3 Bold Lies: You Get What You Pay For With SEO Prices

When you are unfamiliar with search engine optimization (SEO), the pricing structure can seem arbitrary. Even though it can be difficult to understand without experience, be wary of firms who seem to promise something which doesn’t quite seem right or possible at all, or at least given their SEO prices, because you get what you pay for. Let’s go over 3 bold lies told about SEO ‘black hat’ firms tell to watch out for.

1. “We Can Make Your Website Rank #1 On Google.”Organic Local Search on Google

What a load of hooey! No honest SEO firm can guarantee your website will rank #1 on any search engine, no matter the price. Google’s webmaster guidelines state very clearly to be wary of firms and consulting agencies which guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

While everyone would love to rank first, it is simply never guaranteed and never should be. In fact, reputable companies will admit outright they can’t guarantee results.

2. “We Can Fix Your SEO In 1 Month.”

The Internet is a living, breathing beast. Change is constant, with websites moving up and down in search engine rankings as users find value in their information or layout.

SEO requires constant monitoring and adjustments to strategy based on Google’s ever-changing algorithms as well as the changing needs of your customers. A firm’s first obligation is to make your online presence useful to customers and second to improve your alignment with Google’s algorithm. Search engine optimization does not happen in a vacuum; your competitors are also constantly working and improving which can place them above you in search results if you don’t keep up.

One month is a completely unrealistic timeframe to work on an SEO campaign for two reasons: 1. If you stop working on it after 1 month, you will fall behind; and, 2. One month is simply not enough time to have any sort of impact. Most work done needs 3-6 months before results can be seen. No amount of money can create long-lasting, effective search engine rankings in 1 month.

You need a firm who can work with your company for the foreseeable future and make recommendations and improvements as you go.

3. “We Use Foreign Contractors To Save You Money.”Money

While this one might not technically be a lie, it is still a terrible tactic for a good search engine optimization firm to pursue.

Yes, using foreign workers may save money in the short-run, but the quality is going to be much lower. Google’s rules change quickly and are intricate. Experience in the field as well as a strong grasp of the language surrounding SEO are paramount to executing a strategy.

You get what you pay for, and often outdated tactics will get your website penalized in the rankings by Google.

You Get What You Pay For With SEO Prices

When hiring a firm, do your homework. The second you hear one of these lies, or feel their SEO prices don’t match their promises, it’s time to start looking at other options.

Always be sure to check out a firm’s website and reviews to make sure they can do the things you are looking for.

Cohlab Digital Marketing has great reviews and tons of information about search engine optimization. If you’d like to learn about our pricing, let us know.

Google AdWord Changes Places Huge Emphasis On SEO

Until just recently, Google AdWords ads were displayed at the top and bottom, as well as the right-hand column on search engine results pages (SERP’s). The recent changes have eliminated the right-hand column ads from the SERP’s altogether, and now promote ads only at the top and bottom. Also, the number of AdWord ads displayed at the top numbered between one to three, with only 1% of SERPS showing four. However, Google has significantly increased the use four-ad blocks with the new changes. This is highly significant for AdWord advertisers because the changes actually reduce the number of ads shown in SERP’s. Before the changes, the right-hand column typically displayed eight ads on average. Because of this reduction in AdWord real estate, AdWord optimization has become critical, and it places a massive emphasis on the importance of SEO.

Why Google AdWord Changes Occurred

Google regularly makes changes to the SERP’s and the algorithm determining page rank. In fact, we just recently discussed the latest update to the algorithm known as Panda. In some cases, Google is very straightforward in sharing the purpose of their changes. Often, however, it is left up to speculation. We can be sure that Google is placing more emphasis on the importance of mobile optimization. The issue with the AdWord placement was that mobile does not support the right-hand column. By eliminating this area, Google advertising becomes standardized and uniform regardless of the device being used.

AdWord Optimization and SEO More Critical

The whole point of using Google AdWords is to drive traffic to your website and to convert visitors into customers. With a reduction in Adwords in the SERP’s, it makes the keywords used in your AdWord strategy even more important. If you have irrelevant keywords, people searching for the products or services you provide may not even see your ad. AdWords must be carefully optimized to ensure you are getting the most from your investment. In addition, SEO on your website also becomes more necessary. If your site and content are not SEO optimized, and you are not making the conversions needed to improve ROI, the use of AdWords is simply not justified. Of course, AdWord optimization and SEO were always important. These recent Google AdWord changes only made it more so.

