Three ways to build a meta tag page and how other publishers are using them
A meta tag page is a page that lists all the content a site has about a particular tag or keyword. The difference between a tag page and a topic page, is that a tag page doesn’t necessarily get elevated to the navigation level.
The literal translation of a meta tag page is “a page about other pages”.
As a quick example, here is a meta tag page for George Clooney on People.com. Whenever there is an article with his name in it, the article gets added to this page. And whenever you see his name on the website, it links to this page. This is the portal for all things George Clooney on People.com: articles, photos, quizzes, biography, news, magazine covers he’s been on, etc. The only way this page could get more dedicated is if the advertisement for People Magazine had his face on it.
Now that you understand what a meta tag page is, you should know that there are three ways to create one, and various ways to use them:
Meta Tag Page By Hand: In this most undesirable instance, you create the meta tag page from scratch. You choose a tag or keyword, and then you manually add related articles and products to the page. You also manually add links to articles that will point to this page.
In the instance of George Clooney, you’d be manually linking his name to this page in every article, and you’d be manually adding the new articles to this page; nothing is auto-generated for you.
Meta Tag Page with Manual Tagging: In this instance, your content management system has “tagging” built in (such as WordPress). When you write an article, you can assign tags to the article, which will show up on the article page and link to an auto-generated meta tag page. You might still manually link terms within in the article to this automatically-generated page.
In the instance of George Clooney, you’d be adding the tag “George Clooney” to the article that would link to a page set up to automatically list content that uses the tag “George Clooney”.
Meta Tag Page with Automatic Tagging: In this instance, you have given your content management system a list of terms that it should automatically create meta tag pages for. Also, any time you use the term in an article, it will automatically link to its respected meta tag page.
In the instance of George Clooney, whenever People.com would publish an article using his name, a link would automatically be created within the article content during publishing and would point to the George Clooney meta tag page. If a new celebrity popped up, you could add her name to the list, and a meta tag page would be created the first time you used her name.
Learn how to build meta tag pages that drive the most website traffic as well as 11 other landing page templates at the next Mequoda Summit.
Different types of meta tag pages
HuffingtonPost.com uses the Manual Tagging method we mentioned above.
Selective meta tag pages: HuffingtonPost.com calls their meta tag pages “Big News Pages – Some News is so Big It Needs its Own Page”. If you look at the “big news page” for Sarah Palin, you’ll find pictures, blogs, news articles, polls, Twitter tweets that use the term “Sarah Palin”, stories from popular bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious and Google BlogSearch, comments, etc.
They only list robust, dedicated pages in their “big news pages”, but they also use additional tags for less popular terms that link to auto-generated tag pages such as the term “republican nomination“. At the beginning of every article, there is a list of “tags” that link to their respective meta tag pages.
fuelNet.com uses the Automated Tagging method we listed above. They use not one, but two versions of the meta tag page.
Classic meta tag pages: This page includes snippets of articles, like the one they have for “corporate identity“.
Glossary meta tag pages: This page includes a glossary definition provided by the site’s editors, then is followed up by related posts. “Brand building” is an example of their glossary meta tag page.
Here are the elements a meta tag page should include (at a minimum):
- Definition (if a term)
- Bio (if a person)
- Any articles or posts using the tag
- Any videos, podcasts, or other media using the tag
- Related product/sponsor ads
- Photo gallery (if relevant)
- Most popular stories (if content is evergreen)
- Most recent stories (if content is news-based)
Why are meta tag pages important?
Meta tag pages are incredibly valuable to your website in terms of driving traffic. Due to the enormous amount of content on a meta tag page, and the inbound links it can gather, these pages are likely to rank extremely high. This means that relevant ads and conversion architecture should be your number #1 priority for meta tag pages (next to content of course).