Meta tags are like search engine optimization voodoo. Meta tags aren’t the sure all fix to move to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) but definitely are a piece of the pie to get there. It basically helps tell the search engines what your page is about.
Meta tags are code that lay within the header of the HTML and the main ones used are title tag, description meta tags and keyword meta tag.
- A title tag is what appears in the tab or bar of your browser, depending which browser you use, as well as in the search engine results page (SERP). It further helps the search engines explain what the page is about. A title tag should have less than 60 characters (including spaces) to accommodate most search engines.
- The description meta tag is a larger description of what the page is about. It also shows up in the SERP below the title and helps those searching to get a better idea about your page or website. This should give you an indication of how important it is. The more understandable the description is the better chance the consumer will understand what services or products you provide. A description meta tag should have less than 150 characters to accommodate most search engines.
- The last of the main meta tags is the keyword meta tag. This has recently lost its value in that too many people would put too many keywords in such a way that it was redundant or “spammy”. Since then, Google has given less weight to it so it is almost pointless. I still include 3-5 good long tail keywords for each page just in case. (A short tail keyword could be like car mechanic whereas a long tail keyword could be ford mustang car mechanic Palm Beach Florida.)
There are a couple of other points to mention here in that they are important to the optimization of your website, as a whole.
- Create unique and well written tags for each and every one of your pages. This is a great opportunity to add a few keywords and explain your website.
- The meta tags are located within the header code so they have a heavier weight of importance to the search engines. Think of putting the most important content at the top and work your way down. This is helpful to the search engines and the consumer. If a consumer loses interest in reading a page on your website, at least they would have seen the most important content, at the top. Make sense?
- On that same note, put the most important keywords in the beginning of your meta description as it is more important. Plus, if the search engine cuts if off due to too many characters, at least you had the most important keyword put out first.
- Even though you want to include keywords in your meta tags, still make a point to have them make sense. You are still writing to the consumer while optimizing for the search engines.
- There really isn’t a need to use your business name in your title tag as there shouldn’t be as much competition for your business name. However, if you feel it is necessary, but it at the end so if it gets cut off due to character length, you still have the important keywords in the beginning.
I hope this has helped explain meta tags and the importance of search engine optimization to your website as well as to the consumer. Should you need help with optimizing your website, please contact me with your questions or for a consult.
Please feel free to comment or ask questions below. Don’t forget to come back for the answer! 😉