Meta tags can be used to increase the visibility of a website on search engines, so they're undeniably important for SEO. On the other hand, they can negatively affect your website's SEO ranking if written improperly. Let's discover what meta tags are, why they matter for SEO, and how to use them correctly to reap the benefits. Meta-tags are snippets of HTML code capable of being crawled by search engine robots such as Google. They are influential in determining the visibility of a web page on the SERPs. Meta tags are added to the <head> section of pages and can only be seen in the HTML code: Meta tags are one of the main channels that a website has to communicate with search engine robots — those responsible for crawling the content of the pages to be indexed. Meta tags are used to indicate to search engines whether a page should be indexed or not, and adds additional information about its content.
What are meta tags?
Why do meta tags matter to SEO?
Meta tags can be used to increase the visibility of a website on search engines, so they're undeniably important for SEO.
On the other hand, they can negatively affect your website's SEO ranking if written improperly.
Let's discover what meta tags are, why they matter for SEO, and how to use them correctly to reap the benefits.
Meta-tags are snippets of HTML code capable of being crawled by search engine robots such as Google.
They are influential in determining the visibility of a web page on the SERPs. Meta tags are added to the <head> section of pages and can only be seen in the HTML code:
Meta tags are one of the main channels that a website has to communicate with search engine robots — those responsible for crawling the content of the pages to be indexed. Meta tags are used to indicate to search engines whether a page should be indexed or not, and adds additional information about its content.
This turns meta tags into core aspects of an SEO strategy for two main reasons. With a good writing and configuration of meta tags, we can help robots to have a better understanding of the content of each page of a website, so that we are more likely to rank higher in the SERPs.
Additionally, meta tags can offer additional and quality information to the users in order to achieve more clicks and a higher CTR in the searches, as well as to offer them a better experience within the website.
Examples of Meta Tags
Meta tags are an essential part of a successful SEO strategy, that's why it is important to write them in a unique way, keeping Google in mind in order to rank higher, but also thinking about the user. Let's see some examples of how you should and shouldn't write meta tags.
Examples of Original Meta Title and Meta-description Tags
With meta title and meta-description tags we indicate both robots and users the main topic of the page and what it is about on the SERPs.
They should be written in a unique and originalway so that they describe the content and attract the attention of visitors. This way we can manage to appear even above large websites or directories.
On the other hand, if we do not optimize the title tags with the main keywords and topics of the page, nor in an attractive way, it will be more difficult to appear in the first positions of the SERPs.
And not only that: avoiding keyword stuffingis also recommended, which means that we shouldn't repeat a word too much because otherwise it looks unnatural.
Examples of Meta-tags that Can Damage Our Whole Digital Strategy
A bad setup of a meta tag, either by mistake or lack of knowledge, can considerably damage the entire visibility of the website.
In this case, we are talking about the robots meta-tagwith content="noindex"through which we indicate to search engines that we do not want a page to be indexed — therefore visible — in the SERPs. With this example of robots meta tags, it's difficult to get organic clicks on a web page from Google since it will not be listed.
<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow"/>
On the other hand, with content="index"we do tell the robots that we want to be indexed to appear in the SERPS results:
<meta name="robots" content="follow, index, max-snippet:-1, max-video-preview:-1, max-image-preview:large"/>
For this reason, it is very important to know how to avoid these examples of meta tags that can considerably decrease the visibility of the website on search engines.
How to Write Meta Tags
If you are wondering how to write meta tags to have a better performance it is important that you always write content thinking about your users. Then, if you have designed a well implemented SEO strategy, it will help you rank your pages automatically.
That's why, when you write meta tags you should remember to include the page's theme or its topic. If it is possible with your main keyword or synonyms, specially in the case of title and meta-descriptions tags.
When writing them it is important to follow the following tips to follow Google's guidelines to try to rank better.
