GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/2/09 3:28 p.m.

Thread from 2009:

 

I know there are a few web devs in here, help me out please... SEO needs to be done on a site I made (powered by a mostly-custom CMS I wrote). I didn't add support for meta keywords, because my research indicates that using them to boost site rankings is about as effective as using flame vinyls and Type-R stickers to make a car go faster (I've gathered some links to back this up). Content optimization and index pages seem to be the best methods nowadays. The CMS also generates a shiny new XML sitemap. Today the guy at the SEO company sends an email to me and my boss complaining about the lack of this functionality that's "present in all modern CMS systems" (not that he's wrong on that point, but the tone is pissy). He doesn't know if I built the CMS, but the real point is that it's odd that he wants to use meta keywords in 2009. I could add support for meta keywords in just a few minutes and keep the process moving along for the sake of keeping it off my desk, but I'm concerned that we're spending money on SEO using methods that are of questionable effect at best. There isn't some long line of bureaucracy forcing us to continue down this route - I could make an argument to go with a different company if we need to. Before I raise a stink (while my boss is out of town at that) is there any good case for using meta tags these days? I'm no SEO expert but I've done a fair bit of research, and it seems that they're basically being phased out of use.

InigoMontoya
InigoMontoya Reader
6/2/09 6:44 p.m.

It depends on if you are only working with SEO via Google, they have pretty much phased it out. However there are still some of the smaller ones out there that do still pull metatags. I have seen results using good title tags if you do not have them in there as well.

Back linking or an RSS feed can help out with getting spidered more often from what I have seen.

I don't profess to be even close to an expert on the subject, but I do work for a large domain registrar and do see quite a few sites that come across my computer.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
6/3/09 7:28 a.m.

Short version: The guy wants to sell you on meta tags because that's what SEO companies do. For the most part, they're snake oil salesmen. About a million things are more important than meta tags.

Long version: for the sake of sanity, we're just talking about the meta keywords and description tags here, and we're going to pretend all the other meta tags, the dublin core (dc) tags, and everything else but keywords and description don't exist...

Nobody of any importance whatsoever looks a the keywords meta tag anymore. It was spammed way too much and became irrelevant at least 5 or 6 years ago. Even then, it was only good for a trickle of extra traffic from Yahoo and MS. Google's ignored it for years.

The description meta tag is also pretty much useless for SEO, although Google DOES look at it and will use it for the page summary sometimes. I presume if it can't find a summary it likes elsewhere. I've seen no indication it has any bearing on the results, though.

I'll go one step further than Inigo.. Title tags are HUGELY important. Insanely important. The order, the length, the words in them, all have a HUGE bearing on SE results. Probably the single biggest thing most people can do to improve their results.

Your shiny XML sitemap is in the proper sitemap format, right? And you're submitting it to Google, Yahoo, etc? That seems to make quite a difference, especially for pages that aren't in the index yet.

Google Webmaster Tools is really nice, too, especially for spotting problems.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/3/09 7:58 a.m.
Tim Baxter wrote: Short version: The guy wants to sell you on meta tags because that's what SEO companies do. For the most part, they're snake oil salesmen. About a million things are more important than meta tags. Long version: for the sake of sanity, we're just talking about the meta keywords and description tags here, and we're going to pretend all the other meta tags, the dublin core (dc) tags, and everything else but keywords and description don't exist... Nobody of any importance whatsoever looks a the keywords meta tag anymore. It was spammed way too much and became irrelevant at least 5 or 6 years ago. Even then, it was only good for a trickle of extra traffic from Yahoo and MS. Google's ignored it for years. The description meta tag is also pretty much useless for SEO, although Google DOES look at it and will use it for the page summary sometimes. I presume if it can't find a summary it likes elsewhere. I've seen no indication it has any bearing on the results, though. I'll go one step further than Inigo.. Title tags are HUGELY important. Insanely important. The order, the length, the words in them, all have a HUGE bearing on SE results. Probably the single biggest thing most people can do to improve their results. Your shiny XML sitemap is in the proper sitemap format, right? And you're submitting it to Google, Yahoo, etc? That seems to make quite a difference, especially for pages that aren't in the index yet. Google Webmaster Tools is really nice, too, especially for spotting problems.

Thanks guys.

Yep the sitemap is in the right format, character encoding and all. I haven't pinged Google, Yahoo etc. with our XML sitemap yet because we were waiting for the SEO to be done first...only to find that the guy seems to have totally overlooked it.

I know SEO companies have a nasty and often well-deserved snake oil reputation but I tried to give the benefit of the doubt...This company's "phase 1" involves nothing but title and meta tag optimization.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
6/3/09 8:01 a.m.

The sitemap is going to do a lot more for you than messing around with keywords.

If it's a new site (or if a bunch or URLs have changed on an existing site), make sure your boss knows about the Google sandbox, and it may be months before you see much of any action from them.

Carrera30
Carrera30 New Reader
6/3/09 6:18 p.m.

Content is still king anyway. It's no longer an "if you build it they will come" world. You need to give 'em a reason to come, and come back. Quality index-able content will go about as far as any SEO snake oil most companies are trying to sell you.

There are so many factors involved, that no one thing is going to work anymore. You've got to focus on your content, do the site map, and clean up your url strings so that your stuff can get indexed.

I brought a site that had been around for years from not even found under it's own brand name, to #1 under the brand and #6 under it's main selling topic in 2 weeks by fixing lousy url strings and useless functionality that prevented hundreds of pages of content from being indexed.

Not so much rocket science as common sense!

InigoMontoya
InigoMontoya Reader
6/3/09 8:29 p.m.

Thanks for elaborating on that Tim, since you dieal more with the design aspect I was hoping that you would chime in. I get to fix people's email and on occasion get to talk about SEO.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
10/30/18 5:32 a.m.

Wonder if this canoe sails to the Caribbean...

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