Monday, May 24, 2010

Learn how to create good title tags and meta tags in Joomla articles

by Marc B. Harris

One of the most important things a developer can do to get his or her site ranked in the search engines is to develop quality meta tags. Although the Title tag is not technically a meta tag, it is unquestionably the most important item on your site that is not in the body area. The description meta tag is also very important as most search engines use this tag in combination with the text in the body copy to provide a description of your site to search engine users. The keyword tag is not nearly as important to search engines in recent years, but there are many uses for them on each of your pages. As an example, some plug-ins, like those that show related items, will use keywords, so don't forget to add these tags to all of your article sites.

In this article, I will explain how to add a title tag, a description meta tag, keyword tags, robots tags and an author tag to your Joomla articles. I will be making some assumptions as to your skill set. I'm assuming you have a current version of Joomla installed and you know how to access the administrator area.

Let's start with accessing the administrator area and going to the "Content" menu and choosing "Article Manager". Next choose an article that you would like to have the new meta tags. On the top of the page, locate the "Title" field. Enter a proper title and make sure to think about this for a while before you enter it. You should consider what somebody surfing the web would be thinking about when they are trying to locate your goods or services. A title like "Welcome to my web site" is not very good. Try and put the most important aspect of what you offer in the beginning of the title and try to keep the title under 20 words.

Next, locate the "Metadata Information" area on the right side and click on it to reveal the four fields which are "Description", "Keywords", "Robots" and "Author".

For the description, think of the best summation you can regarding the content of the page. This should be around 30 words and provide a quality definition of what the page content is about. Take your time developing this tag as portions of it can be used by the search engines to display to their visitors. A quality description tag can increase the probability that people will click on the link to your site in the search engine results pages.

Keywords are very rarely used by the search engines, however there are a few extensions to Joomla that may use them such as a "related items" module. Try and think of the most important keywords and phrases in the article to enter here.

The Robots keywords are used to tell search engine robots how to use the page. Use caution with these if you do not now how to properly configure them. Some of these tags will actually tell the search engine robot to ignore the page or to not follow any links coming off of the page.

Finally, the Author tag can be used to call attention to any name you put in it. Be cautious with using a personal name or the names of businesses unrelated to you as you might violate a copyright.

About the Author

Since 1996, Marc Harris has been a principal of a web design firm and has managed site development projects for numerous clients. Marc now works almost exclusively with Joomla and is writing articles about understanding Joomla. You can find more free Joomla video tutorials at 5minutejoomla.com.