Meta tags were of great significance in the early days of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Back then, they were an effective way to tell search engines what a particular website was called, what it was all about, and the keywords you believed your website should rank for.
Unfortunately, people abused and manipulated Meta tags and they are no longer as essential factor in your search engine rankings as they previously were. However, they still can have a great impact on the search presence of your website as well as your website traffic.
What Are Meta Tags?
Meta tags are a form of metadata that describes the content of webpages to the search engines within the source code. They are part of HTML coding of your website and work behind the scenes to help search engines make sense of each webpage.
Types of Meta Tags
If you are wondering about the Meta tags to use, it is important to know the different types available. While there are numerous Meta tags online, there are just 5 major types of Meta tags that are listed below
1. Title Tag
It defines the title of the webpage and is referred as <title> </title>.
It represents the information seen at the top of the browser as well as in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) It is one of the most important on-page SEO factors when it comes to increasing the ranking of your website. To optimize the title tag for better rankings, ensure that you include the primary keyword at the start of the title tag.
2. Meta Description Tag
It provides a short description or summary of a page and it appears under the title in the SERPs.
The Meta description affects your overall search rankings. It is what most people read before they click on your link on the SERPs. If your Meta description is compelling, you will attract more click throughs, which ultimately affects the overall rankings for that particular term.
If you wish to increase your search rankings for a particular keyword, it is important to include it within the Meta description at least once but never more than twice.
3. Header Tags
It contains H1, H2, H3, and so on that specify a header for a section in a webpage or a document.
The H1 tag is the most important header tag and carries more weightage in the SERPs. The second and third most important header tags after the H1 tag is the H2, H3, and so on. The H2, H3 tags can be used any number of times you want. You can use the H2, H3 tags in the subheadings of your page.
4. Robots Tag
It is one of the most powerful Meta tags since it allows you to control what search engine spiders do in your website. It means that you are able to control the pages to be indexed and the ones to be ignored. It is even possible to use this tag to tell the search engines which link to follow and which one to ignore.
Robots tags are of two main types:
“noindex” robots tag: It is used to tell the search engines not to index a webpage so that it doesn’t appear in the SERPs. For instance, you can use the tag if any of your webpages contain completely uninformative content or duplicate content.
“nofollow” robots tag: If the nofollow tag is used within a particular page it means that the page will be indexed but won’t pass any link juice to linked pages. “nofollow” tags are typically used for paid links, affiliate products, sponsored review posts, etc.
5. Canonical Tags
Canonical tags are used for preventing duplicate content or URLs on your website. It is used to tell the search engines that a particular URL represents the master copy of a page. When using the canonical tag, it is possible to prevent all the SEO related issues caused by duplicate or very similar content appearing on multiple URLs to improve the overall SEO of your website.
Tip for Writing Effective Meta Tags
Meta tags help both searchers and search engines. They display your business information and help you improve the user experience, which can result in improved authority, an enhanced search presence, and a higher ranking. If you are ready to write effective Meta tags for higher rankings, here is a quick checklist to start with:
Length: The Meta tags should be long, but not too long. Length matters here. Whenever you write Meta tags you should ensure that the Meta title is always between 480 and 500 pixels and that the Meta description is between 145 and 150 characters.
Accuracy: Don’t mislead searchers and search engines about what your webpage actually contains is never good for SEO and is in bad form. While you might get lots of traffic initially, your visitors won’t stick around since they feel cheated, which means no conversions.
Value: Why should people click through to your website? What will your website deliver? You can link in the main benefit offered by your page with your page summary using phrases such as “The Ultimate Guide to…”, “You Will Learn…”.
Call-to-Action: If you have a special offer, it should be included in the page description. If you don’t have an offer, use selected verbs to drive some action.
Keywords: Search engines pay attention to the first few words. So, if you are able to, include keywords up front in the page title tag.
Meta tags are one of the least expensive but most effective tools you can use to improve your search engine rankings. You can use the information, tips, and advice provided here to write the perfect Meta tags for your website and generate more traffic.
Meta tags are not hard to implement yourself since a programmer is really not necessary. All you need is some experience with HTML. In fact, depending on the platform you are using such as WordPress, you can find plugins to do it automatically for you.