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Meta Tags

What are meta tags?

Meta tags are HTML tags that contain information about a web page’s metadata. 

Since their purpose is to help search engines understand your site, meta tags do not appear on the web pages for visitors to see.

You can find them in the <head> section of an HTML document. 

Types of meta tags

There are many meta tags available to use, each with unique functionality.

Here are some of the most common meta tags to choose from:

  • Meta title tag ‒ displayed right under your website’s URL in the search engine results pages (SERP), bookmark list, and social networks
  • Meta description ‒ appearing below the title tags in SERPs, they are snippets that summarize a web page’s content
  • Canonical tag ‒ used to mark the preferred version of a web page, avoiding content duplication
  • Robots meta tag ‒ determine how search engine crawlers perceive your web page
  • Meta content type ‒ declare the media type and character set that your web page uses to make sure it is displayed correctly on all platforms
  • Viewport meta tag ‒ set the web page’s dimensions for an optimal mobile experience

Examples of meta tags

Now that you know about the most common meta tags, here are some examples of meta tags you can use on your website.

The first meta tag you are going to see on search engines is the title tag. It is encapsulated in the <title> tag.

<head>

<title>Insert your page title here</title>

</head>

The Meta description tag appears right below the title tag. It is written inside the <meta> tag, followed by the description attribute.

<head>

<title>Insert your page title here</title>

<meta name=”description” content=”Insert meta description here”>

<head>

 The Viewport meta tag has a similar structure to the meta description tag. You only need to change the attribute viewport and the content’s desired scaling and dimensions.

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width-device-width, initial scale=1.0”>

If you integrate all of the meta tags in the previous examples, it will look like this: 

<!doctype html>

<html lang=”en”>

<head>

<title>Insert your page title here</title>

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width-device-width, initial scale=1.0”>

   <meta name=”description” content=”Insert meta description here”>

  <body> 

<h1>What are meta tags</h1>

Insert relevant information about the heading here

<h2>Most common meta tags</h2>

Insert relevant information about the first subheading here

<h2>Most common meta tags</h2>

Insert relevant information about the second subheading here

   </body>

</html> 

Should you want to prevent search engine crawlers from indexing a specific page, you can add the following line of code to the <head> section:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>

Impact of meta tags on SEO

While they are not visible to readers, meta tags play a major role in determining your site’s ranking on SERPs.

Meta title tags and descriptions, for example, provide information about your page’s content to users who look up a specific search query. By previewing your website to searchers, you can drive traffic to the site and boost its click-through rate (CTR).

Some meta tags also influence how search engines perceive your website’s content. Robots meta tags are useful for preventing crawlers from indexing certain pages, while canonical tags help you avoid content duplication that earns you a penalty in SERPs.

Meta tags may also contribute to user experience. For example, using the meta content-type ensures your website is rendered correctly by browsers. Meanwhile, viewport meta tags help provide an optimal mobile experience by setting up the page’s visible area on small screens.

That being said, how meta tags impact your chances of ranking in SERPs depends on your type of content and your SEO strategies.

How to write title tags

Here is what you need to pay attention to when crafting title tags for your web pages:

  • Length ‒ keep the length between 50-60 characters so the entirety of the title is visible
  • Uniqueness ‒ do not reuse the same title tags as search engines will deem them duplicate content
  • Keywords ‒ try to incorporate keywords relevant to the page’s content at the beginning of the title tag
  • Positive first impression ‒ providing accurate information about the page’s content is the first step of building a lasting relationship with your audience

How to write meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are no less important than title tags. Here are several aspects you need to pay attention to when creating meta descriptions:

  • Length ‒ make sure the meta description is up to 160 characters to make sure the entity of it is displayed on SERPs
  • Calls-to-action ‒ invites people to execute certain actions, such as visiting the page or giving the advertised product a look
  • Informative ‒ make sure your meta descriptions are descriptive and accurate

Avoid reusing meta descriptions as search engines will see them as duplicate content, which can earn you a penalty that affects ranking.

If you lack time to customize a meta description for each page, you should focus on the ones you think will perform the best in SERPs.

Secondly, you should not forget to include relevant keywords anywhere on your meta descriptions. Otherwise, Google will generate a random generic text from your copy.

Written by

Author avatar

Matleena

Matleena is a seasoned eCommerce writer, with a particular interest in emerging digital marketing trends, dropshipping, and growth hacking. She’s addicted to coming up with new eCommerce business ideas and making them a reality; she deserves her nickname of ‘print on demand business mogul.' In her free time, she enjoys cups of good coffee, tends to her balcony garden, and studies Japanese.

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