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Meta tags: what you need to know for SEO

Meta tags are the most fundamental part of SEO and ensuring that your website pages have a good and solid foundation for optimization.

These are tags that you add to your page header to describe the page using syntax that Google understands.

And when it comes to SEO, meta tag best practices are more often than not ignored and others take precedence.

Sometimes things like content and links take precedence over things like meta tags. This is understandable, as content and links can be more important.

But making sure these tags are properly optimized can make a big difference in how Google understands your page.

For example, a quality meta description can mean the difference between a website performing poorly in search engine results pages (SERPs) and a website performing better, especially when it comes to a website’s click-through rate (CTR).

By ensuring you include important meta tags, you can still get results. It all depends on how you use them.

What Are Meta Tags?

Meta tags provide information about the website in the HTML of the page.

Search engines use these pieces of code to determine what the page is about and how relevant it is to the keyword being searched for.

Although this information is not visible to visitors, it plays a role in determining where a website appears in search results.

One important meta tag to focus on includes the page title: the blue link that appears at the top of the snippet in search results.

Another important tag you may want to focus on is the meta description, which is often used to display page descriptions in search results.

Let’s say you’re looking for a product like a computer. In this case, the manufacturer’s description of that product (at least the one they added to the page) may appear in a paragraph fragment below the page title in the search results.

Screenshot from search [computers], Google, October 2022

Getting Started With Meta Tags

Meta tags are one of the first things you’ll see in a website audit report. They appear in the header above the page content and provide important information about the page.

The first step in understanding how meta tags work is knowing why you would use them.

You may want to include certain words in your product or service description, such as price range, features, size, etc., and you can use the keyword meta tag to describe this.

Or maybe you want to let people know where your site is located, such as a city, state, or country. You can use the location meta tag.

If you’re writing a blog post, you may want to add a category meta tag to make it easier for others to find.

These are just a few examples of what meta tags can accomplish.

There are many different types of meta tags, including title, description, keyword, image alt text, bots, language, and even a schema tag.

This article focuses on the most common; more specifically descriptions and keywords.

Why Meta Tags Are Important For SEO

When it comes to SEO, meta tags are very important. They may not be as important as content or links, but they are still very important to the overall optimization process.

Better title tags can mean the difference between the success or failure of your site.

Empty meta tags (such as an empty title or meta description) can mean that Google will choose the ones it thinks are best for your page. Its algorithm is not perfect and might produce less than you might want to see.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that you include at least the physical title and description of the page. Otherwise, leave the choice to Google’s algorithm.

Page Title Tags

The page title tag is the main descriptive element of your page.

Your title tag is the only thing anyone sees when they come across your site in Google search results.

Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that it accurately reflects the content of the page. If you are writing a blog post, you must ensure that the page title accurately reflects the content of the post.

You want people to know exactly where they are and what they’re looking at.

While some sites still rank very well despite having poor title tags, others don’t seem to care much about the title tag.

Why do some sites not spend as much effort on the title tag, while others continue with normal optimization? Well, it seems to depend on the type of site. Some sites focus heavily on video, while others focus heavily on text. Some sites are focused on a specific topic, while others cover multiple topics.

There are many different reasons why a site chooses not to put any effort into its title tags. But the truth is that a quality title tag can be a huge deciding factor in how Google understands your page.

If you’re building a brand new website, you probably won’t need to worry too much about SEO efforts for your title tag. But once your site starts getting traffic, you’ll want to track things like bounce rate and conversion rate.

By tracking these metrics, you’ll be able to see if the title tag is actually making an impact on your performance, and where to go in terms of how to better optimize it.

Google’s Search Essentials documentation explains the following about page title best practices and how to properly influence them in search results:

What Else Has Google Said About Page Titles?

In addition to Search Essentials, Google has mentioned several things to consider about page titles.

