SEO BEGINNERS GUIDE

Meta Tags Beginners Guide – First Step to Increase Website Ranking

Meta tags are one of the most fundamental elements of SEO. It’s a must for every website that needs to achieve higher ranking. What are meta tags? How you should use them? How to write meta tags? These are just some question this article will explain in “easy-to-digest” way.

Meta tags have been around since the mid-1990s. They have been a significant part in search engine history.

They were valued as a ranking factor before until folks started abusing their use in getting on the top of SERPs (search engine results). After that Google downgraded meta tags, some SEO experts even say put them out of the ranking factors.

We disagree, it doesn’t mean they’re not significant anymore. They're still important for your site’s SEO (search engine optimization). The search engine still read meta tags to get a simple, summarized idea of what your site is about and what precisely keywords are.

If you want that website attracts potential customers, don't overlook the value of meta tags. Search engines use meta tags to explain accurately what site is all about. And they’re also read by people who are searching for websites just like yours. Thus, it’s crucial to make them readable for both search engines and potential website visitors.

While SEO meta tags alone wouldn’t guarantee you that your website is fully optimized they play a significant role in helping engines rank your site in search results, so don’t overlook this core part of website SEO.

What is Meta Tag

A meta tag is a tag in HTML (hypertext markup language) that describes a specific aspect of the web page content. The presented information in a meta tag is utilized by search engines to index the page. It is positioned near the top of the HTML code in a web page, usually as part of the heading.

Hence, our team of SEO experts picks out 8 most important meta tags, various meta tags examples and one html attribute that you should know about search optimization.

Title Tag

It is a type of information that users see first in the SERPs. It’s the title of a page that provides a preview of what your content is about.

It’s important since it appears in the search results, but it’s also pulled out to display an anchor text. It signifies that title tag should be bright, illustrative, and typically not more than 60-70 characters.

If you can implement a keyword in these 60 characters, you can boost SEO, but what’s even more important is to add value. A title that has the proper keyword without being descriptive won’t necessarily lead to action or desired conversion.

A title tag isn’t just for users, but also for the search engines that discover content. So, you need to combine clarity with context to ensure that title is easily-digestive to any visitor.

If you’re practicing a plugin like Yoast SEO in WordPress website, it becomes easier to add title tag in the SEO field to see a page’s preview and how it can seem at search results.

Another method to add the title tag is via the site's HTML, which should look something like this example:

<head>
<title>Tittle Example</tittle>
</head>

Meta Description

The meta description provides an accurate description of the page’s content. It’s usually the element that indicates whether users will click on a page (CTR), which makes it crucial to spend time on its optimization.

In the past, the optimum length for meta descriptions was 150-160 characters, but a recent update to the way Google displays search results outcomes in longer snippets, up to 300 characters.

Like with little tags, you can add a meta description with a plugin like Yoast SEO, or code it manually in website’s HTML, like in the example:

<head>
<meta name= “description” content=”Here is an accurate description of my great webpage.”>
</head>

Content Type Tag

The content type tag is used for determining a page’s content type, and the character set it uses. Using this helps browser to understand and decode page and is therefore essential.

This is content type tag example:

<head>

    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />

</head>

Robots Meta Tag

The robots meta tag tells search engines which pages on the website should be indexed. These website meta tags serve a similar purpose to robots.txt. It’s generally used to prevent a search engine from indexing individual pages, while robots.txt will prevent it from indexing a section of the site or whole site.

Not every search engine will follow all commands, but below are some examples of robot meta tags and what they ask the crawlers (program that systematically browses the world wide web in order to create an index of data) to do:

Noindex – Informs s crawlers not to index that page;

Nofollow - Informs crawlers not to follow any of the links listed on a page, and also not to pass any value to linked page;

Noarchive – Informs crawlers not to include a cached version;

Noimmageindex – Informs crawlers not to index images on the page.

Canonical Tags

It is an HTML link tag with “rel=canonical" attribute that is used if you have a single page URL that has the identical content with other various page URLs.

By incorporating the canonical tag in the code, you inform search engines that this URL is the main page and avoid indexing other duplicate page URLS. A canonical tag Syntax:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/" />

Viewport Tags

The viewport tag is used for helping browsers understand and control the dimensions of the webpage.

Back in the days, there was no need for this tag since everyone viewed webpages on a desktop on similarly sized displays, but with the rise of mobile and tablet usage, the viewport tag is a necessity since these devices have different display dimensions. It’s now more critical to ensure that you’re sending the browser this information.

Proper implementation of the viewpoint tag will ensure that users adequately experience your website.

Example:

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1”>

Alt Tags

Alt (alternative text) tag is crucial for any image since search engines can’t read them. Therefore, you need to add adequate alt text to the images so the search engine can recognize them.

The syntax of alt text:

<image src= “http://examples.com/john.jpg” alt=”john” />

Since adding Alt tag is crucial for images optimization this is what to consider:

• Always use the original, proper type of image, because it is an essential step toward success;

• All images should include info about filenames;

• Alt text should be short, clear, and descriptive;

• Build an image setup;

• Use 50-60 characters, up to 16 words in the alt text;

• Use an optimal file size without reducing its quality for quicker page loading.

Header Code Meta Tags

This type of tag is used for headings creations, and by using header tags, you can change fonts.

The main elements of heading are h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6. H1 is the most important heading element, while the 6 is the least important.

There should be only one h1 on the web page.

Example of header tags:

<h1> 7 Tricks for Improved Business Security </h1>
<p> Paragraph of Content </p>
<h2> Business Secure Analysis </h2>
<p> Paragraph of Content </p>
<h3> Analyzes the Business Safety Performance with New Modern Methods </h3>

Hreflang

The hreflang isn’t html meta tag by definition, it’s an attribute. However, it’s a crucial attribute that informs Google which language your content is using on a webpage.

If your site uses multiple translations or serves different areas, you should absolutely use hreflang to ensure that the proper language version is being served in the adequate versions of Google.

It can help search engines rank your content better, and more significantly ensures users in different areas to get the best experience.

Example:

<link rel="alternate" href="http://www.example.com/" hreflang="en-us">

Meta Data Optimization

How to ensure your meta description and title tags to work well? Like most things in SEO, it’s about testing - looking at the data and seeing what works. The simplest way to do is to monitor CTR (click-through rates) in Google search console and find pages with high volume but low through CTR.

Optimize the meta data for using the steps outlined above:

• You need to monitor meta data constantly. Still, don’t make changes too often, since it can require a little time for any adjustment to have an effect and if you’re constantly switching things around, you will not be sure how it all works;

• Ultimately, even though CTR is a helpful metric, it’s not the only thing you should consider. A high CTR but a low average time on a page could show that even though your meta data is attractive, a webpage isn’t delivering what folks expect.

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