At Cohlab, we are a Certified Google Badge Partner and fully understand AdWord strategy and the importance of SEO. It is critical that customers and prospects be targeted and provided the best message, in the best manner, at the best time, and that you fully understand and meet their needs. However, achieving this practically can be a challenging effort. That is why we work closely with you, and take the time necessary to ensure you get the most out of your efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you to generate the right message, and our strategy is proven to be exceedingly successful for our digital marketing clients.

Google’s Panda Update: It is All About Quality

Google is once again changing the game with its Google Panda update. We’ve often discussed the importance of SEO optimization being in-line with Google’s algorithm. In addition, we’ve shared the importance of having high-quality content on your website. Panda is another Google SEO algorithm update that makes this even more crucial. Google designs its algorithm to ensure that the best quality and most relevant sites for a given search term is offered in search engine results. Obviously, websites that are higher to the top of the list will have more traffic and more conversions than websites on page two or three of the results. Content is a significant driver that determines your site rank.

What Is The Panda Update and Why Should You Care?stocksnap_ivy2vg1mad

Panda is an update to the Google algorithm that is now integrated into its core SEO engine. Named for Google engineer Navneet Panda, who developed the technology to implement the algorithm, Panda is specially designed to lower the rank of websites with “low-quality” or “thin” content. Due to Panda, it is now more important than ever that your site contains content that is of the highest quality. Panda was first introduced in 2011 and is updated periodically. This latest Panda update allows websites that were previously penalized by Panda for poor content to rise to the top of the rankings once more if the website made the appropriate changes. However, the update also places more importance on quality. This means that if your site has been enjoying positive results from your organic SEO strategies if your success did not include the use of a higher-level quality in content, your traffic could see a significant drop.

How to Handle the Panda Update

If your website already uses exceptional content, you should have nothing to fear. In fact, it is likely that as poor quality sites begin dropping in rank, your site’s rank will rise. The best way to determine how Panda is affecting you is to use Google Analytics and keep an eye on your stats. However, if you know or are unsure if your site has the level of quality Google now requires, there are ways to overcome a possible drop in rank. Matt Cutts, the head of spam at Google describes the type of content the new update is looking for.

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

Given that description, you may have some work to do to freshen up the content on your website.

At Cohlab, we fully understand the importance of digital marketing through the use of quality content. It is critical that customers and prospects be targeted and provided the best message, in the best manner, at the best time, and that you fully understand their needs through solid data. Creating and delivering content of this caliber can be a challenging effort. That is why we partner with you and take the time necessary to ensure you get the most out of your efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you to generate the right message, and our strategy is proven to be exceedingly successful for our digital marketing clients.

Did you know that online reviews are becoming increasingly important? 

How To Pick Your Blog Topics – A Few Top Tips

Having a blog for your business is an invaluable addition to your overall SEO strategy. However, to generate the results you need to bolster a competitive online presence requires consistency, quality, and relevance. Consistency can be achieved relatively easily by creating a plan. Quality and relevance are not always as simple. If you are adept at writing, have someone on your team who is, or have hired a professional writer or SEO company, it will make your life a bit easier. However, it can often be challenging to come up with a topic to write about. Furthermore, if a writer or SEO firm is providing your blog content, how can you be sure that they are relevant to your target audience? Fortunately, there are some ways you can employ to help come up with topics on your own, or check on the usefulness of topics provided for you.

Does the Blog Topic Make Sense?

One of the primary purposes of a blog is to generate traffic to your site, to demonstrate your expertise in your field, and to increase conversions. Because of this, it is crucial that the topics you choose be relevant to your audience. If you are a construction company, posting blogs about the latest fashion trends will not likely do much for your traffic (or your image). Put yourself in the place of your ideal customer, consider the topic, and ask yourself if it would be relevant to your business focus.

Is It Helpful?

