At one time, SEO tags, or meta tags, were the primary factor in search engine optimization.  Theoretically, the meta tags are a clear, concise list of the most important themes of your page.  This description tag contributes to the search engine ranking.  Unfortunately, because of abusive practices involving SEO use, a great many changes have occurred in the policies concerning search engine placement.  This does not mean, however that keywords have lost their importance, only that they need to be used more wisely and with greater discretion.

When creating a keyword list, scan your pre-written page or outline for the most important factors.  Make a list of the ten or fifteen most important terms you see that reflect the content of your page.  Narrow the list from the most generalized terms to the most specific ones.  If your article is on scuba diving, “scuba diving” will not place very high on the very competitive search engine indexing.  If it includes a specific location, equipment or the dangers involved, these keywords will help in your optimization.  You have now narrowed your keywords down to scuba diving off the Florida Keys, scuba diving among sharks, or scuba diving using the latest technology.

Your keyword tags should adhere to the following principles: A) your list should not contain more than ten to twenty keywords or keyword phrases.  B) When creating your list, separate the words or phrases by commas C) Do not repeat your words or phrases within the listing D) Put your most important keyword at the top or within the first sentence of your article.

Although SEO tags will have no direct impact on rankings, they do help you as a business.  The primary function of your SEO tags is to give a clear, concise statement of what you are offering.  If your meta tags match the information typed in for a search, it will be picked up quickly and efficiently by the search engines.  For this reason, it’s very important to place the most significant information at the beginning of your description.

Your most important tags are in your title and your header.  In lesser order of importance from first to last, are keywords placed in bold, italicized words or phrases and anchor text.  Another important tag includes the refresh tag, which will load before the main body of the article and can be useful in a slide show presentation, but should never be used on an optimized site, as this could cause problems with the Google search engine.  Google does recognize, however, copyright tags and meta author tags, among others.