Since the beginning of (search engine) times, meta tags have been a big part of SEO.
Back in the days, they were one of the most important factors to influence search engines rankings.
Until… people started to abuse them to get these higher rankings.
After that, Google made the meta tags less important. However, they should still play a role in your SEO strategy and they can also help you improve your Google Ads Quality Score.
What are meta tags?
Meta tags are hidden within the source code of your website. Normal website visitors won’t = be able to see them on the page. They give more information about the page, which is being used when search engine bots are scanning your page.
Google can also pick up information from the meta tags to show within the Google search results. Remember those clickable headlines and the description when searching for your site on Google? Quite possibly the content of these is being pulled from your meta tags.
In a way, you can use the meta tags to improve the click-through rate of your organic listings. By tweaking your meta tags you might be able to make your organic listing more appealing so that more people will visit your site.
Let’s have a look at the most common and important meta tags:
1. Title tag
The title tag is the headline that shows up on your organic listing. It’s the part that is clickable. When you visit your web page it will also show up as the name of the page in the browser window.
Within Google the space for the headline is limited, so make sure you limit the number of characters that you use for the title tag as well. Make sure you stay within 60 characters.
Within your source code the title tag looks as follow:
<title>Your title tag</title>
2. Description tag
The description tag is the part where you write down what the page is about. In Google, this will pop up just underneath your title tag. If you compare SEO to Google Ads this would be the description line.
Make sure you write this for the user. It’s not necessary to put keyword spam in here. Weirdly written descriptions can have a negative impact on your organic rankings, as it’s less likely that people will click on your listing. You can also use a call to action in here (as in “read more”).
As recommended by Moz.com, your description tag should not exceed 300 characters.
Within your source code the description tag looks as follow:
<meta name=”description” content=”Your description of the page.”/>
3. Keyword tag
Of the three this is the less important one. None of the content in the keyword tag will be shown in Google, and Google barely the value of these tags. Reason for this is that (as said before) back in the day’s people filled these keyword tags with spam in order to try and improve their rankings.
By filling these correctly you might give Google a bit of a better understanding of what your page is about. Limit yourself to the most important keywords tho.
The keyword tag looks as follow:
<meta name=”keywords” content=”keyword1, keyword2, keyword3, etc.”/>