To understand what meta tags are, let’s recap on what SEO means.
What is SEO?
SEO or search engine optimization refers to the keywords and data used on your website that help makes your business’s content visible online. There are two types of SEO, off page which mainly focuses on strengthening your website’s credibility via the use of backlinks, and there is technical SEO, which refers to the actual content seen on your website that should comprise relevant keywords so that Google’s algorithm gives it a high ranking. For more insight, click here to read our previous blog where we delve a little deeper into understanding SEO.
What are Meta Tags?
In short, meta tags provide information about your website to the search engine results page, SERP.
So, to break it down, when people type something into their Google browser, let’s say they type jeans. Then, even before you have entered this search, the search engine will begin predicting phrases such as “black jeans”, “ripped jeans”, “how to wear skinny jeans” etc. Once you have typed in your search and you click enter, Google will show you a page of results that are relevant to your search. For your website, you would ideally want it to appear on this first page of results when people have typed in a search that is relevant to your products or services.
How do Meta Tags Work?
In saying that, when you are looking at this page of results, you will notice certain phrases and words seem to stand out. This is thanks to the help of meta tags. Meta tags cannot actually be seen on the website itself because they are inserted into the HTML of the document, meaning that it is only legible to search engines.
So, Why Are Meta Tags So Important?
The best way to explain the importance of meta tags is by once again looking at our example of jeans. Let’s assume that you have typed in “black, ripped, skinny jeans” in your search engine because you have the intention of buying a pair online. Your browser has yielded the results, and the first link that appears shows you that all your terms appear on this page. So, naturally, you are inclined to click on this page. This is what makes meta tags so important.
Search engines place a high value on providing users with information that is relevant to their searches. And so, if your website uses its meta tags correctly, it will ensure that users have a positive user experience when searching for information because they are being provided with relevant information.
Think back to all the times you have searched for something; you click the first result that you receive, and this happens to not be what you are looking for. Almost immediately you will exit the website and try clicking on another, and if you still do not find the information that you are looking for, then you will most likely alter your search question to something more specific.
Different Types of Meta Tags
The title tag is one of the first things that users will notice in your SERP results. The title tag can be specified to display what you want visible on SERP, meaning that it does not necessarily have to be the entire headline, but rather, it can be shortened to highlight the main point.
That being said, avoid clickbait titles. Instead, be clear, concise, and punchy with your title tags. Additionally, ensure that a target keyword appears in your title.
The meta description appears underneath the title tag and provides users with a small excerpt of what the content is about. Usually, this is the most important determiner as to whether or not users will click on your page. Ideally, this section should be between 100-160 words, but not more than 160.
Robot Meta Tags
Robot meta tags help determine which pages on your website should be indexed or not. For example, let’s assume your website has a page listing notable achievements/milestones. Now, this may be of great importance to your website as a whole, but it does not necessarily need to be indexed since the actual content on this page will most likely be thin and you wouldn’t want SERP to show these results.
Instead, you would want your services and product pages to be indexed, and in this case, a robot meta tag will be used in this page’s header.
Viewport Meta Tags
The viewport meta tag is important, especially for creating a mobile friendly user experience. Since many people today surf the net using devices of all sizes and shapes, you’ll want to ensure that your website is compatible with all these different specifications, not just a desktop. For this to occur, you will use a viewport meta tag below the head section of your webpage.
Now that you have learned all about the importance of meta tags and their different uses, it is time to implement this onto your webpage. Unsure of where to begin? Then how about leaving it up to the experts? Here at HaystackSEO, we strive to ensure that your business is visible online. So, don’t wait, reach out to us today and let’s begin your digital marketing journey.