Blogger Basics: Adding basic meta tags to your blog
With the advent of internet and related technologies, and the deeper penetration of internet throughout the world, it has become all the more important to be discovered in all this heap of millions of websites, big and small, blogs and stuff. This makes things quite tricky for the average Bill’s and Joe’s to be found in this haystack of these millions of websites and blogs. SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is a term, that in itself could be quite intimidating for anyone who doesn’t know the nitty-gritties of the internet. While this is an important aspect of internet and marketing, this is also one area that has been neglected a lot. While, this is true that today’s Search Engines and their search algorithms have developed so much that they are always ahead of the traditional ways, it is still a popular belief that no matter how advanced these search engine algorithms have become, they still give quite a good amount of importance to the traditional ways of internet marketing. This is where Search Engine Optimization comes in. Although, not everyone can do this tricky thing in detail, almost everyone can help themselves out with a few simple tricks, which can be considered as a small headstart – something better than nothing.
This time around, we are going to take a look at ways through which you can add some of these vital elements in your blog. This is done with the help of an HTML standard called metadata, implemented in HTML in the form of Meta tags <meta>. This is what W3Schools says about the Meta tag
Definition and Usage
Metadata is data (information) about data.
The <meta> tag provides metadata about the HTML document. Metadata will not be displayed on the page, but will be machine parsable.
Meta elements are typically used to specify page description, keywords, author of the document, last modified, and other metadata.
The metadata can be used by browsers (how to display content or reload page), search engines (keywords), or other web services.
It is pretty clear from the above excerpt that information stored within meta tags in an HTML document are used for a number of purposes including that – by the browser to display the web page correctly, or the search engines for keeping a track on a set of keywords and description, etc associated with the webpage/blogpost. This small piece of vital information can really help a majority of search engines conveniently understand what the web page is all about. Though this is something that has also been misused in the past for a technique called keyword stuffing wherein the owners of websites/webpages put hundreds of thousands of unrelated “keywords”, particularly those having a very high search probability, in turn, duping unsuspecting users to click their links from the search engine result pages, probably fetching the owners money for showing ads on these web pages, and thus most of the top search engines had to stop depending on these keywords alone to understand what the web page is all about.
Nonetheless, these meta tags – keyword and description haven’t lost their importance completely, it’s just that the search engines now have complex algorithms in place to understand and verify the keywords these meta tags tell the search engine about. Without further ado, let’s dive into these small but important additions to our blogger blogs, and for that matter, even other blogging platforms like WordPress too need a similar way to do the same for the blog. The two important lines that we need to work on are something like this.
- <meta name=”keywords” content=””>
- <meta name=”description” content=””>
- <meta name=”title” content=””>
While some of the modern templates have these two sets of lines embedded in the code, it’s not mandatory that the developer of the code must have added these lines to their templates. To make sure that this works, all you need to do is just log into your blogger blog’s dashboard, navigate to Template on the left side bar, click it and then enter into Edit HTML. Yes, you do need to enter the dangerous template HTML section of your blog. Since we need to modify some core code for pur blogs, this needs to be done.
Once you are inside that bunch of pretty undecipherable HTML code, use the search feature provided by blogger to look around for the availability of the above mentioned lines. In most probabilities, these lines are contained at the top section of the blog template’s HTML code, and thus, can be easily found within <head> and </head> tags. If you’re lucky enough and found these lines, even if they are a bit different, it’s good. If not, you can copy both the lines from above and add the same in your blog’s HTML code. To do this, the <head> tag is a good and safe place. Add the code after this line <head>, in the HTML code of the template.
Once the code has been added, and the tags are properly set up, all you have to do is, think about some keywords that make up your blog. Some unique words that define what is your blog about. If it deals in a different variety of contents, just think about some of the words that you use most often, and then add the same within the the part of the code containing the text content=”your keywords here”>. Please remember to overwrite your keywords here with the actual keywords of your blog, and don’t blame us if you forget to do it and Google starts sending you visitors searching for the words “your keywords here”, if there are any people who actually search for those words. A good practice for the keywords contained in meta tags is to have them in limited numbers. Just a couple of those which actually define your blog should be there. There is no a universally accepted limit but most, if not all, will tell you to limit them to 10-15 keywords, with some going on to put this limit within characters and not keywords. So, a good idea is to find some 10-12 keywords and add the same in the blog template’s HTML code. The same goes for <meta name=”description”….. as well. This is supposed to contain the description of your blog. This is an important piece of information that is used by search engines and this piece of information is displayed while the users search for content related to your blog and the same is displayed in search engine result pages (SERP’s).
The screengrab from a search result page of Google shows us how and where the different meta tags are used and how are these important.
As visible in the above screenshot, HTML is the keyword we used to search. Based on the information provided by these different sets of meta tags, the search engine will display the relevant information within the search results pages. These small pieces of information can have a great level of impact on the poential visitor. A properly managed meta tags will display the required information, probably helping the user make up their mind whether to click the link and visit the site, since this small piece of information will help them decide whether the content probably satisfies their needs or they need to look for something else. Just imagine if the title of the webpage was not present, or the descriotion was something like “Description”, or “Your description goes here”, will the potential visitor be tempted to check out the page? We believe the answer will be a big NO!
All of that being said, it’s important for bloggers to know their HTML, and the tags of their blogs, if they want to succeed.