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Marketing your website : Meta Data


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Have you ever wondered just how search engines sort through the hundreds of millions of documents available on the Internet? When you type a query into a search engine, just how does it decide which documents should be ranked first, and which should be ranked last? The answer is meta data.

Meta data is, quite simply, data about data. Your document is nothing but a piece of data for a search engine, and meta data helps describe and categorize it. Webmasters place meta data inside their HTML documents, to help improve their ranking on search engines, and to help end-users locate their site. This is critical to the sucess of any website - unless customers can find your page, they'll never be able to visit it!

So how do I create meta data?

Meta data, despite its technical sounding title, is actually very easy. Here's a small example, which shows the meta data used in this document

<head>

<title>Meta-Data</title>

<meta name="author" content="David Reilly">

<meta name="description" content="Have you ever wondered just
 how search engines sort through the hundreds of millions of 
 documents available on the Internet? When you type a query 
 into a search engine, just how does it decide which documents
 should be ranked first, and which should be ranked last? The 
 answer is meta data.">

<meta name="keywords" content="meta data, HTML, document, data,
 page, website, search engine, meta tag, title, document,
 author, keywords, locate, marketing, promoting your website,
 promotion">

</head>

As you can see, meta data for web pages generally consists of four items : title, author, description and keywords. Unfortunately, for the lay person, meta tags are a little complex. What you really need is a software tool to automate the process for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools around.

So which tool should I use?

Which ever one is the easiest for you! Some web authoring tools have built in support for meta tags - others require you to edit the HTML yourself. If you want a really easy solution, I've written a free online tool which is as simple as filling out a few fields. Unlike some other tools, MetaBuilder supports a subset of the Dublin Core standard for meta data, and fills out more fields.

Click here to use MetaBuilder


Written by : David Reilly
Last updated : Thursday, August 12, 1999