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Phil

Meta Elements – Everything You Need to Know About Meta Tags

By | Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, seo tips

Meta elements or meta tags are text elements of any website that help search engines in identifying the content subject matter of a page. Meta elements are never visible to end users, as they’re hidden in the page’s code.

WordPress users might be familiar with the ‘tagging’ of content, a way to categorize content based on subject. Meta elements work in the same way, but they’re part of a web page’s underlying HTML. They’re usually placed in the ‘header’ part of a web page, and are usually the first to be seen by search engine crawlers.

Meta Elements – Why They Matter for SEO

In the realm of SEO, knowledge on how to effectively use meta elements is part of the most basic of trainings. Meta elements are not as important to a page’s SEO as they used to be, thanks to advanced search engine algorithms that can analyze and deduce what a page’s content is about.

To view a page’s meta tags, all you have to do is right-click anywhere on it and click on ‘View Page Source’:

view sourceThere are several different meta tags available, but their usefulness varies quite a bit. In fact, there only a handful of meta tags that search engines such as Google understand.

Important Meta Elements for SEO

As mentioned above, Google understands a select number of meta tags. And perhaps the most important of these meta elements, which will have an impact on your site’s SEO are:

  • Meta title tag – <title>Title of the page</title>: The contents of this tag are shown as the title in search results.
  • Meta description tag – <meta name=”description” content=”some content” />: This tag provides a brief description of the page. A summary of a summary, as its length is very short.
  • Meta robots tag – <meta name=”robots” content=”arg0, arg1”/>: This tag specifies what search engine crawlers should do with the page.
  • Meta keywords tag – <meta name=”keywords” content=”kw0, kw1..”/>: This tag specifies a set (or array, specifically) of keywords that are relevant to the page.

Meta Title Tag

The meta title tag is perhaps the most important of all meta elements, because it’s going to be processed by search engines and then shown as-is to search users.

Whenever you make a search on Google, you’re presented with a set of search results. The main titles of those search results are actually the meta titles of those pages.

Meta title tags are also visible at the top of a browser:

meta titleThe meta title tag is important because it is one of the few meta elements which is visible directly to web users. A badly worded meta title is going to drive away search users, thus severely affecting its click-through rate.

Meta Description Tag

The meta description tag is just as important as the meta title tag, as it can be seen by users in search results.

Usually, the meta description tag contains valuable and actionable information about a page’s content.

meta descriptionWhat most SEO specialists try to ‘fill’ a page’s meta description with highly-searched keywords so the page has better chances to come up in search results. This is a good practice, as long as you don’t go overboard with keywords.

Usually, Google will choose to display the first 155 characters of a meta description, so try keeping it brief and to the point, with well-chosen keywords.

Meta Robots Tag

The meta robots tags act as instructions for search crawlers on what they should do with your page. These tags are generic, and are used to control the behaviour of all search engines, not just Google.

The robots tag can be specified with different arguments based on what you want the search crawlers to do (default values are index and follow):

  • noindex: Prevents the page from being indexed by search engines.
  • Nofollow: Prevents search engines from following links on the page.

Meta Keywords Tag (Deprecated)

The meta keywords tag is not recognized by Google anymore, since it was notorious for being abused by search engine marketers to ‘steal’ traffic by using popular (but unrelated) keywords for web pages.

Optimizing Meta Elements for SEO

Meta elements still play a vital role in determining how well your page will be ranked by search engines. As such, it is important to come up with meta elements which are produced using SEO strategies such as keyword research.

There is no simple formula to help you come up with meta titles and descriptions that will be viewed more favorably by search engines. For titles, it is absolutely important that you include the core keyword once. For meta descriptions, many users make the mistake of ‘stuffing’ them with keywords. This has an adverse effect on readability, and thus reduces reader confidence and trust.  

Google Assistant Vs Amazon Alexa: What Voice Search Means For Local Businesses

By | Internet Marketing Service, Search Engine Marketing, search engine optimization, seo tips, Voice SEO

voice SEO, voice search engine optimization

Voice search is dramatically shaping the future of search engine optimization (SEO). Marketers should embrace the changes and learn more about voice SEO techniques that are associated with the mobile age.

Bing stated that voice search accounts for up to 25 percent of all organic searches on its platform although this technology is still under development. However, this does not mean that marketers should pay less attention to the voice search, which goes back to the early 2000s when Google began exploring how voice recognition software could apply to its suite of services. Google’s voice searches have increased significantly since 2008.