By using the title tag, we indicate the title of the page content to both Google and the users on the search engines. This tag should not be confused with the heading 1, the main title of the text. The title meta tag is only visible to users on the search results, but not within the page.
Best practices to write title tags:
- Summarize the main topic of the page with the main keyword or terms.
- Write unique, original and attractive titles to attract the attention of users and increase the CTR of the page in the SERPs.
- Be accurate and descriptive based on the content of the page.
- Do not exceed or repeat keywords.
- Write not more than 60 characters approximately (maximum of 580 pixels).
How to Write Title Tags
In Wordpress or similar CMS tools, you can install SEO plugins such as All in One SEO, Rank Mathor Yoast SEO that will help you to edit and preview your title tags.
Or you can also paste the following code into the <head> of your webpage:
<title>What's a Website Title (Title Tag)& Why Does It Matter for SEO?</title>
Meta-description tags offer the option to add a brief description of the page, which will be visible on the search results.
Although Google does not always display the content that the creator has proposed, sometimes it can be generated automaticallythrough the content of the page if they value that those generated by the user are not of enough "quality" or are not related to the user's query.
Best practices to write meta-description tags:
- Write the meta-descriptions in a personalized way summarizing the content of the page.
- Include the keyword at the beginning of the sentence in a natural way and without repeating it abundantly.
- Make them attractive and original.
- Keep it between 140 and 160 characters approximately (maximum 920 pixels).
How to Write Meta-description Tags
You can also use SEO pluginsthat will help you to edit and preview this section:
Or you can also paste the following code into the <head> of your page:
<meta name="description" content="A meta description is basically what helps the searcher decide whether or not to click the link to an article or webpage. A meta description helps convince or persuade readers to choose your site. "/>
The robots meta-tagis one of the key meta-tags in an SEO strategy. This tag specifically tells a search engine whether a page should be indexed or followed, or not.
- In general, the default values areindex, followand it is not necessary to specify them in most cases. With this we indicate to the robots that we want the page to be indexed on the SERPs and that it can be followed.
- On the contrary, if we indicate the values noindex, nofollow, we are telling Google that we do not want those links to be followed nor to appear on the search engines.
Best Practices to Write Meta Robots Tags
- Don't confuse noindex tags with robots.txt. Through robots.txt fileswe indicate to a search engine if we want to crawl some pages or not, while through robots tag we inform if a website should be indexed or not. That's why it is important not to block noindex pages on robots.txt files, as robots won't be able to read them
How to Write Meta Robots Tags
You can edit the robots tag with Rank Mathor Yoast SEO:
Or you can also paste the following code into the <head> of your page in case you want your page to be indexed and followed:
<meta name="robots" content="follow, index, max-snippet:-1, max-video-preview:-1, max-image-preview:large"/>
Meta Viewport Tag
The meta viewport tag is used to control the way we tell the search engines how to render and display a page on different devices (mobile, tablet and desktop).
Best practices to Write Meta Robots Tags
- Use a meta viewport tagon your whole website to adapt the content for the mobile version.
How to edit viewport tag?
If you do know what you are really doing, you can edit your viewport tag on the <head> of your document. If not, use the option recommended by default:
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1"> …
Full list of Meta Tags
But there are still many more meta-tags. We offer you a complete list of key meta-tags for your SEO strategy:
- Title Tags, to name your page on search engines
- Meta Description Tags, to describe your page on search engines
- Robots Meta Tags, to index or not index a page
- Nofollow, sponsored and user-generated content meta tags, for outbound links.
- Twitter cards meta tagsad Open Graph meta tags, for your content shared on social media
- Viewport Meta Tag, to indicate how to render a page on a mobile.
- Language meta-tags, to indicate the content language of the page
- Notranslate meta tag, to tell Google to not provide an automatic generated translation.
- nositelinkssearchbox meta-tag,to not show the sitelinks search box.
- meta charset tag, to define the character encoding of the web site.
- meta refresh tag,to send the user to a new URL after sometime, usually from a redirection. Although it is recommended to not use this tag, and do a 301 redirect.
