Meta Tag Tips and Tricks for Search Engine Optimization

I teach clients about meta tags in one of my lessons so I thought I’d write out a few of the basics to use as a checklist. In the Search Engine Optimization world, there are many different opinions about what’s the “right way”. My good friend Janet Meiners did an article about the Top 10 SEO Factors, of which I agree with 100%.  These are guidelines I try to follow on all my sites.

On-site optimization, what we to on our site to make it search engine friendly, is only a part of getting the right traffic to your site. But if you do it correctly, it can really help you get out of the Google “sand box”.

Here are the tips:

Meta Tag Titles

  • 6-10 words maximum
  • Minimal keyword repetition
  • No domain name
  • Use keyword phrases that you want people to use to find you in a search engine
  • Use “byer phrases” instead of “browser phrases”
  • Every page of a website can have its own unique meta tags

Meta Tag Descriptions

  • 1-3 Sentences
  • Keyword repetition recommended
  • Explain what the page is about

Meta Tag Keywords

  • 25-30 words separated by commas
  • keyword repetition is okay
  • make sure the words relate to the page you’re marketing

Here are my meta tags (title, description, keywords) for my home page at

Title: Clogging shoes | Dance Bags | Capezio dancewear

Description: Online clogging store with new and used clogging shoes, taps, dance bags, capezio dance wear and other clog dancing information.

Keywords: clogging, clogging dance shoes, dance bags, capezio dancewear, taps, clogging steps, clogging shoe supplier, history, clogging blog, clogg dance, clogging dance team specials, what is clogging, clogging shoe distributor, costume bag

Hope this helps and gives you a picture of how your meta tags can look on your pages. Remember, we want to customize the meta tags for all pages, especially the ones we want to be found in search engines. I personally don’t waist a ton of time on the about us or contact us page.

If you want more in-depth information, this SEO book is excellent:



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70 Replies to “Meta Tag Tips and Tricks for Search Engine Optimization”

  1. Very good suggestions there. However, I prefer the description to be as natural as possible, as this is what is displayed to the searchers in Google results. And I prefer not repeating the keywords or phrases in Keywords tag and I prefer not using any commas to separate them. I just list them in order of their importance.

  2. Hey Nate, This is just what I needed today as one of our customers is about to set up an affiliate site to sell our products. The only question I have is about the 6-10 keyword listing. I have found that limiting it to only 5 keywords seems to work better. Also, limiting the description to 155 characters or less seems to benefit us as well. Our traffic has tripled over the past year. Business is booming!!! Thank you for getting us started in ’07. August was our 4th anniversary, and every year gets better.

    1. Thanks for the comment Cliff! Great to hear from you. I’m glad things have really picked up.

      In regards to title tags, 6-10 words in kind of an overall viewpoint. Google gives us 65 characters of space, all of which you don’t have to use up. I’d rather you add more pages with new keyword focuses than try to stuff phrases in one title tag.

      I generally do 1 or 2 sentences max now and try to make the content in descriptions inviting – like sales copy almost.

      Great to stay in touch!

  3. Nate,

    I thought I was pretty clued up when it comes to keywords and phrases until I read this blog. I hadn’t thought about the buyer versus browser phrases but can see now what difference this can make in the conversion rate. I will go through my whole site and rewrite all the keywords and the text and look forward to the result, which I’m sure will show.

    Thanks for these excellent tips!

  4. This is a great review of these three crucial elements. I think they say it takes like 7 times to hear/see information before you are able to really internalize and absorb it. I think I am starting to get it! I think it has helped me that I have done these with the products on my website. It was encouraging to see Aaron Wall’s book, here, as well. In some of my independent research, I came across this book as well as a wealth of information that Aaron has been so kind to share. It’s reassuring to know that I did actually locate a quality resource for SEO.

  5. I have worked with 2 website designers and have spent thousands of dollars developing websites in the past and not once did I ever here anything about meta tags of any kind. I always wondered how websites got to the top of the list and always thought you had to pay big bucks for it. I am so happy to find out that it is basically free after a new site is developed and that you have control over it. Thanks so much for opening my eyes! Thanks Nate!

  6. Other sites don’t seem to use all three ways of promoting their sites. Don’t tell our competitiors!.

    Thanks for the tips.

  7. I can’t wait to build a website from the ground up utilizing all of the best ways to get my product out there. It is so nice to have Nate to work with and really feel like he knows what he is doing and that I am in good hands!

  8. Nate,

    You’ve entered me into a brand new world — the world of doing business on the www. I know my way around my field pretty well — but to present that to a digital marketplace requires one to enter into a “digital community” that require a different set of eyes to “see how things are done here”.

    This article was beyond MEGA good it was META good.

  9. This is a great article; copied and printed the meta tag info to have on hand, however an idea I am not readily picking up. Of course, will keep working on it. As always, thanks.

  10. Hi Nate
    Using your example of Clog on helps clarify the usage of meta tags. It is like learning a new language to me . I am starting to catch on. Are meta tags one more thing that you continually keep refining as your web site matures?

  11. Without Nate’s perfecting the learning process for meta tags and sharing his knowledge, we would be nowhere! Time to get busy!

