SEO Question:What Are Meta Tags?
Hi, I need a definitive answer about which meta tags are important and which to avoid?
Behind every website, in the ‘Header’ section, live your meta tags. These are lines of code containing important data, that while not being visible on your page, are visible to search engines and are used (in many instances) to create your page listing in each search engine.
Important Meta Tags
<title>Up To 70 Characters Of Title Goes Here</title>
Every page needs a unique page title, and it is used as the main heading in search engine listings, as well as at the top of the browser window when the page is viewed.
Your page title should include your main keywords or search terms that you want to rank for, but all needs to avoid just being crammed with keywords (which soon becomes spammy).
Instead, if for example you sell pest control products, you might use;
<title>XYZ Company | Quality Pest Control Products | Poison & Traps</title>
There are different schools of thought as to whether it’s preferable to have your company name at the beginning, the end or not at all.
We have high ranking sites with the business name at the end, at the beginning and even in the middle of the title tag. We strongly encourage people to include their brand name as it looks more professional and our testing evidence is that Google give preference to sites with their Brand name prominent.
Meta Description Tag
<meta name=”description” content=”You have up to 155 characters to play with in your meta description tag.“/>
The meta description is used by search engines to make up the two lines of your listing entry below the title. Search engines use the content of the meta description tag to apply relevance across your page.
How to use a Description Tag
This is not the place where keywords should gather….. you should instead aim to write a teaser sentence, that makes searchers want to click on your listing and read more. Combined with this, you need to include relevant phrases, terms etc. but in a conversational way.
The meta description is your chance to attract potential visitors to your site from search engines, so choose your wording carefully.
Using our pest control example, your meta description might look like this;
<meta name=”description” content=”Branded pest control for all pests including rat, mouse & cockroach poison, traps, etc. Free next day delivery…“/>
Meta Keywords Tag
<meta name=”keywords” content=”You have up to 155 characters to prove you are a spammer!! DO NOT use meta Keywords.“/>
Last century, the meta keyword tag had some benefits, today, now that search engines are so much more intelligent than they used to be, all you will achieve by adding your list of keywords in the keyword meta tag is to alert the search engine as to the keywords that you want to rank for the most.
There is no benefit to using the keywords tag. It’s use will at best have no affect on your site, and at worst will get you excluded from search completely.
Additionally, there are a large selection of social media meta tag data, schema mark up data etc. you can add, but that’s for another post. To meet minimum requirement, make sure each of your pages has a unique title and meta description and you will begin to see the benefits in your search results.