Meta tags are snippets of information within the HTML code of your website that give search engines information about a page. They provide details to indicate where to rank a page and what information to display on listings for visitors. So meta tags should form an important part of your SEO strategy, without them search engines cannot rank your pages. There are many different types of meta tag, here we summarise the most important ones for SEO.
1. Title Tag
The title tag is the title of the web page. It is what Google and other search engines display in search engine results. It gives users a quick insight into the content of the page and whether it’s relevant to their query. The title tag is one of the most important meta tags because it’s visible to search engines and people who use the internet. It is your opportunity to capture the attention of visitors.
For creating your title tag follow these guidelines:
– Write a unique title tag for each page
– Be brief, but descriptive
– Avoid generic and vague titles like <Home Page>
– Try to match search intent
– Include your target keyword
– Create something click-worthy—not clickbait
– Keep it under 60 characters
2. Meta Description
The meta description is the summary of the webpage that appears under the title in search results. Although it is not used to rank pages, it is important as it tells users what the page is about and will determine whether or not they click on it. So, think of meta descriptions not as a ranking factor but as a way to increase your click-through rates. Ensure you’re adding creative descriptions with target keywords for your homepage, internal pages, and blog posts.
Guidelines for creating meta descriptions:
– Keep it to less than 160 characters
– Create individual descriptions for each page
– Avoid duplicate meta descriptions
– Be accurate, descriptive, and concise
– Try to match search intent
– Only include your target keyword where it makes sense
3. Meta Robots
Robots meta tags provide search engine instructions on whether you’d like them to crawl or index parts of your website.
They can take the following forms:
– Index/noindex – This tells the engines whether to show your page in search results or not.
– Follow/nofollow – This tells the engines what to do with links on your pages: whether they should trust and “follow” your links to the next page or not.
Robot’s meta tags are useful if you have a comment section on your blogs to prevent people backlinking to their site. In addition, if you have any duplicate content, you can add a nofollow tag to prevent duplicate content penalties.
4. Meta Viewport
A meta viewport tag sets the viewable area of a webpage. It is used to determine how your website will look on different devices which is important for SEO as it affects the user experience. With 48.6% of internet searches made on mobile devices, the viewport meta tag has become one of the best SEO practices. Web developers use it to determine the size and scale of a page, which allows for mobile-friendly websites.
Google says that the “presence of this tag indicates to Google that the page is mobile-friendly.” This matters because Google ranks mobile-friendly web pages higher in mobile search results.
Mobile users will usually not bother trying to read a page that loads as a desktop version and this will impact your rankings as it informs Google that there is something wrong with your website. So, you should use a meta viewport tag for every page of your website.
5. Heading Tags
Heading tags should be used to structure your content – the first heading using the H1 tag then subsequent headings using H2-H6. The usage of heading tags these days is a source of some debate. While H2-H6 tags are considered not as important to search engines, proper usage of a H1 tag has been emphasised in many industry studies.
They are important to organise your content:
– For search engines – it’s easier for them to understand well-organised content than to crawl through structural issues.
– For users – headings break up the text, navigating them through the page making it easier to understand.
Guidelines for creating heading tags:
– Keep them relevant to the content they describe
– Don’t overuse keywords, keep it easy to understand
– Make them specific – not part 1, part 2 etc.
6. Image Alt Tags
The image alt tag is used to describe an image on a web page. It is used because search engines cannot ‘see’ an image. So, helping them understand how an image relates to the content can help them relate it to queries. This is especially true for ecommerce sites where the images are fundamental to the site.
Guidelines for creating image alt tags:
– Use them for the most important images – those that are likely to appear in Google Images
– Make sure to use them on pages where there is little content other than images
– Keep them clear and succinct
– Use keywords carefully, only those that fit with the content of the page
Meta keywords were used to provide all the target keywords for a particular page. However, because this was easily abused Google hasn’t used keywords to rank a page since 2009. The ‘keyword stuffing’ of often irrelevant words carried out led Google to disregard it. Bing actually sees meta keywords as a spam signal, so best to not use it on your website.
There are many different types of meta tag, here we have focused on those most important for SEO. The fundamental ones are the title tag and description for every page of your site. If you need some help setting all this up just call us on 01202 650 333 or email email@example.com.Back to blog home