Meta Tags explained
I see there is a lot of confusion around using meta tags and there impact on SEO. I will try to make this a little easier to understand and hopefully by the end of this, you shall be a meta tag ninja!
Meta tags are basically an explanation of the content of a page. Some meta tags are invisible to the eye, they are embedded in the website’s code. You can think of them like #hashtags on Instagram. They explain what is going on in the picture and the relevance of the image. Meta tags do the same thing, they explain the relevance of the content of the post to search engines.
Meta tags come in a few different forms, the most used was meta keywords. Meta keyword were keywords put in the heading of your website which would tell search engines what your content was about. This practice became pretty ugly though, as people were using this to stuff keywords, sometimes not even related to the web pages content, just to drive traffic to their website or blog.
Google soon removed meta keywords from their factors of website ranking, although Bing and Ask still search for them.
The four main types of meta tags;
– Meta keyword attributes
– Title tags
– Meta description attribute
– Meta robots attribute
Meta keywords as we mentioned above, was the adding of keywords into your website’s code so search engines could see what your content was about. This was a huge step for SEO a few years ago, but, it didn’t take long for it to become an abused practice. Many people were stuffing keywords or putting keywords in their code which were not even relevant to the site.
Meta keywords were removed from Googles ranking factors, but they are still used by Bing and Ask. Is it still worth using meta keywords? Well, if used correctly they probably won’t hurt but if you didn’t use them it is unlikely to have any impact on your website whatsoever.
And along came title tags. Title tags are considered one of the most important factors of on-page SEO. Title tags are read by search engines and searchers so it is important they are optimized properly, contain no jargon and use keywords to boost your search engine ranking and click through rate.
The title tag of a page is considered to have the most SEO power for keyword relevance. Using your main keyword and an LSI keyword or secondary keyword related and then your brand name is a great way to boost on-page SEO and improve click-through rates.
Your meta description is essentially your sites description. Each web page you create has the ability to be found in search results as an individual page. So every page should be optimized fully including your meta description. Your meta description should be around 160 characters long. Any longer and it will be cut off. It is best practice to include your keyword of what the page content is about and leave the reader wanting more. This will increase your click-through rate.
Meta Robot Attribute
Otherwise known as Robot meta directives are small pieces of code that provide search engine crawl bots with information on how to crawl and index a web page. You can set each page with a different set of directives if necessary.
Some examples of parameters you can set for meta robots are;
– No index – Tells search engines to not index a page
– Index – Tells a search engine to index a page
– No follow – Tells a search engine crawl bot to not follow any links on a page or pass any link juice
– No Snippet – Tells a searching engine crawl bot to now show a meta description on the search results
Hopefully, now you understand a little more about how meta tags are used in SEO and how they can impact the way search engines understand your content and give relevance to it when a user searches for a service or product you offer. Having an understanding of basic SEO practice is a good step if you own your own website or blog. Feel free to drop a comment below or send us a message if you need any further help!