There is certainly a place for blog topics that are general interest pieces. For example, providing a history of your market or how your product was invented may drive traffic simply because it is interesting to read. However, most blogs really gain traction when the topic solves a problem for your reader. If you sell high-performance engine parts, perhaps a blog about how to improve gas mileage may be a wise choice. The blog post does not have to be strictly dependent on your product or service alone, but may provide a solution to a general problem that can be tied back to your product or service at the end.

Is It Fresh?

There is perhaps nothing more damaging to your blog traffic than posting topics that have been over-covered, or that provide no fresh information. Again, there is a place for recycling content and finding ideas from other blogs on the web. However, the blog should either provide the information in a better way than has been done before or should have fresh information not found on every other similar blog or website. Keep it fresh, look for ways to improve on what’s already been written, and consider ways to say it in a way that is easier or more beneficial.

Can It Lead To A Clear Call To Action?

If you were writing purely for your own enjoyment, or as a personal outlet for your creativity, you could write anything you wanted without having to consider if your audience takes action on it. For your business, however, your blog topic should provide you with the opportunity to pull it all together for your reader and prompt them with a call to action. If you cannot easily relate the content to such a call, whether it be to contact you for a consultation or purchase your product, it may prove to be a waste of effort.

Writing a successful blog for your business should be done carefully and intentionally. Following these steps and doing your research can help you leverage your blog in ways you never imagined possible. The time it takes to choose the right blog topics and craft blogs that make that sort of difference may not be a possibility. If that is the case, look for time to block out blog work in your schedule, or seek out an SEO firm or content writer that can do it for you. The investment will be well worth it and an excellent way to an exceptional ROI.

“Cohlaboration” With Cohlab

At Cohlab, we have worked closely with many businesses to help them achieve great success in their SEO efforts. Our team can help you with your blog topics, as well as provide you with comprehensive SEO and web design services that ensure you become a force in the search engine results. Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We are also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

Measuring Your SEO ROI: Digital Marketing ROI Series

In the previous article of our digital marketing ROI series, we talked about how you can measure your email marketing return on investment (ROI). We also discussed why it is a critical component in your overall digital marketing strategy for many reasons. Today, we are going to discuss the benefits of SEO, how to analyze SEO ROI in an SEO campaign, and why SEO is the key to a successful digital marketing campaign.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing solution aimed at bringing organic visibility to websites through search engine results. It is not just about creating a search engine friendly website; it is about making sites that draw an audience by having high quality, relevant, and well-presented content.  SEO is a critical marketing discipline that can bring in much traffic to your online business, but only if it is used properly.

Why Measure Your SEO ROI?

Traffic is the lifeblood of any online business success. A good SEO strategy is necessary for driving that traffic to your company’s website. The majority of this traffic will come from search engines such as Google, and Bing. However, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are also great for increasing traffic from your target audience. Measuring the success of an SEO campaign is important for determining whether the time, money, and resources allocated for a campaign is bringing in any significant returns. Calculating ROI is one of the many facets of SEO, but how is it measured?

Watch For a Rise in Organic Traffic

An increase of traffic is one of the easiest ways of measuring SEO. Google Analytics is a phenomenal tool you can use to view the changes in traffic over the course of your campaign. By looking at specific data inside of analytics you can understand what you need to watch to validate the rise in Organic Traffic.

Inside of Google Analytics, using the menu on the left, Acquisition -> Overview to see how much traffic is coming from Organic Search.  As you track more data over time, you can watch your efforts payoff as the numbers increase.

Measuring Your SEO ROI: Digital Marketing ROI Series

Monitor Inbound Links

Inbound links are important for SEO. The more your website is linked in different places on the Internet, the more visibility you’ll gain in search engines. That increased visibility will lead to better rankings and more organic traffic.

You can track your links through Google Webmaster, using the menu on the left, Search Traffic -> Links to Your Site.

Review Your Organic Rankings

The primary purpose of SEO is to increase your ranking on the major search engines for particular keywords and phrases. You want your website to be among the top results when users perform searches using keywords relevant to your service. It is a known fact that digital marketers agree; users typically only look at the first three search engine results. The further down your website is on the page, the fewer clicks you’ll get.

