Meta tags are the secrets behind quick searches
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries,
continuously available online since 1983
T e c h n o f i l e
blog? It's easy. Here's how, Part 2
By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2007, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2007, The Post-Standard
can't surf the Web without tripping
over a blog. You'll even come across search engines designed only for
blogs, such as Google's own site, http://blogsearch.google.com.
Last week I explained how to
create a blog using Blogger, one of the
best free blogging sites. You can find that article at the Technofile
site, which has online versions of my articles. Go to the main site at
www.technofileonline.com or the
article itself at
You'll need to keep the previous article handy if you haven't yet
created your blog. Follow the step-by-step instructions.
If you've already made your
blog on Blogger, follow along this week
while I step you through two necessary functions -- changing, or
editing, your blog, and adding special words or phrases to make your
blog easier for others to find.
Ready? Log onto your personal
blog. If you've logged on properly onto
Blogger (and Google, which runs Blogger), you should be able to open
your blog in your browser and see if just as others see it -- with one
exception: You should notice a tiny pencil icon near the bottom of the
main window. The icon is a perfect symbol for the editing function.
(Trivia fans might want to note that the world's first
personal-computer word processor was called Electric Pencil. I'm
reminded of it every time I see that pencil.)
Click the pencil icon. The
Blogger window will change to an editing
screen. At the top, you'll see three tabs -- "Posting," where you can
change the current blog post; "Settings," where you change many of the
ways your blog works, and "Template," where you can add a page element,
revise or add a short bio (about yourself, of course!) or preview what
you've done so far.
Go back to the "Settings" tab
for a moment to look at more of Blogger's
features. Under the three main tabs are eight mini-tabs. They're pretty
much self-explanatory -- spend some time with them to get used to the
concepts -- but the one you might find handiest is labeled "Email." It
allows you to update your blog by merely sending an e-mail to the
address of your choice.
(Take it from someone who's
been creating and editing Web pages for
more than a decade: Being able to update your blog by doing nothing
more than sending an e-mail is the cat's knees. Or the bee's meow. You
know what I mean.)
Let's back up a little.
When you click the pencil icon,
the first window Blogger shows you will
be the "Posting" window, using the "Edit Posts" mini-tab. At the bottom
right is a very important text-entry form. It's called "Labels for this
Don't let the term "labels"
mislead you. To Blogger they might be
labels, but to everyone else -- and, most importantly, to all the
search engines -- they are meta tags.
Meta tags -- "meta" is a geek
term for data that holds a description,
and a tag is a word or short phrase -- are the secrets behind quick
searches via Google and other search engines. It's true that Google and
the others can search without meta tags, but tags are a huge help --
especially when you want to call attention to subjects that aren't
obvious in your blog.
For example, suppose you're
writing a blog about apple pies. You'd want
to make sure that the word PIE is a meta tag, or label. And the two
words APPLE PIE. And PIE RECIPE. And such words as FLOUR, EGGS,
SHORTENING and, well, CINNAMON. (You can tell I like Apple pies.)
Or suppose you have a blog full
of pictures of Harley-Davidson
motorcycles. Pictures are not easy to index, but meta tags -- those
labels -- are a cinch. Just make labels such as HOG, HARLEY, STURGIS
and CHOPPER. (You can tell I like motorcycles, too -- and you get an
extra point if you know what the reference to Sturgis means.)
Are you catching on? Just put
tags in the "Labels for this post" field
that match the subject matter in your blog. Put a comma and a space in
between items. Don't use UPPER CASE like this -- I did it just to make
the labels stand out.
One more thing. Remember to
update your labels if you add other
subjects to your blog. The search engines will update their listings,
Oh, and Sturgis? It's the place
in South Dakota where Harley riders have a
gettogether every year.