    1. is my “baby” and is proof that ANY idea can work if you’re excited and determined to MAKE IT WORK! Hope the tips helped you “see” what meta tags are and how they separate your website from the competition.

  12. Pingback: Ecommerce Coaching » 12.10.08 DL Podcast - 3 Investments You Have to Make
    1. Yes sir – some phrases may have “great numbers” but if the phrase is for a browser looking for free info, how’s it going to help you?

      Granted, the more traffic we get the better but it helps if this traffic has their credit card ready to make a purchase :).

      Thanks for the comment!

    1. Glad you liked it Shar – I hope you’re practicing it with your blog posts and website. Remember, keyword research is the primary part of all this stuff: with good keyword usage, meta tags make effective search engine placement a lot easier.

  13. Nate, Thanks so much for all of your helpful tips on how to be most effective and generate the maximum traffic for our website. Your examples really simplify things and make them become more doable.

    1. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard from you – I hope things are going well. How are sales? Are you using meta tags to get better placement for your specific keyword phrases? Catch up with me via email!

  14. Thanks for sharing these tips in an easy way to understand. This is a new world for me, that this helps make it not so scary.

  15. I can understand the info being given here, but do not know how to relate it to my trial site as for as page titles and subtitles.

  16. Nate,
    Thanks for letting me look over your shoulder and see how you set up your meta tags. This is so helpful. It has given me more ideas for my own tags.

    Don holt

      1. Hi Nate,
        Sorry it’s been so long since I contacted you. Sort of got bogged down trying to get online business running and got discouraged. Ready to get back on track. However, am looking at eproducts that don’t have to be packaged and shipped, affiliate programs, and some jv’s. I guess I need to get back on the Prosper site and see what’s available to help me go this route, plus review the printed material on this subject. Anyway, thanks for giving me the jumpstart I needed.
        God bless,

  17. Thank you Nate for using the examples from your own site, that helps make everything so much clearer. I am going to print this out and go check on my Meta tags. Hopefully this will help improve my traffic! Thanks again.

  18. Nate,
    After reading this article, I googled a key phrase I’d like to use on my site. I saw a competing site with the very same title as I would like to use. Because of the info provided in the article, I was able to see how I could get an edge by using more key words in the description. Correct knowledge IS power! Thanks.

  19. Thanks, this helps weed out the big list of keywords and phrases and puts the
    winners in their proper place. Thanks again for letting me piggyback on your homework.

  20. I honestly think that this information maid my life so much easier, helping me to understand the keyword searching for my new website.

  21. Good advice & thanks Nate for all the good tips. The biggest theme I come away with is “Good Old Horse Sense” & palin common sense. You help keep from clouding the issues by over complicating the use of meta tags & keywords.

  22. Thanks for the tips Nate. I will go through my tags and see how I can improve them. I definately want my site to be search engine friendly 🙂

  23. Thanks for the info. Nate. The descriptions of your meta tags on your site really explained it for me. Now I know how to prepare my meta tags for my site. Thanks alot Nate Louie Z.

  24. Thank you Nate for the Tips and Tricks for metags. I think you are finally
    “unclogging” my brain because this is starting to sink in. There are 3 tips to making your metags for each of your web pages and they are titles,
    descriptions and keywords each one has it’s own bullets to show you how
    to set them up. Very useful info.
    Laverne Romines

  25. This is very helpful in understanding how things are linked together from your own site to a search engine. Having examples to compare from helps me know what I should use for my own website.

  26. Thanks for the great info again Nate. This is a great reminder for those of us who got a little off track with the meta tags. You did a great job using you web site as an example. Thanks again.

  27. thanks for the check list Nate I will print this page and put it on my cork board above my desk as a constant reminder of how to create positive seo using meta tags.

  28. This is definitely helpful! What I need to do now is narrow my ideas down a little. I was thinking any and all golf equipment. Maybe a smaller niche would be better?

  29. Never having heard of meta tags before this is all new to me which I will put to good use when putting blogs on my site.
    I appreciate the help you have given me nate, look forward to speaking to you soon.


  30. I am glad to know we have a reference to use as a guide for this aspect of the learning process. Thank you for using your site as a sample. It helps to see the application of what we discussed. Thanks

  31. Being novices in this industry we found meta tags very confusing and we are learning as we go. This short simple guide explained a lot and kept us on track. Like Gina, we are very grateful for people like you Nate who are willing to share their knowledge and help people like us enter this industry. THANKYOU!

  32. There is so much information and links to more information which has links to even more information. I am overwhelmed….Thank goodness for the internet,
    a world of knowledge at your fingertips. Most of all I am very grateful for people like you, Nate who so willingly share this knowledge.

  33. This is what I’m working on now, I printed these tips and pinned them up so I can use it as a guide. Some of your recommended reads were helpful too!

  34. This is an article that motivates to read the book, THE SEO BOOK,
    for a novice this is not an easy topic, but put it this way is easy to grab the
    concept, and at the same time to read more about it.

    Good idea to put your own web suate as an example
    Good article Nate,

    Rene G.

  35. This is helpful for me. Using your own site as an example really makes it easier for me to understand. This is all new to me and at times it becomes overwhelming. Thanks!

  36. Nate,
    Thanks for the info and links! For those of us without website backgrounds, this subject can be very confusing. Your info is easy to understand and helps a lot.