The Basics of Good SEO: Keywords and Meta Tags

Now you have a handle on how to write for people, but you also need to know how to effectively communicate your site’s content to search engines. This can be accomplished through the following.

Keywords and keyword research

Keywords are words or phrases people search for that relate to your topic. For example, a person wanting to buy shoes online might type any of the following into a search engine:

  • buy shoes online
  • low price shoes
  • discount shoes
  • where to buy shoes online
  • online shoe store

You want to write your content for people, of course, but remember to include a few keywords for search engines to land on. The keywords and phrases need to be included in a natural way. For example, an online shoe store might start out their copy with “Wondering where to buy shoes online?” This actually covers two of the above keywords, because the keyword buy shoes online is contained within the longer where to buy shoes online. Looking for more robust long-tail keywords that include other keywords is a great way to broaden your usage and avoid repetition.

To find good keywords, you should do keyword research with a tool like the Google Keyword Planner. This can help you find out the most popular searches so you know what keywords to work into your text. Be careful not to overdo it: keywords should only make up about 2.5% of your content, so you’re best off using just a few.

Meta tags, titles, and descriptions

Meta tags are important for both search engines and readers. The title attribute is the most important with the meta description coming in at a very close second. These serve several purposes.

  1. The title appears in the browser window (e.g. when you mouse over the tab) and is the default name used when a visitor adds the page to their bookmarks or favorites
  2. The title appears as the headline of a link on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
  3. The meta description appears as the block of text in a SERP link
  4. Depending on the user’s browser the meta description can be used elsewhere as well

Your site’s title and description can have an immense impact on your success because they are what make your link look clickable. Having a high ranking on SERPs isn’t much good if nobody clicks your link. Your title and description should both make sense and be short enough that the search engine doesn’t cut them off. Google usually allows about 70 characters including spaces before cutting off a title and appending an ellipsis (…) but this varies based on the width of the letters used. The description should be around 160 characters to avoid being cut off in the same way. If you use a lot of wide letters you’ll have less room, but thankfully several SERP Snippet Optimization Tools exist to help you preview your snippets as they’d appear on a search engine page, so you can make sure your titles and descriptions don’t get cut off.

3dcart provides an easy way to add meta tags to each of your products through the Tag Wizard available on the Meta Tags tab of each product page. The Tag Wizard is also available for categories, pages, and site content.

The next lesson will cover the additional SEO tools inside your 3dcart dashboard and how to use them.


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