Meta tags and SEO - What You Should Know About

 

Learn how to utilize meta tags for SEO, such as the page title and meta description tags. Best practices, implementation, and more


What You Should Know About Meta Tags for SEO


Meta tags are the most important part of SEO, and you should make sure that all of the pages on your site are optimized well.


Meta tags and SEO - What You Should Know About


These are the tags that you add to your website's header to describe the page in Google-friendly grammar.

When it comes to SEO, meta tag best practices are often overlooked in favor of other things.


Content and links may take precedence over things like meta tags at times. This is logical, given the importance of content and connections.


However, ensuring that these tags are properly optimized may make a major difference in how Google reads your content.


A good meta description, for example, might make the difference between bad and good website performance on search engine results pages (SERPs), particularly when it comes to a site's click-through rate (CTR).


Making certain that crucial meta tags are included might still yield effects. Everything depends on how you utilize them.


What Exactly Are Meta Tags?


In the HTML of the page, meta tags give information about the website.

These snippets of code are used by search engines to determine what the page is about and how relevant it is to the keyword being searched.


Even though users can't see this information, it is used to decide where a site shows up in search results.

One crucial meta element to pay attention to is the page title: the blue link at the top of the snippet in the search results.


The meta description is another important thing to think about. It is often used to show page descriptions in search results.


Assume you're looking for a product, such as a computer. In this case, the manufacturer's description of that product (at least the one it gave to the website) may show up in the search results in the paragraph sample below the page title. 


squarespace meta tags


How to Begin Using Meta Tags


The existence of meta tags is one of the first things you'll notice in a site audit report. They give important information about a page and appear in the header, which is at the top of the page.

The first step in understanding what meta tags accomplish is to understand why you would use them.


You may wish to add certain terms in the description of your product or service, such as price range, features, size, and so on, and you may use the keywords meta tag to do so.


Or maybe you want to tell folks where your site is situated, such as a city, state, or nation. The location meta tag might be used.


If you're creating a blog article, you might consider including a category meta tag to help people locate it.

These are just a few instances of what meta tags may do.


Title, description, keyword, image alt text, robots, language and even schema markup are all examples of meta tags.

This post will concentrate on the most frequent ones, namely descriptions and keywords.


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Why are meta tags important for SEO?


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

Better title tags might spell the difference between your page's success and failure.


If you have blank meta tags (such as a blank title or meta description), Google may determine the best ones for your website. Its algorithm is not flawless and may produce less than you would want to see.


This is why it is critical to have at least a physical page title and description for your page. Otherwise, you leave the decision to Google's algorithm.


Page title tags


The key descriptive feature of your page is the page title tag.

Everyone sees your title tag when they come across your site in Google search results.


This is why it is critical to ensure that it appropriately represents the content of the page. If you're creating a blog article, make sure the page title appropriately matches the content.


People should be aware of their surroundings and what they are looking at.

While some sites continue to rank highly while having lousy title tags, others don't seem to care.


Why do some sites ignore the title tag while others proceed with their typical optimizations? It seems to be dependent on the sort of place. Some websites emphasize video, while others emphasize text. Some websites are focused on a single issue, while others cover many.


There are several reasons why a website may opt not to invest in title tags. However, having a good title tag may be a huge deciding factor in how Google reads your website.


If you're creating a completely new website, you generally won't need to bother about SEO efforts in your title tag. However, as your site begins to get visitors, you'll want to monitor metrics such as bounce and conversion rates.


By monitoring those indicators, you'll be able to establish if the title tag is having an effect on your performance and where to go from there in terms of how to improve it.


The following is explained in Google's Search Essentials guideline on page title "best practices" and how to appropriately affect them in search results:


  • You want to make sure that every page on your site includes a physical title tag with a page title.

  • Google recommends descriptive and succinct page titles. It does not wish to see anything ambiguous on the main page, such as "Home." It also does not want to see the word "profile" in a person's profile. Google also says not to use content that is too long and wordy because it is likely to drop in search results.

  • In your page title, avoid using boilerplate or duplicated information. What occurs here is that the boilerplate language generates user and search engine confusion across sites. As a result, Google advises using unique and descriptive content in your page names. It also discourages the use of extended, static text, with the exception of specific bits of information. Include no content in your page title that is not relevant to readers or is regarded as uninformative.
  • Keyword stuffing is also frowned upon by Google. However, this does not exclude the use of descriptive phrases in your page title. However, you should avoid repeating the same terms and phrases. This is similar to keyword stuffing in that it makes your search results seem spammy to Google and its users.
  • Google considers branding your page title to be acceptable behavior. According to Google's standards, you may insert it at the beginning or end of the page title. Make sure it's distinct from the rest of the content. You might use a delimiter symbol, such as colons, pipes, or hyphens, to do this. This will help you avoid having your site's brand look like a section of the page title that is repeated.
  • Make it obvious which section of the text is the primary title. When Google creates title links, it looks at a range of sites, according to Google's suggestions. The primary visual title, significant text in the body content, and header components are examples of these sources. Google also suggests changing the size of the page's primary headline, for example.
  • Google also suggests that your page title corresponds to the content of the page. Google notes that if it believes the title does not correspond to the website's principal content, it may use alternate text as part of the page title link. To limit the likelihood of rewriting page titles on SERPs, use the same page title in the h1> element.


Meta Description Tags :


Another important SEO meta element is the meta description tag.

This is the very short text that displays in the search results under the page title. Google will use a more accurate description than what is already on the page if you give it to them.


This meta tag isn't much of a ranking factor. Instead, it serves to intrigue and enlightens people about the website in general.


