In this last of my short series about “on-page search engine optimisation”, I’d like to quickly look at some of the things which don’t help you with your Google rankings.
As it happens, the meta description tag is thought to have very little effect on the position in which a page is returned. However, if the key search phrase you’re targeting for that page is included in the meta description tag, the contents of that tag will be shown as the description in Google, and what’s more, the search phrase will be emphasised in bold. So you might not get any higher, but you’ll have a more pleasing result and more people will click on it. Here’s an example: a search where our own website comes top when I last looked (please note: Google’s personalised and regional results mean you may not see the same as I do!). I hope the description shown is attractive enough to encourage clicking on it.
A tag which appears to have no effect whatsoever is the meta keywords. There’s even one obscure argument for not using the tag at all, so don’t spend any time on this one. Indeed, any “meta” tags other than description, robots and canonical can safely be ignored; all they do is add to the page download time. Similarly, careful use of properly tagged subheadings (h2, h3, etc), which is often recommended, doesn’t appear to achieve anything as far as the search engines are concerned, and nor does the wording of anchor text in internal links.
How well does your website perform against all these considerations? One way to find out is to ask us to investigate. In conjunction with one of the UK’s leading independent SEO consultants (because we like a second opinion), Business Marketing Online offers a one-off “search engine optimisation” report on your website for £400. The report will be around 15 pages long, and will highlight any areas for improvement in your company’s website, and how you might go about fixing them. We can normally produce the report in a fortnight. To order your report, call Tony Rand on 01462 489060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.