breaking away from the pack

Yes, Virginia, there are meta tags for WordPress sites

By on January 1, 2010 in Uncategorized

Meta tag. A familiar term to many of us, but what are meta tags and how important are they to an effective search engine optimization strategy when we build WordPress sites?

I thought it would be interesting to go to the root of the meaning.

From the freedictionary.com: Meta — A prefix meaning one level of description higher. From answers.com: Tag — A sequence of characters in a markup language used to provide information, such as formatting specifications, about a document.

So, meta in terms of markup language, means html code that is “one level higher”. And yes, with meta tags in WordPress, you will find them “near the top” and in fact, in the header.php of your WordPress site. Go to the theme editor from your WordPress theme dashboard and select header.php to begin work on your meta tags.

Codex.wordpress.org describes meta tags: “The word meta means information about. Meta Tags were created early on to provide concise information about a website. Meta tags list information about the web page, such as the author, keywords, description, type of document, copyright, and other core information.

In the interest of good search engine optimization practices, we need to pay some special attention to meta tags, but how much and how?

Meta tags no longer hold the level of importance with search engines that they used to hold, and quality content is more so than ever the biggest contributor to your search engine rankings. Do you want to rise higher in the search rankings? Improve the quality and relevance of your content.

Keywords still matter in your meta tags, though. Despite the fact that Google and other search engines discount sites engaged in “keyword stuffing”, and no longer look to keyword meta tags with the same level of regard when indexing your site, there is at least some value as long as your keywords match your content. At this time, your title and description tags will hold more weight than your keyword meta tags with the search engines, particularly Google, so careful research and selection of your keywords for those tags will make a larger difference.

The site at codex.wordpress.org gives a succinct description on where to place your WordPress site meta tags:

“To add meta tags to your site, simply add them to the header.php template file in your WordPress Theme, specifically in the head section near the link for the style sheet. At the top you will see the DOCTYPE tag and below that you will see a couple more tags and then the title tag…

Below this line you can add your meta tags. You can add meta tag information such as the content, language, author, contact, and copyright, since these are basically the same on every page of your site.”

Keep in mind that the dynamic types of information–and we are talking about description and keywords–is unique to every web page on your site. If you put them in the header.php, the information will not change throughout your site. This will compromise your site’s optimization for the search engines.

To optimize your site for the search engines, you need to dynamically add keywords and descriptions on every post. You can choose from ways to do this: you can add them as generic references or you can use plugins. In this way, your site will have added a description, keywords, and other meta tags that are unique to each generated post or page.

You can find additional information about meta tags, meta tag plug-ins and other resources at the codex.wordpress.org site . These plug-ins allow you to customize your meta tags and choose them for each post.

So, yes, Virginia, not only are there meta tags for WordPress, they are still a part of an effective search engine optimization strategy.

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  1. cna training says:

    Nice post & nice blog. I love both.

  2. Jake says:

    I had no idea that positioning your website was so complex. But it makes sense. There are billions of sites out there–how do you differentiate yours? How do you get a good position on Google, so that you can be seen?

    This article was interesting, and easy to read and understand. Which is important to me, because I plan to use meta tags myself.

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