It generates a brief and relevant overview of what that particular web page is about. In its most basic form, this is a sales presentation for your website. Its goal is to convince the user that your page is exactly what they need.


Google says that there is no limit on how long the meta description can be and that the snippet on the SERPs is cut off as needed, usually based on the width of the device. 


Meta Description Writing Best Practices


Despite the seeming lack of influence over rankings, generating meta descriptions is still a vital tool in the arsenal of any SEO specialist. This may imply the difference between a high CTR from the SERPs and a subpar CTR.


This is why anytime you optimize a page, it makes sense to concentrate on both page titles and meta descriptions.

What Google searches for in meta descriptions is explained in Google Search engine.


It should be noted that meta descriptions should be available on the website. In 99% of circumstances, Google will disregard them if they are not visible.


Make certain that each meta description on your website is unique


Google notes that having identical, or even comparable, meta descriptions on different web pages is useless when these sites show up in the SERPs.


It tells SEO experts to write meta descriptions that are unique and give the right information about each page.


It also advises using site-level descriptions on the main home page (or aggregate pages) and page-level descriptions on all other sorts of pages.

  

Make certain that your description contains pertinent information about the content


Google suggests putting useful information about the website in the meta description.


It notes that for news and blog items, these meta descriptions might include the author, publication date, and byline information that would otherwise be hidden.


Also, there should be product pages with unique information spread out across the page that may be useful to consumers.


Google says that a good meta description could have all the important information a visitor needs to decide if they want to visit that page or not.


Creating Meta Descriptions Automatically


Meta descriptions for your website may be generated automatically. (Not only is it feasible, but Google promotes it in its Search Essentials literature.)


This is particularly true for bigger sites with hundreds or thousands of pages.

On larger sites, Google does not anticipate that the ordinary user will be able to handwrite meta descriptions. It nevertheless suggests that these meta descriptions be diversified and human-readable.


For example, don't think that you can just use a machine to make bad meta descriptions and still have a good SEO day.


It also advises against using long strings of keywords in meta descriptions, which we do not do!

 

Make certain that your meta descriptions are of sufficient quality


Google's suggestions also emphasize the importance of meta descriptions. It also expects to see a high level of quality here, so make sure your meta descriptions are descriptive.

  

How to Include a Meta Robots Tag on Your Website

 

You may manage indexing and crawling of your sites with the meta robots tag. In short, this lets you control how specific pages are indexed on a more granular level.


It should be noted that this option may only be read and followed if the page itself is crawlable and available to Google.

For example, don't imagine that disallowing and noindexing a page would help you.


Although Google may disregard the robots.txt file in certain circumstances, you should make sure that in most cases, you are enabling crawling and indexing of the website so Google can physically witness that specific rule.


<!DOCTYPE html>

<html><head>

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

(…)

</head>

<body>(…)</body>

</html>


The code snippet above demonstrates how to include the "meta robots" tag on your pages

This should be inserted at the top of the page's code structure, inside the code, between the starting and ending head tags.


How to Include a Meta Viewport Tag on Your Website


The meta viewport tag is an important part of the meta tags on the page. Its job is to make sure that your site is fully responsive.


In a nutshell, this meta element instructs the browser on how to display your website on a mobile device. This tag also indicates to Google that the website is mobile-friendly.


Viewport Configuration


In general, the viewport meta tag should be included on any page that should be optimized for mobile devices. This tag's properties govern the size and scale of the page.


To begin, mobile browsers will display a website at the width of a desktop screen (at their minimum, around 980px, but this can vary across devices).


They will then try to improve the appearance of the information by adapting it to the screen and boosting font sizes.


As a consequence, font sizes may look uneven to various users. To address this, one may just use a system font instead.


The picture below explains how to include and customize the meta viewport tag in your code:


<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang="en">

 <head>

 …

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1"> …

 </head>

 …


How to Include the Meta Charset Tag on Your Website


The charset meta tag lets you specify the character encoding for your page. This element is significant because it contributes to the vehicle that the browser uses to convert characters into the text.


If the charset tag is not provided, a browser may produce garbage content due to a lack of comprehension of the input text. Without this tag, the browser must immediately make an uninformed estimate.


Even though it's not a major SEO ranking factor, it's important if you want to make sure your page works on as many browsers and platforms as possible.


If you don't include it, it's not the end of the world. By default, the HTML5 standard includes UTF-8 character encoding.


But if for some reason you want to use a different type of character encoding on your website, you should definitely think about adding this tag.


Meta Tag No Sitelinks Search Box


Did you know that particular meta tags may help you manage how your search results appear?

The no-sitelinks-search-box meta tag is one example:


<meta name="google" content="nositelinkssearchbox">


If you don't want a sitelinks search box to display in Google SERPs for any reason, just delete it using this meta tag.

On sites where you don't want the search box to show, use the nositelinkssearchbox meta tag as follows:


semrush meta description

Again, this would be inserted between your page's starting and closing head tags.

Regarding Google Discover


Meta tags are a necessary part of SEO


Some argue that meta tags fall anywhere between third and fourth on the list of duties for optimizing your web pages.


However, when it comes to attaining better rankings, effectively optimizing your meta tags may occasionally put you ahead of the pack.


When it comes to SEO, don't think of them as the be-all and end-all; instead, consider them complementary.


Simply ensure that your meta tags are kept up-to-date as required. If your pages change, for example, you don't want to have a different page title and meta description than the content on the page.


You also do not want to have poor-quality meta tags.

Lastly, you should focus on optimizing these tags because they can make a website stand out from the crowd. 

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