To get a rough understanding for your rankings, you can do the following:

  1. Inside of Google Chrome (or your favorite browser) do a private or incognito search.
  2. Do a search for a specific set of Keywords, for example “Digital Marketing St Cloud MN”.
    1. If you want to change your current location when doing a search you can click on the “Search Tools” to change your current location to another state or country.
  3. Scroll down past the ads and the local results to see where you are listed in the search results.
  4. Now, change the Keywords to various scenarios to get a rough estimation of how you are ranking*

Organic Local Search on Google

*This is only a rough estimation, many factors come into play for rankings.

Increased Revenue

Whether your website brings in revenue through ads, affiliate links or the sale of products and services, an increase in revenue is a clear indicator of the success of an SEO campaign. Monitor the revenues closely once you begin a campaign. This is the most obvious way of measuring your ROI.

Monitoring all these activities should give you a fairly confident idea of how well an SEO campaign is doing. However, it is important to remember that there is no magical formula for SEO that will work ideally for each specific company. Consistency and patience are also necessary. When working through organic SEO campaigns we have seen it take up to 9 months for terms to start ranking.

At Cohlab, we fully understand the importance of knowing your digital marketing ROI. That is why we do take the time to ensure you understand both the tangible and intangible results of your digital marketing efforts. We “cohlaborate” with you on proving out your marketing ROI, and our strategy has been greatly successful for digital marketing clients. Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. Our team would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to provide you with Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your organization’s needs.

Closing the Door! Why Is Google Cracking Down on Doorway Pages?

Last month, Google released an update regarding their position on the use of doorway pages. A doorway page is simply a website or page that is specifically designed to obtain a high rank when certain search terms are used. In short, they are created to fill the search engine ranking results with similar pages that all lead visitors to the same end point. The reason this is a problem is because, as Google explains, “doorway pages that are created solely for search engines can harm the quality of the user’s search experience.” This is because a visitor can click on a site link from their search reach a page that isn’t what they were seeking. When they go back and click a different site link, a doorway page may cause them to end up on that same unhelpful page. So, now that we know what doorway pages are, it is important to understand what specifically Google is doing and which pages or sites they are targeting.

What Google Is Doing About Doorway Pages

Google stands on its mission to provide the best and most relevant search listings to their users. Since doorway pages can jeopardize the effectiveness of this, Google has decided to take action against them. They are launching a ranking adjustment to sites their algorithm views as a doorway. In other words, doorway sites will be penalized and dropped from the first-page results. While this may not affect small individual websites, it could spell trouble for sites using sophisticated doorway strategies.

What Google Is Targeting As A Doorway Page

As with any change to their algorithm, Google is careful to protect the exact details of the ranking adjustment. However, they have provided some considerations to determine if your website or pages are at risk. First, consider If you have pages, that are specially designed to funnel visitors to your key content, rather than act as a vital contribution to a visitor’s experience. It is likely those pages will be flagged by Google. Also, if the pages focus on directly drawing traffic rather than supplying any relevant information or value, it is probably a doorway. Another way you can help limit your chance of being flagged is to consider how accessible the pages in question are from your primary site. If visiting those pages from your site, instead of just finding your primary site through them, is challenging, you may also experience a sudden drop from the first page.

For Every Door Closed, Another Opens

If doorway traffic was a key driver of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, if you desire continued success you need a new method. Fortunately, page one rankings are possible with the use of organic SEO initiatives that put your website on top naturally, without the use of tactics that Google disapproves. An experienced and professional SEO website design firm can help you overcome these changes.

Wondering how your digital marketing efforts are doing? Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We are also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

Google using schema.org tags to highlight events in search

~Recent Google Update

Google has now expanded the use of Schema.org tags and created a tool to check your website to see if there are any errors.  Here are 2 links that Google has created.

Structured Data Testing Tool

Prototype and test your markup

Knowledge Card

In March of 2015, Google made a change in how they display entertainment and events in their search results. Before the change, if someone searched for his or her favorite band, Google would often display a knowledge graph panel that presented a lot of great details about them. Details like the names of group members and upcoming concert dates appeared with clickable links for additional information. For Google, in their ongoing effort to provide the most accurate and relevant information possible, instead of providing information from various sources, they began providing information directly from the band’s website.

