Getting search engines to take notice of your website is one of the most important areas of eCommerce to master. Without mastering the tactics involved, you’re leaving your chance at success largely to luck. While there are many factors to consider when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), one that deserves its own article is meta tag descriptions. If you aren’t handling these correctly, you’re losing business.
Meta tag descriptions are copy that is only seen by search engines, for the most part. Search engines read your site just like customers do, albeit with a different perspective. As a search engine can’t “see” your website like people do, you need to use meta tags to explain to it what’s going on.
So the first mistake is simply not using meta tags. Despite how powerful they are, many people leave them out altogether. They don’t do it on purpose, of course. With the popularity of CMSs like WordPress, though, many people are handling design on their own and just don’t understand that they need to help search engines get a feel for what their site is about.
Fortunately, most people know meta tags are important. Unfortunately, they take them as an opportunity to use lackluster SEO tactics like keyword stuffing. After all, they think, it’s not like their customers are really reading the tags. So they’ll write for Google or Bing by just slamming a bunch of keywords together.
There are a few problems here. For one, customers will read the title of your website and the description you provide for it. While it’s important to include keywords and get them as far to the left of your copy as possible (search engines read left to right and prioritize words as they come to them), potential customers will recognize spammy language in their search engine results. Secondly, if you still think keyword stuffing works—ever—you have a long way to go. Search engines haven’t fallen for that in years.
Again, this doesn’t mean no keywords whatsoever. That’s another typical mistake. Some people have become so afraid of suffering a search engine’s wrath for keyword stuffing that they overcompensate by ditching them altogether. Any keywords or phrases that you include in your meta tags will be bolded when customers look for them, meaning they’ll clearly stand out. Don’t throw this advantage away.
Meta tags are extremely helpful when used correctly. Be sure you’re not making the above mistakes and you stand a good chance of putting them to the best possible use.