Meta tags provide an easy opportunity to gain an advantage and rank in search engine results. This article will guide you through the most important meta tags, how to use them, and SEO best practices.
Creating and optimizing Meta tags is an essential practice for any SEO practitioner. They are a part of an HTML code that describes your page content to search engines and website visitors.
In short, Meta tags are invisible tags that make it easier for search engines to understand the web page content.
- What Are Meta Tags?
- Why Are Meta Tags Important for SEO?
- 5 Most Important Meta Tags for SEO?
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Canonical Tags
- Alternative Text (Alt) Tag
- Robots Meta Tags
What Are Meta Tags?
Meta tags, also referred to as metadata, are pieces of code that provide search engines with information about a website page.
Google and other search engines, use meta tags to understand the context of a webpage. They also use this information to display snippets in search results and for ranking purposes.
Meta Tag Location
Meta tags exist within HTML tags, commonly positioned towards the head section of the page on the code side.
Why Are Meta Tags Important For SEO?
Meta tags play a key role in optimizing search engines, including:
· Helping search engines determine the context of your webpage
· Helping searchers understand the content of your webpage
· Eliminating duplicate content issues
· Increasing clicks and organic search traffic
5 Most Important Meta Tags For SEO
There are quite a few places where you can place meta tags on your website, these are the five main points that would provide the best ROI for your efforts.
Let’s dive in.
1. Title Tags
These critical tags identify the title of a webpage, they are displayed in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and it functions as a preview of your website. It’s important for SEO, usability, and social sharing.
Title Tags Code Sample
Best SEO Practices To Optimize Title Tags:
· Include your main keyword in the title tag
· Every page should have a unique title tag
· Start your title tag with your main target keyword
· Add long-tail keywords in the title tag
· Embed modifiers in your title tag (Best | How to | Review | Best | Top | Tips | Find | Buy)
· Include numbers in your title tag
· Do not stuff your keywords
2. Meta Description
The meta description is a text that appears right below your title tag, it provides a brief summary of a web page. Google and other search engines often use meta description in search results, which is essential for getting leads to click through your listing.
Meta Description Code Sample
Best SEO Practices to Optimize Meta Description:
· Add your target keywords in the meta description
· Add a Clear Call-to-action (CTA) in your descriptions such as Call today | Apply today | Get in touch
· Create value by providing a solution to a problem or a benefit
· Avoid writing duplicate content
· Write compelling copy to encourage searchers to click
· Add any offers or discounts you have going on
3. Canonical Tags
A canonical tag (rel=”canonical”) is a snippet of HTML code that identifies the master version URL to search engines. By using a canonical tag we are telling search engines that this is the “preferred” version of a webpage to prevent duplicate content issues.
Canonical Tag Code Sample
Best SEO Practices To Optimize Canonical Tags
· Always use the absolute URLs for your page to be interpreted correctly.
· Periodically canonicalize your home page
· Always use lower case URLs to avoid confusion.
· Use the correct domain version of your webpage (HTTPS vs HTTP)
· Use self-referential canonical tags to make it clear to Google which page you want to have indexed.
· Use only one canonical tag per page.
4. Alternative text (Alt) Tag
Alternative text or Alt descriptions are used in HTML code to describe the contents and functions of an image on a webpage.
Alt Text Code Sample
SEO best practices to optimize Alt tags
· Name your images properly by using a descriptive image name
· Resize your images to their maximum display dimensions
· Create an image sitemap
· Host your images on a CDN (Content delivery networks)
· Implement a lazy loading strategy
· Avoid stuffing keywords in Alt text
5. Robots Meta Tag
Robots meta directives (also called “meta tags”) are snippets of code that provide crawlers instructions on whether to index or noindex a web page.
While there are a few robots meta tags available to use, these are the four main values for search engine crawlers:
· Follow: The search engine crawler should follow all links on a webpage and pass link equity, even if the page isn’t indexed.
· Nofollow: The search engine crawler will not follow any links on the page or pass along any link equity.
· Index: This meta tag is added by default, and tells the search engine to index the whole page.
· Noindex: tells the search engine not to index the page
Robots Meta Tag Code Sample
Not to index or not to follow
Index and follow this web page