Musicians, comedians, and other entertainers could have their events shown to Google users with details about them and information on where and how they can purchase tickets. This great feature provides an exceptional way for entertainers to advertize their events, but also a super way for fans to learn more about them. However, in order to use this feature, it is the responsibility of the entertainer or their webmaster to make sure they have the correct schema.org markup tags on their website. If not, Google will not recognize and display their information.

About Schema.org Tags

You may be familiar with HTML tags that used on web pages that guide the web browser in the best way to display the information in the tag. The problem is that the browser may misinterpret HTML tags. A good example of this related to how browsers interpret HTML tags regarding dates. Because there are many different formats to display a date, the HTML tag may not display it as you’d like. The schema project is a collaboration between the major search engines to standardize the structure of the markup. Schema microdata helps to define what something is and how it to handle it. The use of schema microdata can help your SEO strategy because it has the likelihood of increasing visibility, including event information for entertainers.

How to Add Your Information with Schema.org

Schema is considered a best practice for SEO and a requirement under the new Google rules for their knowledge graph panels. That does not imply there is not some level work needed to do so. Fortunately, Google has provided comprehensive information that will assist webmasters and entertainers to appear in the feature. If you are promoting your event and would like Google to highlight information from your website, adding the schema microdata can provide a tremendous boost to your potential audience. After all, isn’t it more fun to entertain a full-house?

Wondering how your digital marketing efforts are doing? Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We are also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

5 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Websites You Can Use All Year Long

After months of cold temperatures and gray skies, the thermometer is finally beginning to rise and the sun is once again showing its cheerful face. As we recover from our annual bout of cabin fever and begin to feel the energy and motivation that spring often brings, we often look for ways to do some much needed spring cleaning. However one thing many people miss is the spring cleaning that may be needed on their website. Just like our houses and cars, after a time they need a little freshening up, and spring is a wonderful time to make it happen. Here are the top 5 tips to give your website a spring makeover.

# 1 – Scrub Your Website Content:

Content is the lifeblood of your website and is one of your websites most important attributes. It is a key component that will generate traffic and increase the amount of time people are interacting with your brand. If you have older content that should stay on your site, consider freshening it up with a new structure. Perhaps change the titles to something a bit more interesting, or include updated statistics and information. Also, make sure there are no broken links. Another project could be to add links within content that is the least visited to help traffic. Or, simply add content that is fresh and relevant to provide something new to drive people to your site.

# 2 – Sweep Your Website Design:

If your website is looking a little tired and outdated, it may be time for a bit of design rehabilitation. This type of website spring cleaning may require a bit more thought and effort, but it can be invaluable to your digital marketing efforts. Imagine yourself as a visitor to your own site and think about if the information seems well organized. Are the pages are easy to navigate? Consider the message your website is providing visitors, and determine if there are any small adjustments you can make so it is more inviting and interesting.

# 3 – Dust Your Details:

It’s often the little details that people notice about your website that seem the most unprofessional. Check out things like your copyright date in the footer, the events on your calendar page, the staff on your about us page, or the contact information. Make sure everything is current. You might also want to read through your content, or have another set of eyes do it to find any grammar or punctuation issues.

# 4 – Tidy Up Your Website Calls to Action:

Websites serve many purposes. One is for marketing and brand recognition, but another is to prompt people to take action. To really move people to take the action you are shooting for, spend some time thinking about how well your call to actions are crafted. Make sure they are very clear and easy to find. Think about if they are easily shared to social media. If you have been wondering why your call to action is ineffective, it may be it just needs a ten-minute tidy.

# 5 – Shake Out Your Website SEO:

Search Engine Optimization is pretty important, that is if you hope people will find your website. It’s a good idea to take some time to review your SEO and make sure it is clean and polished. First take a peek at your analytics and use it to determine your best traffic drivers, and also any errors that visitors may be running into. Also important, think about how you are using social media. Add links to share content on your various platforms. Consider doing some guest blogs. Review your personal and professional contacts and think about who may benefit from your content. In short, seek out new ways to drive traffic and expand your traffic sources.

