Get your site found on the web: about META tags
Your site content is what matters to your site visitors, so adding it in quantity – whilst ensuring it’s of the best quality – is vital: you can’t make a website and ensure it appeals to your potential audience without it. But going to all that effort to create a website and to fill it with content is a pointless exercise if search engines don’t know it exists.
Link building is one of the steps to ensure your site’s visibility in search engine results, but it’s also important to understand how search engines view your site code, and what you can do to optimize it.
A few words about META tags
Every website contains a lot of information, no matter how much content it has. Some of that information isn’t directly visible on your website, and you can usually only see it by viewing the page source code for your site.
Parts of a website’s hidden page code tell web browsers how to display your page content. Search engines use other parts of it to find out important information about your site, like its title and description. This type of descriptive information is usually identified in the page code by labels called META tags, and each META tag label corresponds to a different type of information about your site. Search engines use these tags to extract important details about your site, and to generate the display text for your site on search results pages.
If you use an external site or service to analyze your site or its visitor traffic, they’ll sometimes need you to prove you’re authorized to access information about your site, by adding a verification code to your site’s “head” or “header” zone. This kind of information is added using META tags, so it can be identified and read by external tools whilst remaining invisible to your site visitors. Third-party tools or sites use this META information to make sure you are the webmaster of the site you’re working on, and are authorized to link those tools to your site.
One of the best tools for gathering and analyzing detailed information about your website’s visitors is Google Analytics. It’s a good idea to use Analytics if you need detailed information about your site visitors, such as where they come from, and the keywords they use to find your site, as you can filter and cross-reference visitor information automatically.
If you decide to use Google Analytics, you’ll need to add a META tag to your site. This tag will contain a tracking code to prove you’re authorized to gather visitor information, and to enable Google to associate statistical information about your website with your Analytics account. You can add your Analytics tracking code to the Marketing > Statistics > Google Analytics menu (you’ll find more information about using Analytics with your website, and how to locate your site tracking code, in the site manager).
We’ll take a closer look at the most important site META tags – and how to go about editing them correctly using free website builder tools – in the next article.