A Beginner’s Guide to Meta Tags

Simply stated, a meta tag is a snippet of text injected on your website to boost your SEO.

Essentially, meta tags are your opportunity as a content curator to describe what your content is about for the search engines, so you can allow your content to be more widely seen.

So, how do you create meta tags that ultimately enable us to achieve a higher ranking, and allow our content to be more widely seen? Here’s a quick guide on where to start.

Write Google-worthy meta tags

Though other search engines like Bing are significant, Google is still king. Focus on writing descriptions that are worthy of the platform. What do you want to communicate about your page in 150-160 characters or less? What keywords need to be present?

Note that in some cases, Google won’t display your meta description at all, and in many other cases, Google will only display a small portion of your description. Choose your words wisely so that no matter what is published as your description, it accurately depicts your work, and boosts your ranking.

Meta tags need to be unique

For starters, duplicating your meta descriptions is an absolute no-no. Right along with keyword stuffing, this sends the message to the search engine that the page is a duplicate, or that maybe you do have too many keywords and are just trying to use them to rank.

Try using schema markup, or creating rich snippets of relevant text, in your descriptions. Include ideas like customer ratings, reviews or product descriptions on a given page to start.

Think about your keywords

Keywords matter. Even if every other description or piece of content was taken away, your audience should be able to understand the basis of your website based on keywords alone. Because of keyword stuffing, keywords won’t affect your ranking as much as in previous years, but based on clarity for your audience and attracting your target market, they are still extremely relevant.

Title tags are relevant

In short, a title tag names your site. The meta tag, or meta description, does just that: it describes your website. Your title tag perhaps has the most important impact on your SEO ranking, and so for most people will search for “Chloe Anagnos,” considering it is a personal brand. Therefore, a title tag is formed.

Data matters

Most people will stop after the above steps are completed, but the most success you’ll have with your SEO ranking is by paying attention to your data over time.

Remember, ranking doesn’t happen overnight, and just like your workout routine, you’ll see performance if you are consistent over time. Every month or so you should be revisiting your data to see if your ranking has improved, and if your pages are being clicked directly from the search engine. Use a tool like Google Search Console, Google analytics, or your website’s built in analytics to monitor your performance and make adjustments as needed.

How to Cure Online Slacktivism

This article was originally published on October 5, 2015.

We’ve all experienced it. Profile pictures changed to colored ribbons. Cartoon characters assigned to timelines. Multiple “shares” and “likes” for non-profits on social media.

Since the dawn of the internet, your hippest and most politically active Facebook friends have been able to fill you in on the latest online gimmick to raise “awareness” for whatever is cool at the time. (Remember #KONY2012, anyone?) The idea behind the posts, likes, and shares is all fine and dandy. But, the slacktivism isn’t and it needs to end.

Slacktivism is defined as, “actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, e.g., signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on a social media website.”

…Or saying something like, “like my status in support of…” You get the picture.

Slacktivism is easy. It requires mindless clicks to make others think that you’re super involved. (A colleague of mine wrote an article recently that summed up my complete feelings on the subject. You can read it here.)

What’s even worse than the laziness that causes slacktivism is the low-information slacktivists that spread around misinformation.

For example, yesterday the dreaded Facebook copyright hoax went viral again. When it originated in 2011, most telecom junkies like myself thought that by 2015, people would realize that Facebook is free and always will be. Alas, it was back despite the countless news stories that were circulated regarding the hoax.

Not to mention the countless “click-bait” stories that get shared about everything from the 2016 election to abortion and beyond. One would think that in an age where information is at our fingertips, it would be unheard of to not have the truth immediately.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Take any example of a high-profile legal battle, a politician’s speech or a viral video and you’ll surely find conspiracy theorists and “Facebook lawyers” that have stated their opinions about the “facts” before the story is even a day old. (And the year 2015 has had plenty of those kinds of news stories to go around.)

Believe it or not, there is a way to cure slacktivism.

First, get off your computer. Second, make a list of the causes you actually care about and/or have donated money to in the last year and actually get involved in them. Run (or walk) a 5K, volunteer on the weekend or have a bake sale to benefit said cause.

Lastly, actually research what you share on Facebook. Is that news story actually true? Did Donald Trump really say that?

Find out what the other side of the aisle thinks. If you’re interested in a more complex issue that can’t be fixed with a 5K or a bake sale, contact your Congressman or Congresswoman and ask them to help. March in a rally. Attend a school board or city council meeting.

Just “liking” a photo of the disaster relief efforts in Nepal solves nothing. “Sharing” a post from the World Wildlife Fund of a sick koala does nothing.

Getting informed and getting involved solves everything.


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