Meta tags are a major search engine ranking factor. So understanding how to craft perfect meta tag SEO is a must.
You want the search engines to be able to index, understand and absorb your content so that it can be presented to those looking for it.
Yes. Writing for your readers is hugely important. But don’t make the mistake of underestimating the power of a perfect meta description.
Meta Tag SEO Overview
You may not be familiar with what meta tags are. So, we are going to summarise them before moving onto how to use them.
Basically, meta tag SEO is when you add information to your web page code that helps search engines understand what your content is about.
When the search engines know what to expect, and that it offers readers valuable information, they are more likely to rank it higher in the SERPs.
Each page will have a variety of meta tags. These are mostly invisible to site visitors and are only available to the search engine crawlers.
The code that each meta tag snippet contains will explain different page elements.
However, some meta tag info that is readable by users are meta descriptions and title tags. Your meta description gives the reader a snippet of info about what to expect when clicking on your websites result in the SERPs.
Which meta tags are most useful?
It would be easy to think that every meta tag is equal. Just as is true with everything else about SEO, some are much more powerful than others.
In fact, some hugely popular meta tags that packed a real SEO punch just a few years ago are now completely irrelevant.
Both authorship meta tags and meta keywords used to be hugely valuable. Today, they are rendered as almost obsolete and hold no real power at all.
Here are the best meta tags to use:
The title tag is one of the most vital meta tags to use. The name gives this tag away… it’s all about letting the search engines know the title of your webpage.
The title tag looks like the following:
<title> your web pages title, headline or relevant phrase </title>
In the search results, this is the bold blue title at the top of your meta description information. Here are a few tips to keep your title tag in line with the best practices.
- Use your key words at the start of your title.
- Use a maximum of 60 characters.
- Write for humans and search engines.
- Use a different title on each page.
- Ensure the title is relevant to the content.
Basically your title should not only be easy for the search engine crawlers to read. But also for your readers to connect with.
Coming across as too robotic or machine focused can cause disconnect with your audience.
Keep it human… and use those keywords.
This is one that you probably already know about. The meta description is shown on the search results page when a user performs a search and your website is shown.
It basically serves as a call-to-action (CTA) to encourage the user to visit your web page over the competition.
And yes, it is true that the meta description doesn’t directly impact on where your page ranks on the search engines. However, when it comes to SEO it is priceless!
A meta description tag will look like the following:
<Meta name= ‘add your meta description details here content=”text”>
Think of your meta description as being a window into your unopened web page. It lets the reader know if the web page content is a value to them and encourages them to open it.
Here are a few tips for writing the perfect meta description.
- Keep it under 915 pixels / 140 characters.
- Sell the content to your readers.
- Add a call to action.
- Always use your primary key words.
Many websites state that you should use up to 320 characters. The thing is that pixels are now more important than characters and 320 characters is way too much.
Typically, anything over 140 characters will be cut off from the meta description shown on the search results page… not great for your SEO efforts.
The aim of the game is to add an overview of the content, show its value, and encourage the reader to click on the search engine result!
Spotibo is an amazing meta description writing tool that helps you stay within the correct length and pixel count.
For perfect SEO, you should always try to include the viewport tag which is important for mobile adaptiveness.
Basically, the viewport tag allows a screenshot of the content specified to be shown in a window.
It won’t be identical to what the user will see on your website, and it allows developers to scale and size the content so that it is optimised for mobile use.
Here’s what a viewport meta tag looks like:
<meta name= “viewport” content=width=device-width, initial-scale=1”>
Making sure that content is automatically adjusted for use a cross mobile device is also helps improve with site loading speed.
Site loading speed is hugely important and is a ranking factor on Google. If you ensure that your continent is mobile friendly and has a fast load speed, you will be rewarded with higher rankings.
But why is this? Well, the slower a page takes to load, the more likely the user is to bounce. The search engines notice this poor behaviour and your website will be flagged as one that provides a poor user experience.
The viewport tag can help improve page load speed across mobile devices making it invaluable for SEO purposes.
Robot Selection Tags
There are a whole host of robot meta tags that you can use on your website to ensure that you don’t get penalised for certain actions.
Basically, the robot selection tag tells the search engine crawlers to perform specific actions.
As an example, the nofollow tag can be used when you link to a website that you are not sure that you trust. Perhaps it has a high spam score that you don’t want to affect your website SEO.
The nofollow tag then tells the search engines that the links are not to be followed.
Here are a few of the robot selection tags that you can use:
- None. Informs search engines not to perform any actions on the page.
- Noarchive. Informs search engines not to archive content on the page.
- Nofollow. Informs search engines not to follow links listed on the page.
- Noimageindex. Informs search engines not to index images on the page.
- Noindex. Informs search engines not to index the page at all.
These can help your website avoid punishment from Google and other search engines by preventing duplicate content and spam score issues from arising.
Think of it as a bouncer at an exclusive club. It is either not letting the search engine in or only allowing it and if it follows specific actions.
Final Thoughts on Meta Tag SEO
There are literally hundreds of meta tags that you can use on your website. Depending on what you hope to achieve, different tags will perform different actions.
However, the four meta tags listed above are vital if you want your website content to rank highly in the search results.
CMS platforms such as WordPress make using these tags a cinch!
Installing the Yoast SEO plugin will present you with a meta description and meta title snippet editor.
This gives you a live preview of how your meta description will display along with a colour-coded bar that tells you when you have used too few or too many characters.
If you found this information useful, why not check out our Content Hub for more fantastic SEO related posts.
Have fun creating perfect meta tag SEO for your website and enjoy the rewards that come with it.