Make Your Website Shine Year Round

It’s always refreshing to spend some time doing a little spring cleaning. And while the warmth and brightness of spring is a good reminder to do a little freshening up, the truth is that these same tips to tidy up your website are great things to consider any time of the year. Efforts you make with your web presence today can bring excellent advantages for a long time to come.

Wondering how you are doing? Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website rank compares to others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

 

3 Tips to Get the Most from URL Shorteners | Cohlab Digital Marketing

URL shortening is not new; in fact it has been around for many years. And while some may argue reasons why a small business should not use them, they can’t argue that there are some truly great benefits on the pro side. A URL shortener is a service that takes a long and messy looking URL and shortens it into a small and clean looking address. While this in itself can provide some obvious benefits, there are ways a small business can take the use of a URL shortener to the next level. Here are three important tips to get the most out of your URL shorteners.

What URL Shorteners Should I Use?

We recommend two URL shortening services for small business applications. The first is Google’s own Goo.gl. There are several benefits to using Goo.gl. First, people trust Google. Because a shortened URL provides little detail on what it points to, some can be leery. Knowing that Google is behind it and that they remove short URL’s used in spamming, they may not think twice. Also, Goo.gl offers some great analytics tools and is also fabulously easy to use.

Another great service is called Bit.ly. Like Goo.gl, Bit.ly is also a powerful analytic tracker with a full functioning dashboard to make things very easy and understandable. Also with Bit.ly, you are able to create branded short domains so that your short links are clearly recognized as coming from your company. Whichever platform you choose, it’s always good to use your short links wisely to get the most out of them.

Pay attention to your analytics

One of the best uses for shortened URL’s is the ability to better analyze your statistics. This is especially true for your social media. In fact with Bit.ly, you can even have a different short link for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn that points to the same content, and find which social media platform performs better. It can provide invaluable information about your audience and make your marketing efforts significantly more effective.

Use them in unique ways

Shortened URL’s are great for online marketing. Just don’t overlook ways in which they could be useful for traditional marketing as well. A great example would be to use alternate short links on different marketing materials to see which garner the most response. They are also great for things like billboards or signs so you can match specific content with an easy to remember address. Using a little creativity can make them go a long way for you.

Target Your Marketing

Shortened URL’s make it exceptionally easy to track click-through rates, and even determine in which areas you are finding the most response. This helps you to segment your audience and target the right people based on how they interact with your brand.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your digital marketing efforts compare with others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.

Meta Tags That Google Recognizes

In our article titled Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Keywords Meta Tag, we discussed the reasons why you should stop focusing on keywords meta tags. Google decided that because of widespread misuse, they would no longer be a focus. Instead, other on-page and off-page optimization techniques should be used that will have a real impact on ranking. And, while keywords meta tags may no longer be of use, there are other types of meta tags that you should continue using that are recognized by Google.  The below list is not exhaustive however it does cover all of the meta tags recognized by Google, any meta tags not recognized by Google have been ignored.

Meta tags are added to the <head> section of the HTML page and typically look like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=”en”>

<head>

<meta charset=”utf-8″>

<meta http-equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”IE=Edge,chrome=1″>  <meta name=”description” content=”Organize anything, together. Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, know what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process.”>

<title>Trello</title>

Google Recognized Meta Tags

The following list includes the current Google recognized meta tags.

  • Description: <meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />
  • Title: <title>The Title of the Page</title>
  • Robots: <meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” /> and Googlebot: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />
    • “noindex”
    • “nofollow”
    • “nosnippet”
    • “noodp”
    • “noarchive”
    • “unavailable_after:[date]”
    • “noimageindex”
    • “none”
  • No Site Link: <meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox” />
  • No Translate: <meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />
  • Google Verification: <meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />
  • Content Type: <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” /> and Character Set: <meta charset=”…” >
  • Refresh (Redirect): <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />

Google Recognized Meta Tag Descriptions

<meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />

Description meta tags provide a short description of the page, and should be unique for each page.  A readable tag that contains important keywords and entices the searcher to click on your link is the goal. They can be any length; however typically will work best at 160 to 170 characters long. Anything longer will likely be truncated by the search engine so it is important to write quality description meta tags.

