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Our free Online Website Check checks individual web pages for possible errors and optimization potential. In a detailed overview you will receive information and suggestions for optimizing your website.
In addition to the meta elements (also: metadata or meta tags), we analyze the structure, technology and configuration of the page and determine a total score on the basis of these individual values - which enables ranking in comparison to other analyzed websites.
In this part of our small Website Check Guide we take care of the meta elements of a website.
If you want to quickly check how your website performs, you can open our Online Website Check in a new window and test your pages.
The meta elements (often, although actually called meta tags) are located in the header area of a website, i.e. in its head element.
They transmit structured data about the website to browsers and search engines. They are intended to make it easier for search engines to search websites using robots from search engines. After years of misuse by using misleading keywords and the like, search engines usually recognize quickly if the content of the metadata does not match the content of the actual page and punish these pages with a lower ranking. However, the correct use of meta elements is still important for search engine optimization (SEO).
The title tag is an important meta element for search engine optimization. It should not only contain the most important keyword of the individual website, but should also be meaningful and inviting, and not exceed the length of about 60 characters.
This sounds complicated at first, but the effort is worth it. Let's take a closer look at the individual aspects.
a) The reason for the limited length of the page title is the representation on the search result pages of e.g. Google. The available width is currently (summer 2016) limited to 600 pixels, all other characters are cut off. A width of exactly 600 pixels is of course difficult to achieve, especially since it also depends on the characters used: An "i" requires less space than an "m". The rule of thumb is about 60 characters. Most word processing programs already contain a character counter that indicates the number of characters. Our Website Check also displays the number of characters.
b) The keyword in the title of our single page not only tells the search engine immediately which topic it deals with and helps it with indexing, the user can also recognize it immediately. The title is - as already mentioned above - displayed on the search result lists. A crisply formulated title tag can attract visitors to the site - a potential that should not be given away.
The page description is also important for the SEO optimization of a website. This is the text that appears in the search results directly below the title tag and URl of the website. Also here applies: Use the most important keyword of the page, insert an appealing text and pay attention to the length. With the Description tag, the optimal length is between 110 and 156 characters, everything beyond that is cut off by a search engine such as Google. The page description should briefly describe the content of the individual page using the keyword and reflect its content. Here, too, the more inviting the text is formulated, the more often the page will be visited by users who come via Google.
Web pages called up are stored by the user's browser in the cache, the so-called browser cache. This saves loading time, as the page does not have to be reloaded completely every time. A disadvantage, however, is that the memory can possibly display data that is no longer up-to-date. The meta specification "Expires" can be used to force the data to be loaded from the original server rather than from the cache. This can be helpful if the data is changed very frequently.
Example: <meta http-equiv="expires" content="0"> forces loading from the original server.
content="O" sets the number of seconds when to load the original file from the server to 0. Alternatively, other numerical values can be used here.
However, some browsers, especially Internet Explorer, are immune to these values and still use their cache.
Web pages optimized for mobile devices require the configuration of the viewport in the header to be displayed correctly. Both the setting of fixed widths and flexible display areas are possible.
Usually the flexible setting is the better choice because the website adapts to the display width of the device.
Example for the flexible specification: <meta name=viewport content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
The meta element "robots" shows the search engine or its crawler whether the respective page may be searched and indexed. There are two possible sources of error.
a) We want the website to be searched, but in the meta tag "robots" it is set to noindex, nofollow: If the website and its subpages are not indexed despite all efforts of Google, this could be the problem.
b) The website should not be searched and indexed and the robots is set to noindex, nofollow. The error could be that other sites link to this page. In this case the noindex, nofollow statement is ignored by the search engine.
If a website is not indexed despite correct information in the "robots" tag, the reason can also be the configuration file "Robots.txt".