Understanding Meta Tags: Definition, Purpose, and Best Practices [2023]

Understanding Meta Tags

Meta tags are powerful tools that can make a big difference to your website’s SEO without needing extra content. Optimising meta tags lets you get more visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) and brings more people to your website.

You need to be careful when using meta tags because they can either help your website get a good position in search engines or place your site far behind the first page.

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What Are Meta Tags?

Meta tags are snippets of code placed in a web page’s source code. They give more information about the content on that page and help search engines understand what the page is about. 

They are typically included in the head section of a webpage’s HTML code and can include information such as the page title, description, author, keywords, and other metadata. Well-crafted meta tags can improve a website’s visibility, attract more visitors, and improve search engine rankings.

How do Meta Tags enhance SEO?

Learn How Meta Tags Enhance SEO

Optimising meta tags can improve your website’s visibility in SERPs and rank higher in Google search results. 

Title tags tell search engines what words to use when displaying your website in SERPs. Description tags give a brief summary of what’s on the page, and keyword tags tell search engines which keywords are related to that page. 

Optimising these meta tags correctly can help ensure that your page has the correct titles and descriptions in SERPs, increasing user engagement and click-through rate (CTR). Moreover, meta tags also help boost your SEO rankings by providing relevant information for crawlers to index appropriately.

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Different Types of Meta Tags

Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are HTML tags that provide information about the content on a web page. They help search engine crawlers identify and classify pages.

Meta keywords are no longer as important in determining search engine rankings because they have been largely removed from Google’s ranking algorithm. This is due to potential misuses, such as keyword stuffing, which can lead to penalisation by search engines. 

While meta tags still play a role in SEO strategies, they should be used correctly and accurately to reflect the page’s content and be relevant to search queries. However, Google’s algorithm considers other factors when determining ranking positions, such as keyword density, relevancy, and site structure.

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Meta Description

A meta description is an HTML element that summarises a web page. It is displayed as part of the search snippet and helps search engines understand the nature of the page’s content. 

Optimising Meta Description

Meta descriptions should be concise, clear, and accurately describe the content of the page. 

They should also include relevant keywords to help your page show up in searches. When writing meta descriptions, it’s important to keep them under 155 characters, so they don’t get cut off in search engine results pages. 

Doing this will help ensure that your meta description is seen by potential visitors and can help drive more traffic to your website.

Title Tag

A title tag is an HTML element that provides a brief and concise webpage description. It displays in search engine results pages (SERPs) as the page’s title, and it should accurately reflect the page’s theme. 

Google explains why title tags are important for search engine optimisation or SEO.

Optimising Title Tags

When writing title tags, your main objective should be to use keywords that accurately describe the content of your page. Title tags should also be kept short (ideally less than 60 characters) so they don’t get cut off in SERPS. 

Optimising title tags can improve your rankings and provide a better user experience, with more relevant results showing up in search results. They also serve as a first impression to potential visitors and can influence whether or not they click on your page.

Also, consideration should be given to how your title tag will look when shared on social media platforms. Ensure it’s catchy enough to grab people’s attention and encourage them to click through to your website. Finally, remember to include any necessary HTML tags when creating your title tag to display correctly in SERPs and on social media platforms.

Robots Meta Tag

Robots meta tags are a type of HTML tags that provide instructions to search engine robots on how to handle certain pages. Using these tags, you can tell search engines whether they should index a page or not and if they are allowed to follow any links on the page.

Optimising Robots Meta Tag

When creating your robots meta tags, you can use the index and follow values to control what search engine robots do with your pages. The index value tells a robot whether or not it should add the page to its index. If set to noindex, the robot will not add the page to its index. The follow value tells a robot whether it should crawl any links found on the page. If set to nofollow, then the robot will not follow the links.

When optimising your robots meta tags, there are key elements to keep in mind. First, ensure that you have a noindex tag for any pages you do not want search engines to index, such as login/registration or administrative pages. You should also include a follow tag for any pages you want the search engine robot to crawl and follow all links on the page.

Consider including additional directives like noarchive, which prevents caching of your page in browser caches and search engine results, and nosnippet, which prevents displaying snippets for your page in SERPs.

Remember to check your URLs periodically to ensure that the title tags are optimised for both search engines and potential visitors alike!

Viewport Meta Tag

The Viewport Meta Tag is a tag that provides the browser instructions on how to control the page’s dimensions and scaling. It is most commonly used in Responsive Web Design, which allows a website to adapt its layout and design according to the size of the device it is being viewed on.

The Viewport Meta Tag can be used to set the width and initial scale of the viewport, as well as other attributes such as minimum-scale, maximum-scale, and user-scalable. This helps ensure that web pages are optimised for all devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones.

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Optimising Viewport Meta Tags 

Using viewport meta tags can help improve your SEO rankings, as search engines consider how well-optimised your website is for different devices when ranking sites in search results.

To use viewport meta tags, you need to add a <meta name= “viewport” element in the <head> section of your HTML document. This element should include attributes such as width and initial-scale, which will determine how large or small your content appears on different devices.

You should also ensure that you have an appropriate <meta name= “viewport” tag with width or initial-scale attribute set for each page of your website, as this will ensure that all pages are optimised correctly for different devices.

Optimising viewport meta tags can ensure that your website looks great no matter what device it is being viewed on and improve the user experience while helping boost SEO rankings simultaneously.

Meta Tags Summary

In conclusion, meta tags play a vital role in SEO optimisation and can help to improve website visibility and ranking in search engine results. Optimising your meta tags correctly requires considering the length of the title tag, including keyword phrases, creating effective meta descriptions, and ensuring all URLs have unique titles and some form of meta tagging rule applied. 

Utilising best practices and keeping up with SEO trends can help you utilise meta tags that will boost your website’s online presence and attract more visitors.

For help optimising your websites meta details, reach out for a free consultation or check out our digital marketing services.

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