What are Meta Tags?
Simply put, Meta Tags are code snippets, specifically HTML codes, that do not appear to visitors while browsing but only on the source code page and are usually found at the top of the pages.
The primary role of meta tags is to guide Google search engines and crawlers by providing information about your web page and its content and emphasizing its compatibility with what is visible and hidden.
To illustrate, meta tags can provide detailed information to search engines by defining keywords, page descriptions, authors, etc.
If you want to see the meta tags of a web page, right-click anywhere on the page, pick “View page sources,” and look at the meta tags. As an example, check the following Meta Tag:
<meta name=”description” content=”Free Webinar for Learning SEO”>
Why Use Meta Tags?
As mentioned earlier, Meta tags can be optimized to highlight the most important components of your content, stand out in search results, and compete with competitors in SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Meta tags are essential in optimizing a web page’s SEO since they help search engines ensure that the information which searchers need to know about your site is displayed upfront, concisely, and helpfully.
Certain meta tags provide information about the page structure and ensure that your site is easy to navigate, but others advise search engines about which sections of your page are important and which should be ignored.
Types of Meta Tags
Four critical types of Meta tags contribute to SEO and help search engines drive more traffic to your webpage.
Meta Keywords Attribute
These are tags that include keywords linked to the content of your page. A few years ago, the practice of word staffing, which is defined as inserting keywords that are unrelated to your content to increase traffic, was pretty common. However, nowadays, search engines crawlers can easily detect this, and they have already made the algorithm independent of the Meta Keywords Attribute.
As a result, while this form of Meta tag may help your page’s SEO a bit, it is no longer as effective as it used to be.
Meta tags, as opposed to meta keywords attribute tags, are the most important type of meta tags. Searchers can see this type of tag on SERPs and at the top of the browser tab. It is very crucial to the ranking of your website.
An example of a title tag:
Its primary function is to provide the main title for your page, informing the search engine about the content of this page and assisting the user as well. To make your Title Tag highly optimized, try these tips:
- Give each page a different title
- Make it short but descriptive
- Try to make it catchy
- Include your primary keyword in it
- Keep it under 60 characters
Meta Description Attribute
It is another essential type of Meta tags, where it also appears on the SERPs for searchers but not on the web page itself.
In SERP, it appears directly below the Title Tag. Meta description attribute helps search engines and even searchers to understand what your page is about in more detail than the title tag. On another note, it’s worth mentioning that another function of this tag is to grab the searchers’ interest and make them click.
Google can choose the Meta tag by itself by taking part from your introduction, or you can write it on your own, but remember that Meta descriptions are not a direct factor in your page ranking. However, consider these practices for better results:
- Summarize it accurately and keep it under 160 characters
- Avoid generic descriptions
- Include a call to action
- Make it click-worthy
- Include your main target keyword in it
Meta Robots Attribute
This is the last type of meta tag we are discussing, and it gives search engines instructions on what to do with your page. For example, it tells the search engine whether it should include a page in “Search Results” or not; this is usually by using specific words in HTML: index/noindex. Also, it provides information for the engines about the links on your page, whether to follow these links or not, and using specific HTML terms like follow/unfollow.
Can you Set Meta Tags by yourself?
Meta tags aren’t hard to implement yourself, and you don’t really need programmer experience, just some experience with HTML will help. However, in some cases, using sites like WordPress makes it much easier, where using specific plugins like Yoast, for example, can do the work effortlessly.
Using SEO plugins can help you write your Meta Tag Title, Meta Description, Keyword Attributes, Alt Tags, and much more!
by Ahmad Shaghlil