“We use it for ranking, but it’s not the most critical part of the page. So it’s not worth stuffing it with keywords to hope it works that way. In general, we try to recognize when the title tag is full of keywords, because this is also a bad user experience for users in search results. If they want to understand what these pages are talking about and all they see is a jumble of keywords, then that doesn’t really help.” – John Mueller, Google 2016

“I would just write natural titles, the way you want them to appear in search and how you want to present them to users. Slash (punctuation) is fine & it can work well anywhere.” – John Mueller, Google 2020

“Of all the ways we create titles, content from HTML title tags is still by far the most likely to be used, over 80% of the time.” – Google Search Central Blog, 2021

“If your document appears on a search results page, the content of the title tag may appear in the first line of results.” – Google, 2020

“We have introduced a new system for generating website addresses. Prior to this, addresses may change based on the inquiry issued. This will usually no longer happen with our new system. That’s because we think our new system produces titles that work better for documents in general to describe what they’re about, regardless of the individual query.” – Google Search Core Blog, 2021

Meta Description Tags

Another meta tag that is important for SEO is the meta description tag.

This is a very short snippet snippet below the page title in the search results. As long as you use a more accurate description than what you can tell from the content on the page, Google will use it.

This meta tag is not something that is used for classification. Rather, it is something used to attract and inform users about the site in general.

Create a short and relevant summary of what a particular website is actually about. In its simplest form, it’s basically a sales pitch for your website. It is intended to convince the user that your page is exactly what they are looking for.

Google explains that there is no limit to the length of the meta description and that it shortens the snippet on the SERPs if necessary – and this is usually based on the device width.

Best Practices For Writing Meta Descriptions

Despite the apparent lack of control when it comes to ranking, writing meta descriptions is still an important part of any SEO professional’s arsenal. This can mean the difference between a significant CTR from the SERPs as opposed to substandard CTRs.

That’s why it makes sense to focus your page titles and meta descriptions on your own SEO efforts whenever you’re optimizing a page.

Google’s Search Essentials explains what it looks for in meta descriptions.

Note that meta descriptions must be visible on the web page. If they are not visible, Google will ignore them in 99% of cases.

Make Sure That Every Meta Description On Your Site Is Unique

Google explains that identical and even similar meta descriptions on multiple pages of a website are not helpful when those pages appear in the SERPs.

He recommends that SEO professionals create meta descriptions that are unique and accurately describe a specific page.

He also recommends using site-level descriptions on the main homepage (or aggregation pages) and then using page-level descriptions on all other types of pages.

Ensure That Your Description Includes Relevant Information About The Content

Google recommends that you include relevant information in your meta description that reflects the actual page.

For news and blog posts, he explains, these meta descriptions can provide author, publication date and byline information that would not otherwise appear.

Additionally, you could also include product pages here that have specific information scattered throughout the page that could be useful to users.

Google adds that any great meta description can provide all the important information a user might need to decide to visit a particular page.

Automatically Generating Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions of your website can be generated programmatically. (Not only possible, but Google actively encourages it in their Search Essentials documentation.)

This is especially true for larger websites with thousands of pages.

Google does not expect the average user to be able to manually write meta descriptions on major websites. He still recommends making sure these meta descriptions are varied and human-readable.

For example, don’t assume that you can programmatically create meta descriptions that are of terrible quality and expect to have a good day from an SEO perspective.

He also recommends avoiding long strings of keywords in meta descriptions – don’t do that here either!

Make Sure Your Meta Descriptions Are Of High Enough Quality

Google’s recommendations also emphasize the quality of meta descriptions. He also wants to see pretty high quality here – and make sure your meta descriptions are really descriptive.

What Else Has Google Said About Meta Descriptions?

The Google Search Essentials documentation is a good place to start, but it doesn’t contain all the information that Google might consider.

