If your site has been online for awhile and is not getting the traffic you think it deserves, you might want to take a look at optimizing it for the search engines. A few things could be affecting your rankings:

  • The site was never optimized to begin with. You would be surprised at how many sites we run across that either do not have meta tags or keywords in the text of the site – or they contain keywords that are irrelevant to the site and NO keywords that ARE.

  •  The site may have been optimized at the time it was designed, but if it has been six months or more since you have looked at the text and meta tags, it is possible that the optimization is no longer effective with the search engines. The search engines change what they look for on a frequent basis and what worked today may not work tomorrow.

  • The site may be penalized due to past optimization tactics that are now considered spam by the search engines.

  • Remember that the terms people use change over time. What may have been popular last year may not be as popular today.

Your first objective is to know who your target audience is and how to reach them. You need to target the correct keywords and search terms in order to generate a keyword list that will bring the most amount of quality traffic-visitors who will BUY from you. There is no sense getting top ranking in the search engines for terms that are not being used to find what you have to offer.

The first step in the optimization process is to do some research.

  • Talk to your co-workers, business partners, friends and your customers. Ask them what terms they would use in a search engine if they were looking for your type of business, service or information, other than your business name.

  • Make a list of 5-10 terms and phrases

  • Research these terms with the search engines

    • Use Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool for additional ideas (the results from Overture are based only on the previous month’s searches so take this information with a grain of salt). The results will show you approximately how many times that term was searched for in the last month.

    • Use WordTracker to select the phrases that will form the foundation for your search engine optimization campaign. This is a more reliable tool than the above Overture tool. You will be able to see how popular the term as well as predicted traffic generated by search engines and directories for that term.

  Now it is time to evaluate and select the terms you will use in your site text and meta tags. You will want to ask yourself:

  • Is the phrase relevant to your site content or the specific page being optimized?

  • How many other sites are targeting those search terms?

Remember that the more targeted your keywords are the more targeted your traffic will be. Don’t try to target every search phrase or term on your Home page. You will want to select the five to 10 most closely related phrases to target. The others will come into play on the individual pages of your site. By all means, DO NOT try to target everything on your Home page if your services span various target audiences.

Incorporate your chosen keywords into the text of you page as well as the meta tags and alt tags for graphics, etc. Resubmit your site to the search engines and be patient. It does take time for some of the search engines to index sites.

When your site has been optimized and resubmitted you still need to keep track of results. Watch your web site logs. Keep track of the terms that are being used to find your site and which search engines are sending you traffic. Are the search terms targeted? Are the referrals from search engines increasing? Which search engines are bringing you the most traffic? You may need to refine your text and meta tags a few times in order to achieve your desired results. DO NOT RUSH THIS PROCESS!

Would you rather spend your time operating your business than sitting in front of a computer screen optimizing your site? Or maybe you would rather be floating the river or skiing on a snowy mountain slope (depending on what part of the world you live in)? Let us help you get your site in tip-top shape. We are familiar with what the search engines are looking for and continue to educate ourselves about the current trends and changes. Visit our web site at for details.


Pam Jones specializes in offering quality information and services that will keep you on the right track with your online marketing to help you increase your profits. Visit the Internet Marketing Resource Center at, for tips, tools, resources and helpful articles. Or find out about web hosting, website design or redesign, domain name research & registration, online marketing & promotion and website maintenance services at affordable prices for small to medium sized businesses at Clearwater Web Solutions at

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