Home » SEO Techniques » Meta Tags in SEO: Best Practices and Tips

Meta Tags in SEO: Best Practices and Tips

What Are Meta Tags?

Meta tags in SEO are vital tools that feed search engines information about a webpage. Although these tags aren’t directly visible to website users, they’re instrumental in determining how search engines perceive and rank content. To those unfamiliar with the digital landscape, think of meta tags as the invisible script that speaks directly to search engines.

The current article is "2.7. Meta Tags in SEO" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
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Why Are Meta Tags Important in SEO?

Meta tags in SEO serve as communication tools between your website and search engines. They provide clues about the content of a webpage, influencing its search ranking and the likelihood of users clicking on it from the search results.

Crucial Meta Tags You Should Know:

Title Tag

A top-tier title tag defines your webpage’s title as showcased in search engine results and displayed in the browser’s title bar. In the context of a post, the title tag is used to set the post’s title. A properly optimized title tag can drastically enhance your page’s click-through rates. While the title tag is not a meta tag, it provides information about the page as other meta tags. Because of that, it is considered as a meta tag. The title tag should be placed within the head section of your HTML document. HTML example:

<title>Example Title</title>

 Meta Description

Acting as a short synopsis of a page’s content, this appears beneath the title in search results. Though this meta tag doesn’t affect the SEO ranking directly, a captivating meta description with a call to action can draw users to your site. This tag is also placed inside the head tag. HTML example:

<meta name="description" content="This is an example of a description meta tag.">

 Meta Robots

This is one of the meta tags in SEO that provides guidelines to search engines on indexing a page. It employs commands such as “noindex” and “nofollow” to offer direction. Also placed inside the head tag. HTML examples:

Allowing all search engines to index the page and follow the links:

<meta name="robots" content="index, follow">

Preventing all search engines from indexing the page and following the links:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">

Allowing the page to be indexed but preventing the links from being followed:

<meta name="robots" content="index, nofollow">

Preventing the page from being indexed but allowing the links to be followed:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow">

You can read more about the Robots’ Meta Tags and Examples in Google Docs.

Canonical Tag

When your site contains multiple pages with similar or duplicate content, the canonical tag is your tool to inform search engines which variant is authentic, assisting in circumventing duplicate content dilemmas. The canonical tag is generally implemented via a link element, not a meta tag, but it is still essential for SEO. Placed inside the head tag. HTML Examples:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/preferred-url" />

In this example, the link element with the rel attribute set to “canonical” indicates the preferred URL of the current page to search engines. The ‘href’ attribute with the URL specifies the preferred version of the page.

Canonical Tag for Self-Referencing:

    <link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/current-page-url" />

In this case, the canonical tag references the URL of the current page itself, which is a common practice to reinforce the canonical URL to search engines.

More about Canonical Tags and Specification On Google Docs.

More Meta Tags

Here is the list of all the Meta Tags that Google Supports on Google Docs. The rest of the tags aren’t relevant to the SEO.

Meta Tag Management through WordPress and Other CMS

Utilizing WordPress or other Content Management System (CMS) simplifies many aspects of website management, including handling meta tags. However, users need to understand the fundamental concept of meta tags.

CMSs, including WordPress, provide intuitive interfaces for setting and modifying these tags to enhance the website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Although the CMS takes care of the technical implementation, a basic understanding enables users to effectively leverage the provided options for meta tags, ensuring that the website remains competitive in search engine rankings, improving its visibility and traffic.

Guidelines for Optimization

In the realm of meta tags in SEO, it’s imperative to:

Keep It Relevant: Ensure your title tags and meta descriptions genuinely echo the page’s content.

Stay Within Length Limits: Title tags should ideally range from 50-60 characters, and meta descriptions must stay below 160 (around 150 characters is preferable) to render effectively across most search engines.

Strategically Employ Keywords: Weave pertinent keywords into your meta tags, particularly within the title tag and meta description. However, avoid overstuffing; maintain a natural and user-friendly tone.

Be Compelling: Your meta description is your chance to “sell” your page to potential visitors. Make it attractive!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Awareness of meta tags in SEO also means understanding common mistakes:

Duplicate Tags: Ensure each page on your website has unique meta tags to avoid confusion for search engines.

Skipping Meta Tags: Not using meta tags is a missed opportunity for optimization.

Keyword Stuffing: Overloading your meta tags with keywords can be spammy and lead to penalties.

The Rise and Fall of the Meta Keywords Tag

In the early days of SEO, the meta keywords tag was a popular tool for website owners to signal to search engines what topics their content covered. Web admins would populate this tag with keywords, hoping search engines would consider them when determining page relevance.

However, this tag was frequently abused by individuals looking to manipulate rankings over time. As a result, search engines like Google began to discount the significance of the meta keywords tag, with many disregarding it completely.

Today, the meta keywords tag is primarily considered obsolete and has no impact on search engine rankings. Modern SEO practitioners advise against its use, focusing instead on producing quality content and employing legitimate on-page and off-page SEO strategies.

 Final Thoughts on Meta Tags in SEO

Though they may appear inconsequential, meta tags wield considerable influence in SEO. By grasping and adeptly optimizing them, you pave the way to boost your site’s visibility and enrich the user experience.

The current article is "2.7. Meta Tags in SEO" of our Complete SEO Guide Box.
Previous Article: 2.6. How to Get Backlinks. Next Article: 2.8. On-Page SEO


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