Here’s a compilation of what Google has said elsewhere on the web about meta descriptions:

“You kind of have to balance your time and think if it’s really worth it to go through a hundred thousand pages and write a new description, or should I remember that when I’m creating new pages and not worry so much about this one hundred and sixty character limit or whatever it is used to be because I think especially when we make changes like that, they tend to go back and forth until we find the right balance.” – John Mueller, 2017

“It’s not that changing your descriptions or making them longer or shorter or changing them or inserting keywords will affect your site’s ranking.” – John Mueller 2017

“Since meta descriptions are usually only visible to search engines and other software, webmasters sometimes forget about them and leave them completely blank. For the same reason, it is also common for the same meta description to be used on several (and sometimes many) pages. On the other hand, it is also relatively common for the description to be completely off-topic, of low quality, or downright spammy. These issues hurt our users’ search experience, so we prefer to ignore such meta descriptions.” – Google 2017

“Remember that we adjust the description according to the user’s query. So if you’re doing a site query and you see that in the search results for your site, that’s not necessarily what the average user would see when they see the search as well.” – John Mueller, Google 2017

How To Add A Meta Robots Tag To Your Page

The robots meta tag allows you to control the indexing and crawling of your pages. In short, this allows you to take advantage of a more granular approach to controlling the indexing of individual pages.

It is important to note that this setting can only be read and tracked if the page itself is content-only and accessible to Google.

For example, don’t think that disabling a page and not indexing it will benefit you.

Although there are situations where Google can ignore the robots.txt file, you should make sure that in most cases you allow crawling and page indexing so that Google can physically follow this particular rule.

The code snippet above shows how to add the meta robots tag to your pages.

In the overall code structure of the page, this should be added to the top of the page, within the code, between the start and end header tags.

How To Add A Meta Viewport Tag To Your Page

The viewport meta tag is an important part of the meta tags added to the page and makes sure your site is fully responsive.

In short, this meta tag gives the browser specific instructions on how to render your page on a mobile device. This tag also shows Google that the page itself is mobile friendly.

Setting The Viewport

As a general rule of thumb, include the viewport meta tag on any page you want to optimize for mobile. Parameters within this tag control page dimensions and scaling attributes.

First, mobile browsers will render the page at the width of the desktop screen (minimum, about 980 pixels, but this can vary between devices).

Then they will try to make the content better by adapting it to the screen and increasing the font size.

As a result, this may mean that font sizes may appear inconsistent to different users. To fix this, you could just use the system font instead.

The following screenshot shows how to include and configure the viewport meta tag in your code:

How To Add The Meta Charset Tag To Your Web Page

A character set meta tag is a tag that allows you to specify a specific character encoding for your page. This tag is important because it helps provide the vehicle that the browser uses to output characters to text.

If you do not have a character set tag defined, the browser may output unnecessary text due to this misunderstanding of the typed text. Without this tag, the browser has to quickly make an uneducated guess.

Although not very important in terms of SEO ranking factors, it is important if you want to ensure that your site is as good as possible across browsers and platforms.

Not adding it isn’t the end of the world. The HTML5 specification includes UTF-8 character encoding by default.

However, if you want to use a different type of character encoding for your page – for whatever reason – then you may want to seriously consider adding this tag in these situations.

No Sitelinks Search Box Meta Tag

Did you know that certain meta tags can help you control the appearance of search results?

One such meta tag is the search box meta tag without sitelinks:

If for some reason you don’t want the sitelinks search box to appear on Google’s SERPs, you can simply use this meta tag to remove it.

Here’s how you would implement the nositelinkssearchbox meta tag on a page where you don’t want the search box to appear:

Screenshot from search [pinterest], Google, October 2022

This too would be added between the opening and closing header tags of your page.

By adding a simple meta tag, you can increase clicks from Google Discover by 300%. Here is the code snippet:

Meta Tags Are An Important Part Of SEO

There are those who believe that meta tags rank third or fourth in terms of responsibility when it comes to optimizing your web pages.

But when it comes to achieving higher rankings, optimizing your meta tags properly can sometimes put you at an advantage.

Don’t think of them as the be-all and end-all when it comes to your SEO efforts; instead, they are more complementary in nature.

Make sure you keep updating your meta tags as needed. For example, if your pages change, you don’t want to have a different page title and meta description than the content reflected on the page.

You also don’t want to have meta tags that are of poor quality.

Finally, you need to make sure you put some focus on optimizing these tags – they can turn a page from average to great.

Featured Image: BestForBest/Shutterstock

(See below: There are some tags that can be called bad meta tags and should just be ignored.) Meta tags can affect how users see your site in search results and whether they actually click on your site.

