What Are Meta Tags, And How Do You Use Them?

Are you looking to increase the visibility of your website? Do you want to drive more customers to your brand and maximize sales? Whatever your goals might be, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a crucial part of digital marketing.  

The right SEO strategy can transform your business and help you to elevate your brand to the next level. However, it can also be a highly complex and confusing world that can seem like it is ever-changing. When it comes to improving your SEO, meta tags are a vital aspect of your website and can help to increase your ranking; however, if used incorrectly, they could also have a negative impact.  

What are meta tags, though, and how do you use them? We thought we would take a closer look…  

What are meta tags?

In their simplest terms, meta tags are what search engines such as Google and Bing use to understand what your content is about and how relevant it is to use search terms. The tags themselves are short bits of HTML code that are inserted into the <head> section of each page on your website.  

This means that you need to code these tags directly into your CMS. Although this might sound confusing, most platforms will have a simple section that will let you add your relevant wording with ease.  

How do meta tags help with SEO?

Every organization will understand the importance of Search Engine Optimization, and meta tags are a crucial part of that. The right meta tags will not only ensure that search engines are able to understand exactly what your pages are about, but they will also inform visitors of what to expect and help you stand out from the rest in search results.  

When it comes to ranking websites on search results, search engines examine multiple factors on a website. Increasingly, though, those websites that are giving visitors the very best experience possible are those which are being ranked higher. Meta tags support you in ensuring you are creating the very best first impression, ensuring they can get the information they need.  

Meta tags will also allow users to understand how to navigate your website, seeing you enjoy higher retention rates and an increased number of visitors.  

However, while the right meta tags can transform your website and boost your SEO, entering the wrong information can harm your reach. A bad setup could reduce your visibility; for example, entering incorrect can prevent your pages from being shown at all in search engine results. 

What are the most important meta tags to use?

There are many different types of meta tags to incorporate into your website, but the most important that you should focus on include: 

This is one of the most crucial elements of your web page and will specify to search engines and visitors exactly what it is about. It is important to remember that this tag will only show in search results and should not be confused with the title of your page topic.  

Title Tag

The best way to write a title tag is to ensure that you are summarizing the main topic of the page, ensuring you are utilizing your primary keyword in the process. You also want to ensure that it is truly unique and captivating, working to entice readers to click through to read more. When creating your title tag, make sure you remember that it cannot be more than sixty characters in total.  

Meta Description

The next important meta tag to include is the meta description. This should build upon your title tag, going more in-depth on what the page is about. Occasionally, Google may automatically generate this content if they believe your meta description is not accurate or of high enough quality, so it is vital that you are writing the very best copy you can.  

Writing a meta description can be tough, but you want to ensure that you are creating a personalized summation of what exactly your content is about. You should focus on including the relevant keywords in the first sentence; however, you should not try to simply add them in for the sake of it. The perfect meta description should be between 140 and 160 characters in length. 

Meta Robots Tag

This might sound like a strange phrase, but a meta robots tag is a key part of any web page and instructs search engines whether your pages should be indexed or followed, meaning they will be shown in relevant searches or whether these pages should not appear.  

When writing your meta robots tag, it is crucial that you are not blocking your most important pages from being viewed. This tag should be added into the <head> section of each of your website’s pages. 

Meta Viewport Tag

When it comes to viewing your pages, a meta viewport tag informs search engines how your site should be displayed and rendered on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. With the rise of smartphones, ensuring that your site is being displayed as it should on mobiles will mean your visitors are always getting the very best experience possible.  

Alt Tags

Of course, meta tags are not just related to the copy on your website. Images play a crucial role in the overall user experience, which is why optimizing them is an essential part of your SEO strategy. Alongside making sure that they look great on the page, you also want to ensure that your images are able to be read by search engines.  

Alt tags provide a text alternative to the image, ensuring that these search engines can understand what it is representing.  

Canonical Tag

Do you have multiple pages on your website that have very similar content? If you have lots of almost identical content, then canonical tags inform search engines which ones that they should prioritize. This is particularly useful if you have syndicated your content out and it has appeared on other websites and will mean you do not fall foul of a penalty for duplicate content. 

The right canonical tags will let search engines know which URL is the primary page, placing a higher emphasis on that website.  

Header Tags

Finally, you want to ensure that you are breaking your page up with relevant header tags. Using H1, H2, and H3 tags not only helps to structure to your page, making it easier for visitors to read, but they also support search engines in understanding what your page content is about.  

While it is possible to add up to six different styles of header tags to your page, the best practice is to use just three (H1, H2, and H3) to ensure the content remains clear and accessible.  

Want to find out how meta tags can help you?

Are you looking to improve your SEO and take your website to the next level? Our highly experienced team knows exactly what it takes to get your website ranking on the first page of search engines such as Google. So if you want to find out more about how we can help you, get in touch today!  

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