Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Assignment #1 Follow Up

Welcome authors!

It was a pleasure to peruse all your sites and see how active many of you have been in creating great sites for readers to visit and learn more.

My job, of course, is to help you improve on what you already have and for that reason I'm going to address a simple technical detail that 3 out of the 4 sites I visited could benefit from. If you belong to the 1 out of 4 who doesn't need this tip, you get a pass on this particular assignment.

Today the lesson/assignment is on meta tags.


Exactly. It's programmer speak, so who better to create a metaphor for it than Cedar Fort's own IT Manager, Bryce.

Consider your website a library. Each page should be a title of a book with a brief introduction with what the books should be about. Any search engine or customer online should be able to look at the header of their browser or in the google search results to see what your site is about.

As an example, I'm going to use Frank Cole. #1 because I know he has a good sense of humor and #2 because I know he didn't create his website and therefore won't take it personally.

Now if you google Frank's book, Hashbrown Winters, his site will show up on the first page of the google search because that is the exact address of his url. That is the ONLY reason it will show up because if you click the following link you will see how he has no meta tags and all it says over his site is the default "Welcome."


Notice all the other search results list information about both Frank and his book through their meta tags and Frank's site kind of disappears in their midst. This also plays a huge role in that if I google ANYTHING but the title, Frank's site will not show up. If I google Frank Cole's name, these are the results:


Frank isn't even on the map when I google his name, but I do find "Frank Cole Mysteries" as far as books go. If someone is looking you for you, it can be very frustrating to find the wrong Frank Cole and have to drill down page after page of google results to find the right one.

Contrast this with Preetham Grandi's search results when you google his book:


This is a word combination that has some competition (WoW and other businesses use it), but Preetham is the #1 hit and his meta tags tell you what you are clicking on in the results page.

Furthermore, when you start typing Preetham's name in, google fills the rest of his name in for you and these are the search results for Preetham Grandhi:


Again, he is #1.

Both Frank and Preetham's sites are great, but this illustrates how to use meta tags to let your sites serve their intended purpose.

So, I started this by saying that 3 out of 4 of you need to work on your meta tags. Some need to simply label their pages to be specific "titles" while others need to fill in keyword search terms. To do so you should simply need to go to the tools section of your site builder, locate the meta tag function and fill in the blanks they ask you to fill in.

Remember Bryce’s advice to name the page like a book and fill in the secondary tags like a small bio of the page. Default names for pages will be things like “Home” and “About Us.” Change “Home” to “(Your Name Here)’s Official Home Page.” Change “Contact Us” to “Email (Your Name)” or something specific to your site.

That simple.

First rule of your web site is that it should help people find you, not disappear into the crush. So your follow up assignment is to go through your meta tags, update them and then re-post your website to show that you have finished.

I promise our next assignment is more fun than this, but for now... Go! :)


  1. Frank Cole mysteries? Meta what??? I'm going to see what I can do to make sure this gets fixed. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I did not see meta tags in the tools section of blogger so I used the help function and found an article that I think may have done the trick {read: still not sure}. Any specific advice for blogger users?


  3. For blogs (especially on blogger) there should be just a simple empty box after the main text box you blog in. It should be labeled "meta tags" or just "tags." That is where you put keywords in for search engines. :)

  4. Thanks--I had been using some "labels" as they are called in blogger, but have kicked it up a notch by adding my name and actual book titles instead of the phrase "book info". Hopefully that will improve my standing with search engines.

  5. Sorry to sound so obtuse, but I am not sure what you mean by "a simple empty box after the main text box you blog in." My blog is on blogspot. Are you talking about the subject box when you post? (I don't think you are, but that is about as close as I can come at the moment to making sense of this all. Sorry...)

  6. I am an old duffer from a previous generation and am having a lot of trouble with this foreign computer language. Tonight I did get a blog, but have no idea how to get a website. Would it be possible for me to drive down to Cedar Fort, Inc. and get some help in this new technology. I mean I will need lots of help.

    Thank you very much,

    S. Ted Gashler

  7. Huh. I seem to be doing pretty well in the google department...but I have no idea why! Maybe it's the less-usual name. If it's the meta-tags, it's not on purpose...

  8. I went through and added meta tags and titles to all of the pages of my website, but it still doesn't show up in any of my google searches. When I view the page source on the site it shows the meta tags I put in...Help!

  9. Remember it takes time for google to index your site with new meta tags. Eventually they will help.


  10. Yes, Brenda. SOmetimes it can take up to 2 weeks, so don't worry about it. Check back in September and see how your ranking looks!

    As for those of you who are trying to do this for your blog, it as not as high of a priority, especially if you use something like blogger. The tools I mentioned in the main post are referring to your websites and having each page named with content summarized.

    If you are not computer savvy, perhaps someone you know is. Ask around for help (or ask your web host). This is not something you need to pay a professional to do. It is just a matter of finding the function and filling in the blanks.

  11. Thank you! Sometimes in this world of instant messaging and other conveniences, I forget that some things still take time!

  12. Oops, forgot to sign with our names, so you'd know who we are. LDS Humor Committee is Nichole Giles and Cindy Beck ... and a few others who wish to remain quietly in the background. :)

  13. Sheralyn:

    Great help. Thanks for this service.

  14. I put in meta tags when I built my site. When I google my name and/or books I am all over those pages.

    Thanks for reminding us how important meta tags are and for posting these assignments.