Which meta tags help to improve SEO?

The most important meta tags for SEO

  • Title label.
  • Meta description.
  • Canonical Tag.
  • Alternative text label.
  • Robot meta tag.
  • Open Graph Meta Tags and Twitter Cards.
  • Header tags.
  • Responsive design meta tags.

What is Meta Tagging in SEO? Meta tags are pieces of code that tell search engines important information about your website, such as how to display it in search results. They also tell web browsers how to display it to visitors. Every web page has meta tags, but they are only visible in the HTML code.

How many types of meta tag in SEO?

There are four main types of meta tags worth knowing, and we’ll talk about them all here. Some are not as useful as they once were. Others are worth using regularly and will very likely increase your traffic by letting Google know who you are and what you have to offer.

How many types of meta are there?

Meta elements are typically used to define page description, keywords, document author, modified, and other metadata. There are four types of meta tags, but some are less common or related to online marketing.

How many meta tags can I use?

A general rule of thumb is to use no more than about 10 meta keywords per page.

How can I improve my SEO tags?

If possible, keep your title tag under 60 characters. Add words that indicate what your content is about, such as “How To”, “Review”, “Best of”, “Tips”, “Best of” â âFindâ or âBuyâ Use long tail keywords or 4 keywords words like “is my site mobile friendly” or “how to make a site mobile friendly”

How do you rank No 1 on Google?

To get to the top of Google search results in a competitive niche, you’ll need to: Follow Google’s SEO Quality Guidelines for Webmasters. A website’s reputation for publishing original, useful and relevant content. Satisfying user-friendly page experience for visitors from search.

How long does it take to rank #1 in Google? There are over 200 SEO factors that Google considers, including: page-level factors such as keyword location (title, meta descriptions, h1, h2, etc.), how often the keyword appears on the page, etc. forward. As mentioned above, it usually takes 3-6 months to rank in Google.

How much does it cost to rank #1 on Google?

The approximate cost per click is $2. 6,600 searches multiplied by a $2 CPC and a 30% click-through rate = $3,960. So using Google tools we can estimate that you would pay $3,960 per month to be #1 on Google for âSalon Nashville. The annual value of that #1 Google ranking would be $47,520.

Can you pay for Google ranking?

Tip: Better local rankings on Google cannot be claimed or paid for. We do our best to keep the details of the search algorithm confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone.

Is it possible to rank #1 on Google?

There is no surefire way to rank #1 in Google. However, targeting the right keywords and audience can significantly increase your chances. Keep creating and promoting tons of well-optimized content and you’re good to go!

Does Google use meta tags?

Does Google ever use the keyword meta tag in its web search ranking? In a word, no. Google does sell the Google Search Appliance, and that product has the ability to match meta tags, which may include the keyword meta tag. But it’s an enterprise search engine that’s completely separate from our main web search.

How do I get a meta tag on Google? Go to the Google Search Console home page and get your HTML meta tag code. click the Manage Site button next to the site you want, and then click Verify this site. If the HTML tag is not visible on the Recommended Method tab, click the Alternate Methods tab. Select the HTML tag and copy the code.

Do websites still use meta tags?

Despite being one of the most outdated SEO tactics, people still ask about meta keywords and whether they’re still “worth doing, just in case.” The short answer is no, but read on to see why they’re no longer needed.

Are meta keywords still relevant for SEO?

Meta Keywords as a Ranking Factor: Our Take Based on what Google told us in 2009, we know that meta keywords are definitely not a Google ranking factor â and even then they weren’t used to â many years ago. Bottom line: Meta keywords are a holdover from a bygone era of SEO.

Are meta description still relevant 2022?

No, Google has not used the meta keyword tag since 2009. Suffice it to say; in 2022, you shouldn’t be spending time adding meta keywords to your website. They are not used by Google to determine ranking signals and provide no added value to users – making them obsolete in SEO.

When did Google stop using meta tags?

