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Meta Tag basics

Meta tags is one of the basic areas that CMOs overlook or do not know about.  You can look  at the Meta Tags of your website from the back-end of the code, this can also be done to look at your competitor websites meta tags for this important information. You should also do this for all pages, not just your home page.

Here is where to look to see your meta tags:

1: Open the website page you want to see the meta tags for.

2: Go to the outlook tool bar and click on View,

2: Then click on Source.  This will bring up the back-end HTML code for that page of the website.

3: Now look towards to the top of the code for the words:  Title: read what it says, since this is what Google is seeing. Be sure to use all of this valuable marketing area.

4: Next look for Meta name Description, Read those words,does it match the message you want for your company to be found under.

5: Read the Meta Keywords.  This will give you what keyword terms the search engines would be searching under. 

Over the past few years, Google is relying less and less on Meta tags due to keyword stuffing, but it still should be in place for each page.  Many times I find this basic meta missing for websites, or only done for the home page.  Designers can design a nice flash website, but may not understanding that Google cannot search older versions of art done in flash, if it is not Flash 4, and they also did not know enough to at least put in the basic meta tags per page.

Here is the rule of thumb as to what to do for Meta tags.:

Title tags: No more that 65 to 70 characters ( letters) Place your main keyword first.
Description tags: Up to 160 characters or 24 words max.
Key word tags: Choose your top 25 to more than 50 per page per particular page.

Remember you cannot use the same term ie photography,over and over again with a different key term, like product photography, still life photography.  So you will have to get creative of how to say the same thing in different ways.


SEO gut check for CMO’s. How to check up on your websites back end.

SEO, meta tags, alt tags and other “web team” responsibilities leave most CMO’s in a blind spot of trust or of ignorance when it comes to their back end of the web site.  Simple questions that I ask such as:  Does your web site have a site map?  Blank look.  Are your meta tags in place, or still relevant..blank stare.  I don’t know, or why do I need to know, is the response I get from 99% of the senior execs with whom I speak. 

The question is, it is really important?  The answer is yes.  Not that Meta tags are weighed as heavily as they use to be, but it speaks to the competency of the team building, or maintaining your website.  If the basic building blocks are missing, you most likely have a staff training or education issue and are wasting lots of money.

The check up is fairly simple, if you know there are many domain tools that look at your site and give feedback.  Your web team uses these tools all the time, so should you.  An easy check up tool is www.whois.domaintool.com.  If you put in your web site name,  it will give you current meta tags, alt tags ect., and an overall SEO score for Search Engine Optimization. 

If you go to the right hand column and click on the SEO Text Browser, it will give you page by page feedback on what is missing from their perspective.  It will also give you a grade for each page, so you will be able to talk with the team as to what is going on and how to improve.

As an example, I just ran this tool on a client to see what areas needed attention, since they indicated at the meeting that the web consultant they where using had it all covered.  Result: No meta tags, no alt tags, a failing score of 56% for SEO since all the pages were designed as a .gif and could not be spidered by search engines.  Pretty web site with great design, not searchable, waste of money….not good.

This is also a great tool to peak in to the back end of your competitions website to see their score and what issues they have not addressed that you can use to your advantage. So do CMO gut check on your SEO and website, it may be the best improvement for no money you can do.