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WEB DEVELOPMENT

Making the Most of Your Titles and Meta Descriptions
By: Katie Gatto
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    2010-04-28

    Table of Contents:
  • Making the Most of Your Titles and Meta Descriptions
  • What is a title?
  • What is a Meta Description?
  • Tips on creating an effective meta description

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    Making the Most of Your Titles and Meta Descriptions


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    How do you make sure your site gets found? There are certain things the search engines look for to help them decide how to rank a site (and for which key words), and there are certain things searchers look for to help them decide whether to visit a site. If you want to be found, your title tags and your meta descriptions can help lead the way. Keep reading to find out how.

    We all want our sites to be successful. For the majority of site owners and web masters this can be managed with two basic metrics, the number of viewers that you have and the profitability of the site. Your number of viewers, also called your community size, is generally of concern to people who want to get out a message with their site.

    Of course, since many online advertising models are based on the number of views that an ad gets, it can also be an important metric for profit-minded site owners. It is far from the only way, though, to make money, and a profit-minded site owner may be interested in generating sales directly or even simple referrals.

    The problem is that before you can either become the next Boing Boing or quit your day job and live on ad revenue, people have to be able to find you. Getting potential viewers to find your site sounds simple, and on the theoretical level it is relatively simple. In theory all you should have to do in order to help readers to find your site is:

    1. Set up your site with a catchy domain name and a visually appealing theme.

    2. Create content that readers can not get anywhere else or offer them a unique product.

    3. List your site with a few major search engines in order to get it into the listings.

    In a perfect world this would be enough to let the cream rise to the top. Viewers would find, and return to your site time and time again. Unfortunately the world is not a fair place, and search engines are even less fair. Sure, search engines should base their rankings on an in-depth analysis of the quality and relevance of your content, but that simply will not happen.

    You may wonder why this is the case. After all, a search engine lives or dies by the number of useful results that it gives to its users. This means that they should have a vested interest in providing quality links to its users. The reason they donít do in- depth analysis is sheer numbers. There are millions of sites on the web, and if you had to do a truly in-depth analysis of sites in order to give results, it could take hours to return results to an end user.

    Search engines need to try to balance quality of results with timeliness. In order to accomplish this they often rely on a myriad of secondary factors. These factors include such things as the number of in-bound links that you have gotten from other sites. These factors you will have only nominal control over in the long haul. Sure, you may be able to generate some links on your own, but probably not enough, from the right places, to impress a search engine.

    That does not mean that you are powerless. While you can not control all of the factors, some of them are very controllable. Two of the most controllable are your titles and your meta descriptions. While those two things may sound minor, the search world still largely runs on these words.

    A site with good titles and good descriptions will have much smoother sailing than one that has given little attention to these factors. Since you want to give yourself every possible advantage over the competition, it is worth taking a few seconds to consider your titles and your meta descriptions carefully. Before we get into what makes good titles and meta descriptions, we should take a look at what they really are.

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