No, Google has not used the meta keyword tag since 2009. On September 21, 2009, Google published an article on the Google Search Central blog confirming that the keyword meta tag is not used when ranking web search results.

Do people still use meta tags?

Despite being one of the most outdated SEO tactics, people still ask about meta keywords and whether they’re still “worth doing, just in case.” The short answer is no, but read on to see why they’re no longer needed. Despite being one of the most outdated SEO tactics, people still ask about meta keywords.

Does Google ignore meta tags?

Our web search (the well-known Google.com search used by hundreds of millions of people every day) completely ignores keyword meta tags. Right now, they simply don’t have any impact on our search rankings.

Is metadata used in Google?

The meta tag contains information about the document. Google understands a standard set of meta tags. You can use custom meta tags to provide Google with additional information about your pages. Google may use this information to create rich snippets or to enable sorting of search results.

Do websites still use metadata?

The more accurate this information is, the better the search engine will be able to rank or index your site in search results. Think of meta data as a means by which search engines can interact with your site. But the question remains: does metadata still matter? And the short answer is yes.

Does Google look at image metadata?

Other image metadata In addition to camera and lens types, a logical field for Google to look at is the embedded time and date, which may be useful for Google’s image search filter. For various reasons, the file creation date may be less reliable than the embedded EXIF ​​date, especially for derivative copies used online.

Do meta tags matter for SEO?

Meta tags are invisible tags that provide information about your page to search engines and website visitors. In short, they make it easier for search engines to figure out what your content is about and are therefore crucial for SEO.

Are meta keywords important for SEO in 2022? No, Google has not used the meta keyword tag since 2009. Suffice it to say; in 2022, you shouldn’t be spending time adding meta keywords to your website. They are not used by Google to determine ranking signals and provide no added value to users – making them obsolete in SEO.

Is meta tags help in SEO True or false?

Their job is to tell search engines what the page is about, which makes them crucial for SEO. Search engines use meta tag information to rank and display snippets in search results.

Which of the following is false about SEO?

“It’s not an organic way to drive traffic, it’s a false statement about SEO”.

How do meta tags help?

Meta tags are pieces of text that describe the content of a page; meta tags do not appear on the page itself, but only in the source code of the page. Meta tags are basically small content descriptors that help search engines tell what a website is about.

Are meta tags still important for SEO?

Meta tags are important because they affect how your website appears in the SERP results and how many people will be inclined to click on your website. Therefore, they will affect your traffic and engagement rates, which can affect your SEO and rankings. Meta tags are an important part of a solid SEO strategy.

Are meta tags still used for SEO?

Here’s why meta tags can still boost your website’s SEO. They affect Google’s indexing of your website. Meta tags allow Google to understand the content of your pages so they can appear in relevant searches. Meta tags can improve your keyword rankings.

How many tags are good for SEO?

Do not use more than three tags. Your tags should tell your visitors what the entire post is about. For example, we mentioned TikTok earlier, but tagging this post with “TikTok” probably wouldn’t add value to our visitors.

Do tags increase SEO? Here’s why meta tags can still boost your website’s SEO. They affect Google’s indexing of your website. Meta tags allow Google to understand the content of your pages so they can appear in relevant searches. Meta tags can improve your keyword rankings.

How many tags should a website have?

In most cases, you’ll want somewhere between 5 and 10 to properly categorize your posts and make your site easier to navigate.

How many SEO keywords should I use?

Pages rank easier if they focus on one topic, so you should focus on two or three main keywords per page that are reworded versions. Targeting four or more keywords is difficult because there is limited space in the title and meta description tags to target them.

How many tags are there in SEO?

8 HTML Tags Essential for SEO

Which tag is used for SEO?

Title Tag But the first place Google will check for title ideas is the title tag, and if the title tag is present, Google is very likely to make it the main title in the relevant listing. As such, title tag optimization gives you some control over how your page is presented in the SERPs.

How many types of tags are there in SEO?

There are four main types of meta tags worth knowing, and we’ll talk about them all here. Some are not as useful as they once were. Others are worth using regularly and will very likely increase your traffic by letting Google know who you are and what you have to offer.

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