Research studies revealed that the ability to get faster results is one of the most important motivators for using this type of search. This trend demonstrates how voice search changes the way users find the right content online. Intent plays a major role in voice searches than traditional queries.

Over the years, the technology has evolved and it has been adopted by several tech giants, including Apple that introduced Siri, its voice search application. Although Siri is associated with the iOS, Apple’s operating system, it is an independent application developed by a third party developer. Apple eventually acquired the application and integrated it with the iPhone 4s in 2011.

What’s the Difference? Typed Searches vs Voice Searches

Text-based and voice searches deliver relevant results that are closely linked to the users’ intent. Search engines rely on advanced algorithms to determine the context of the spoken or typed keywords. However, text and voice searches provide varying experiences when it comes to results.

Voice queries are becoming more functional and accurate as voice recognition software evolves. According to a report published by Google, the majority of users turn to voice search for quick queries. These include searching for the nearest restaurant and other queries linked to local search engine optimization. Traditional search is used mainly for complex or sensitive subjects, such as healthcare.

Many people also prefer text-based searches for queries involving adults-only intents. On the other hand, it is rare for users to conduct voice searches when it comes to social media. Experts attribute this trend to concerns surrounding the possibility of voice-enabled technology spying on user activities.

Phrasing, tone and word choice are key factors that differentiate between typed and voice searches. This means search engine marketing (SEM) practitioners need to focus on the vocal communication patterns of their customers. Unlike traditional search queries, voice search typically comes in the form of questions. Users express themselves through natural language.

It’s common for the searches to reflect a conversational tone and the queries are aimed at obtaining quick answers. For this reason, marketers should strive to adapt their voice SEO strategies accordingly. Long-tail keywords play an important role when aiming to attract traffic via voice search. The same applies to optimizing site content for direct answers to common questions posed by user’s queries.

For their part, search engine algorithms have become more accurate when detecting user’s intent thanks to artificial intelligence.

Google Home Assistant Vs Amazon Alexa

Google voice searchAmazon Alexa and Google Assistant provide high-quality products for the living room. It comes as no surprise that the two brands have been hogging the limelight in the digital assistant market. The products are compatible with smart speakers, phones and a wide range of smart home devices.

Google Assistant is powered by advanced artificial intelligence software. It allows users to enjoy an interactive experience when using a Google Home speaker and Android phones. It is Google’s version of Siri.

Alexa works with Amazon’s products like Echo smart speaker and the Fire TV remote control. The digital assistant makes it easier to enjoy added convenience at home or on the go. Users can receive a traffic update or dim the lights using a voice command. Google Assistant and Alexa are both compatible with a wide selection of third-party products designed to promote smart living.

Here’s a real-time graph of interest (based on the number of searches worldwide over the last 12 months) comparing Amazon Alexa vs Google Home:

The technology behind the digital assistants is getting smarter by the day thanks to continuous research and development efforts by Amazon and Google. Many people find Assistant impressive because it offers a more natural experience. Google taps into the vast knowledge derived from its internet search platform to provide an intuitive experience.

As a result, Alexa has been playing catch up and it began showing significant improvements in recent years. Assistant has the ability to answer more questions than Alexa. Advanced artificial intelligence displayed by Assistant is impressive. It can answer complex questions like “When are taxes due in Australia?” The technology can even skip to the next song when the user provides an adverse comment about a track that is playing on Spotify.

Meanwhile, Alexa does not support thumbs up and down, thus spoiling the experience. On the upside, the product has its own set of strengths that users will find useful. The digital assistant allows users to take advantage of short words (wake words) to activate a device. In addition, it offers a number of apps designed to expand functionality. With the apps, users can play music on radio stations, perform guided meditations or peruse recipe books. The features are known as ‘skills’ and users have a choice of more than 25,000.

Google’s version of the ‘skills’ is available in the form of ‘actions.’ However, Assistant offers a limited number of options than Alexa. Users can choose from hundreds of actions.

How Businesses Should Adapt to Voice Search SEO

Voice search has dramatic implications on search engine marketing (SEM) and also presents a challenge to SEO experts. Unlike traditional search queries, voice search does not focus on exact keywords. Instead, users are conversational in tone. This means businesses need to respond to the dynamics of voice search by providing quick answers to user’s questions. Long-tail keywords and FAQ-type content reign supreme.

Marketers should not limit the frequently asked questions (FAQs) sections to a static list. It is important to vary the content to provide accurate and relevant answers that meet the user’s expectations. The approach is beneficial for both traditional and voice search.

The content should be optimized for mobile and voice search since a significant number of internet users connect via mobile devices. Good content performs well on mobile and desktop platforms.