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How to Write Meta Tags for Your Website:
Descriptions, Keywords, Titles and File Names

Click the < key > icon at the top of each page
Click the < key > icon at the top of each page

What are "meta tags" or "metadata" in my website?

They are a part of the HTML code which constitutes the pages of your published site. These tags are used to document certain aspects of each page. There are different kinds of meta tags, and each one has a distinctive role to play.

Learn where to easily access them in each of your site's pages and how to format them in our Tools guide, which looks at the uses and functions of the SimDif Website Editor. You will also find useful reminders if you click the "?" yellow bubble beside each field.

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Let's talk a bit more about how metadata is most likely to be perceived by Search engines and therefore how to choose the right way to write it.


From myth to reality

Meta tags are not the only Search Engine Optimization tool. If you have been told that metadata is the only, or even the main way, to be understood and referenced by search engines, this is simply not true.

The meta tags are a confirmation of your content, a reference for Google and other search engines to consider. The essential qualities of your site are already built into its content and the way you organize it, in the form of answers to the questions of your readers.

Think of meta tags as little bits of extra help you give to search engines. If your meta data fits with what Google thinks your site is about, it is a bonus in terms of being searched for and found. If the metadata does not reflect what you are actually talking about in the page it is linked to, it can have the opposite effect. 


How to add meta tags to your website 

You can access and edit all of the meta data by clicking the tag icon at the top right corner of our SimDif editor.


Some of the meta tags are visible in search results, this is also where your reader will click
Some of the meta tags are visible in search results, this is also where your reader will click

How metadata is interpreted by search engines
And how to effectively write meta tags


"Title"

The content of the meta "title" tag is what will appear at the top of your browser's window or tabs. It is important that this is an accurate reflection of your site's content, but also that it is short enough to read at the top of pages. The title and description tags are favored by search engines as they provide very good insights about the content of your website. The title tag will also appear for readers in search results. 

You could also think of the title tag as being similar to the tabs. Both guide the reader by giving him a short description of where he is on the site. Each title should be different and unique for each page of your site.


"Description"

The description (of your page) is often what your potential readers will see under the title when Google lists your site in its search results. The description should be two or three sentences that give a simple but complete description of the contents of your page. The purpose of the description is to confirm to your reader that what they have searched for is what actually awaits them when they visit your page. Google also uses your description to make this same confirmation, so you should attempt to use the most important keywords that appear in the content of your page.

Think about how readers will read a search results page in Google. They will read very quickly, scanning the titles and one or two keywords in the description. It is wise to make sure that the most important keywords come near the beginning of the description tag so that they are not missed by readers. 

You should be careful to avoid superlatives. (the best, wonderful, most, excellent, etc) are all terms that Google and readers are suspicious of.


"Keywords"

Often overrated and not a super important marker for Google. However the meta keywords can still be entered. For each page choose the 5 most significant words on your page and place them here in order of importance.

Avoid using keywords that are not used in the actual content of your page. 


"Name/address of this page"

This is not actually a meta tag, but it can be grouped here because it also helps readers and Google reference and understand your site.

  In the address of this page:

  https://write-for-the-web.simdif.com/how-to-define-meta-tags.html

  "how-to-define-meta-tags" is the name of the file

This file name should be much like the title; it needs to be a description of the content of the page, but it also needs to be as short as possible. The file name acts as both a waypoint for your readers in the address of your page (url), and a reference for Google to understand the content of your page.

  Note: Once you have a file name you should be careful in changing it. If you change the file name of any of the pages of your site, you also change its address. Links pointing towards your page will be lost. It is best to choose a file name carefully and then leave it.

  Note 2: for the first page of a site, the name of the file is always [index.html].

Help search engines understand and focus on what is important in your site
Help search engines understand and focus on what is important in your site

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Now your site is really taking shape. 
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