Other meta tags, not essentials for SEO, but recommended to take into account:
- Author meta-tag, to name the author of the page
- Copyright meta- tag,owner of the rights to the source code of an HTML page.
- Meta name rating tag, to specify adult content
- Date meta-tags, to indicate the date of the content
As we can see, there are different meta tagsthat can be used to help us communicate in a better way with both the user and search engines so that everyone understands better the information that is provided. But it is important to know each one of them and optimize in an attractive and optimal way.
Originally published Jul 15, 2021 1:00:00 PM, updated September 08 2021
What are meta tags and why are they important for SEO? ›
Meta tags are the first impression someone has of your page on a SERP. A good meta description will attract users to click through and visit your site. They ensure that search engines know what your content is about, so they'll be able to show the website in the appropriate results.Which meta tags matter in SEO? ›
The Most Important Meta Tags for SEO
Canonical Tag. Alternative Text Tag. Robots Meta Tag. Open Graph Meta Tags and Twitter Cards.
Know Your Meta Tags
There are four major types of meta tags worth knowing about 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 provide.
Search engines such as Google use metadata from meta tags to understand additional information about the webpage. They can use this information for ranking purposes, to display snippets in search results, and sometimes they can ignore meta tags. Example of meta tags include the <title> and <description> elements.How many meta tags should I use? ›
Incorporating Meta Keywords in Your Content
As a general rule, don't use more than about 10 meta keywords for a single page.
Guidelines for Using Meta Keywords Tags
Keep your list of keywords or keyword phrases down to ten or fifteen unique keywords or phrases. Separate the words or phrases using a comma. Do not repeat the words or phrases which you use. Place your most important words or phrases at the beginning of your list.
Meta keywords are important for SEO for some search engines because the ranking algorithm uses the meta keywords tag to identify the core topics for the web page.What is SEO title example? ›
SEO title examples for “Cheesecake recipe” With 228k monthly searches according to Ahrefs, “cheesecake recipe” is one of the most competitive keywords in the food niche. It's the kind of keyword that can bring you thousands of monthly visitors… provided people click to read your article instead of your competitor's.How do you write headings for SEO? ›
- Include relevant keywords. ...
- Write for the user. ...
- Try long sentences, but pay attention to length. ...
- Don't be repetitive or stuff keywords. ...
- Don't put your company name at the front. ...
- Be specific. ...
- Get some help.
SEO keywords (also known as “keywords” or “keyphrases”) are terms added to online content in order to improve search engine rankings for those terms. Most keywords are discovered during the keyword research process and are chosen based on a combination of search volume, competition and commercial intent.
Is meta keywords important for SEO in 2022? ›
On the 21st of September 2009, Google published an article on the Google Search Central Blog that confirmed that the keywords meta tag is not used in ranking web search results. Suffice to say; you should not be spending any time adding meta keywords to your website in 2022.Is meta keywords tag important for SEO? ›
Meta keywords are important for SEO for some search engines because the ranking algorithm uses the meta keywords tag to identify the core topics for the web page.How does metadata affect SEO? ›
In short, Google says that meta descriptions do not directly impact search engine rankings. However, these descriptions can indirectly impact SEO through click through rates. This is very important when you're fighting between 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. There, things like technical SEO and backlinks tend to matter less.What is the use of meta tags in digital marketing? ›
A meta tag is an HTML tag that describes the content on a webpage. Meta tags can be viewed by selecting View/Source from the menu of a browser. Meta tags, such as the meta title and meta description play important roles in a website's SEO plan because they contain keywords and phrases that describe a page's content.Is the meta keywords tag still important? ›
Meta Keywords are not used by Google but Other Search Engines Still Use Them. Meta tags are still important for Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and Baidu. Learn how to optimize your meta keywords. It might be a surprise for many SEOs but the meta keywords tag is still used by some search engines as part of their ranking process.