<title>The Title of the Page</title>

The title tag is not actually a Meta tag, however it is listed here because the title tag is most often used in conjunction with the Meta Descriptions. Like the description, the title is important because it will likely be shown as the page title in search results just above the description when searchers are provided their results. Read more about Google recognized meta descriptions and titles.

<meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” />

<meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />

It is the robots meta tags that directs how the search engine crawling and indexing behaves. Above you see two examples. The “robots” meta tag is for all search engines while the “googlebot” tag is Google specific. By default, the values are “index, follow” which is the same as “all”. They do not need to be specified, however there are other values that must be added to the tag. If you are using multiple tags, they can be separated by a comma as shown in the above example =”…, …”. The following list of values are used to modify search engine behavior.

  • noindex” – The page will not be indexed.
  • nofollow” – The links from this page will not be followed.
  • nosnippet” – A snippet will not be shown in the search results. In other words, the page will be removed from all search results.
  • noodp” – The alternate description from the ODP/DMOZ will not be used.
  • noarchive” – A cached link for the page will not be shown.
  • unavailable_after:[date]” – Allows you to set a date to end crawling and indexing.
  • noimageindex” – An image that appears will not show your page as the referring page.
  • “none” – This is used to apply both “noindex” and “nofollow”.

<meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox” />

The site links search box is sometimes displayed for specific websites, as well as other site specific links. Using this meta tag will stop Google from showing this box for your site.

<meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />

In some cases, the language your website uses is not likely to be the language the searcher would like it to be. When it is determined that this is likely the case, Google will place a translate link in the search results. While this is a great way to broaden your reach, there are sometimes scenarios when this is not preferred. In those cases, this meta tag will remove the translation link and any translation provided by Google.

<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />

Including this tag on the main or top page of your website allows you to verify ownership of it through Google Webmaster Tools. Google will provide you the input data for “name” and “content”. The site verification tag must match what is provided exactly and is case sensitive. Your site will then be considered “Google Verified”.

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” />

<meta charset=”…” >

A site’s content type and character set are defined using these meta tags. It’s important to note that the content type value should be surrounded by quotes. Failure to do so may cause the character set to be misinterpreted. It’s also recommended by Google to use Unicode/UTF-8 when it’s possible.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />

In some cases, you may want a user to be redirected to another page or site after a set amount of time. This meta tag allows simple way to do this. The caution is that not all browser programs support this code and confusion can result. It is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium that this is not the best meta tag to use. Google instead recommends using a server-side 301 redirect in its place.  If your site is built in WordPress we recommend the Simple 301 Redirects plugin.

The Importance of A/B Testing Your Tags

Description and Title Meta tags should undergo a/b testing. If you are unfamiliar with the process, a/b testing (also called split testing & multi-variant testing) is a method of comparing two different versions of a web page to see which one performs better. For testing tags, you would simply post two separate versions of the same page, but using a different set of tags. Then, both pages go live and are shown to similar visitors over the same time period. Using your analytics, the two pages are compared to see which version has a better conversion or click-through rate. By testing your tags, it allows you to confirm the success of any new design or change to your webpage. Instead of simply guessing and hoping that your tags will bring success, a/b testing will prove what is performing and allow you to make decisions about any code changes with actual data.

Other Meta Tags

There are many different meta tags that are used and the level of helpfulness they provide is debated. Below is a short list of a few types of meta tags that can be used.

  • Authorship markup meta tags that provide information about the author of your content can also help with your rank. Google is ranking content from authors they decide are reliable sources.
  • Social meta tags including open graph tags can help you gain an edge in the growing world of social media. Using the various tags can help grab attention and gain valuable clicks, and can even optimize how your content will appear in an individual’s social media timeline.

Professional Meta Tags and SEO

With so many changes that occur in SEO, partnering with an experienced and professional digital marketing firm can be a huge help. Many of us are not as in-tune to the trends, nor do we have the experience and knowledge to include meta tags in our web pages effectively. This makes Finding the right SEO company especially important. At Cohlab, we pride ourselves on being on the cutting edge of SEO and are dedicated to ensuring our clients experience real success.

Use our complimentary Digital Marketing Scorecard to gain valuable insight on how your website compares to others. We’re also glad to answer any questions you may have and provide Cohlaborative digital marketing solutions to meet your company’s needs.