FREE WEBINAR: An Acupuncturist’s Formula to Growing Your Practice Online

SEO: Meta Tag Myths, and the Importance of Good Content

We have a lot of people ask us about the “meta tags” when setting up and maintaining their websites. We’ve noticed there are a lot of misconceptions about how these meta tags work, and more importantly – how they affect your ranking in Google and other search engines.

What are meta tags?

Meta tags are pieces of HTML code that are added to a website’s <head> section. This information is mostly hidden from end-users viewing your website, but can provide important information to search engines and other websites about your website’s content. Some meta tags used to be very important before search engines developed complex algorithms – search engines used to rely on the webmaster telling them what a site was about using meta tags. Now, search engines are smart enough to look at the live content of your site to determine what it is about and how it should be ranked, and relies very little on the meta tags that used to be vital.

Keywords Meta Tag

<meta name="keywords" content="keywords, key words, so many useless keywords">

Why it is useless.

For years Google has ignored the keywords meta tag, and so should you.

If you were building a website in 1996, the keywords meta tag might have been important. Today, it’s basically useless.  Before the complex algorithms of modern search engines, meta keywords were used to help determine what a website was about. This was an easy way for unscrupulous webmasters to lie their way to the top of search results. A website selling ugly shoes could have added hundreds of keywords about Titanic and Monica Lewinsky or anything else that they thought was being searched for frequently to give them a boost to search results. The abuse of this meta tag led to it’s demise, and now it is pointless to spend any time on it.

What should I do instead?

The keywords in this meta tag are not seen by the end user and are not looked at by Google. Search engines look at the content of your site to determine what it is about and how it should be ranked, the same content your visitors see. Write your appropriate keywords into the content of your site and blog posts. Say things like “We provide great acupuncture in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA.” or  “Did you know that our Seattle acupuncture clinic can help with back pain and headaches?” Write quality, unique content using keywords and phrases that potential patients in your area will be searching for online. *You don’t need to bold the keywords, that’s just to illustrate the good keywords

Description Meta Tag

<meta name="description" content="This is a description of my website">

How imortant is it and what is it used for?

The description meta tag has more usefulness than the keyword tag, but there are still misconceptions about it. Pretty much the only place this meta tag will see the light of day is on search result pages on Google and other search engines. When you do a search on Google, you generally get about 10 organic results. These results have the Title of the page in Blue, then the URL of the site in green, and then the description of the site in gray.

The description within search results is about the only place your meta description will show up – however Google’s algorithm will determine if your pre-written description is better than the one that Google will auto generate based on the page’s content. It uses the webmaster-provided description about half the time. However, like the keywords meta tag Google does not use the meta description as part of it’s algorithm to determine page rank. It is purely for the end-user to read within search results.

What do I need to do?

If you have an AcuPerfect Website, these meta description tags will automatically generate for you based on the page’s content, so you won’t have to worry about writing them for each page. If you’re feeling nit-picky, you have access to override the auto generated description for each page.

Title Meta Tag

<title>The title of my website</title>

How imortant is it and what is it used for?

Of the three meta tags covered here, this one holds the most importance. The title tag is used, obviously, as the title of your page. The title tag is seen:

  • At the top of your browser window
  • Highlighted in blue in search results
  • On other people’s sites if they link to you

The title should be easy to read and relevant to both the user browsing the web and search engines indexing your site. Use good keywords, but Google warns to avoid keyword stuffing (don’t add a bunch of different spellings of a word, every city in a 100 mile radius, etc. It can be seen as spammy.)

What do I need to do?

If you have an AcuPerfect Website, you don’t need to do a thing. During your site’s setup, we configure your title tag for your business and location. Your site will automatically generate a unique title for each page on your site, an important SEO tactic.

The Importance of Good Content

If you’ve read this article, hopefully you’ve made the realization that the most important part of your site isn’t hidden away in the meta tags, but is the content on  your pages that is read by both potential patients visiting your site, and by search engines deciding how to rank your site among your competition.

One of the first things you should make sure your site has is quality, informative, search-friendly content on your home page. Write in the keywords that people will be searching for into the home page content.

We realize that you’re health care practitioners, not writers or authors, which is why AcuPerfect Websites includes dozens of pages of professionally written content, information taken from the printed brochures and education cards at Acupuncture Media Works. While this content is well written in layperson’s terms, it’s not written specifically for your practice. The solution? You have full access to edit the articles we include with your site! You can go in and tweak them to fit your style of TCM or elaborate on your specialties.

Having good content is absolutely vital to having a successful presence online, and with AcuPerfect Websites you’ll have just that.

Skip to content