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Meta Tags – Title, Description and Keywords

Meta Tags – Title, Description and Keywords

Recently in the forum somebody asked about meta tags and how they work in AOM. So it seemed like a good topic to cover this time round.

The term Meta commonly means ‘about’ or ‘beyond’. In HTML, a Metatag is a directive in a web page that is located in the < head > section, and contains information for a web browser or spider (also known as a ‘bot’). Usually the information in a meta tag is not seen directly by someone surfing the web, although it has an indirect influence on a web page.

As far as Associate-O-Matic is concerned, there are three main meta tags:

  • Meta Description – A description of your site
  • Meta Keywords – Keywords used for your site
  • Title – The site name, etc. seen in the top title bar of your web browser

The last is not strictly speaking, a meta tag, but the attributes of all three are treated the same in the AOM control panel, so we will include it here. Conversely, there are other meta tags besides these, but as they are not included in AOM, they will not be discussed here. Google is the best place to look if you want more information on other metatags.

ttag1Each of the meta sections,  (Meta Description, Meta Keywords, Titles) is contained in a separate tab on the control panel. These are then broken down into several areas like the one pictured above.  The green box describes a corresponding area of your AOM site, such as the Title description of your Home Page (Title Home). There is then a description, followed by a list of variables. Finally a box where the desired information is placed. Note that all the boxes will have default values.

The values are shown in curly brackets {like this}. Anything in brackets is only a variable. The variables are replaced with data from your control panel or the site code when the page is viewed. For the more techincally minded, the variables are actually replaced by data from the $page array, which changes from page to page.

This is the crux of how these sections work, so let’s use an example to get the point across. In the image above, the first variable is {SITE_NAME}. If you go to the Site tab of your control panel, you’ll see a place to enter the Site Name. Whatever you put in that place will be shown in your Title tag. So if you put My Tricycle Shop as your site name under the Site tab, that’s what you’ll see in the top of your web browser:

  • {SITE_NAME} = My Tricycle Shop

The Site tab also has a place to enter a slogan:  “A great place to buy your next tricycle”. {SITE_SLOGAN} will then display that in your title as well:

  • {SITE_SLOGAN} = A great place to buy your next tricycle

The {PAGE} variable will display the page number. This is to keep all your pages from having the same identical title, which helps with SEO.  (Note that if you are converting an Associate-O-Matic store to another language, you can change the word Page from English to whatever language you wish to use, by editing the cfg.lang.php file in the /aom directory. Page is word #351 on the list contained in that file.)

So by having {SITE_NAME} : {SITE_SLOGAN}{PAGE}, what you actually see when you view your store is:

  • My Tricycle Shop : A great place to buy your next tricycle (Page 1)

You can switch the terms around, leave them out, etc:

{SITE_SLOGAN} – {SITE_NAME} becomes A great place to buy your next tricycle – My Tricycle Shop, etc. The description will show you what variables are available for that particular area. You cannot use variables outside of the area indicated. For example, under the term Title Search, you have variables such as {CATEGORY_NAME} and {KEYWORD}. These will not produce any results if you try to use them in the Title Home area.

However, you can include regular text. But unlike the variables, text will not change from page to page, so I recommend using it sparingly. You could do something like:

  • {SITE_NAME} : {SITE_SLOGAN} : This is {PAGE} of our site

Which will then look like this:

  • My Tricycle Shop : A great place to buy your next tricycle : This is (Page 1) of our site

Most of the time however, it’s probably best to stick to the default settings.

The Meta Description and Meta Keywords work the same way, with variables that display based on what you’ve entered elsewhere in the control panel, mostly from the Categories or Site tabs. I don’t feel there’s a need to go into details about each area of the meta tabs. Their descriptions in the control panel are pretty self-evident. If you’re in doubt about any of them, it’s best to stick to the defaults, as long as you have values entered for the control panel sections (Site name, Slogan, keywords, etc.).

If you’re building your own custom header, you can get snippets of PHP code that can grab the data for these tags from the control panel. More information on that is available in the previous post, Trying to get a Header (File).

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One thought on “Meta Tags – Title, Description and Keywords

  1. Great post and very detailed about how Meta and Title tags work within AOM. If I may build on this a bit more, I decided to create an AOM add-on script that would give me some closure as an SEO purist. This script essentially dynamically replaces the content within the tag with your own unique Title and Meta Tags for ANY AOM page that you specify. Here are some of the features of The Free Associate-O-Matic Meta Tag Script:

    * Specify Title and Meta Tags for ANY AOM page!
    * Easy installation. Just change few settings in the script, FTP it to your site and toggle one setting in the AOM console and you’re up in running.
    * Gets the job done in the easiest way possible. No database required. Written in PHP and very easy to customize if you desire.
    * Lazy man technical support. Ask a question in the comment section of the post and I’ll provide an answer when I can.
    * Free. No charge for something that can dramatically boost Google traffic to your Associate-O-Matic Amazon Affiliate website.

    Please visit http://www.digitalsapien.com/associate-o-matic-aom-title-tags-and-meta-tag-script to download it. Any questions about the script will be addressed there.

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