SEO Meta Tags – Ultimate Guide

The term SEO stands for “Search engine optimization”. It is the practice of improving the quality and quantity of your website traffic through organic results on search engines.

Hope you’ve understood the importance of SEO.

Now, it’s time to implement on-page and off-page SEO techniques to your website, whether you’re running a newbie or improving your existing website. There are several SEO techniques to improve your ranking on search engines. It includes link building, content marketing, social media marketing, social bookmarking, alt tag, meta tag, influence marketing and more.

Let’s discuss SEO Meta Tags, how to write meta tags for SEO. Also, how to use meta tags for SEO.

What is SEO meta tags?

Meta tags are probably snippets that describe your website’s content. These tags are invisible, they don’t display on the webpage by themselves. SEO specialists can write meta tags in the source code of the webpage. These tags are used to provide information about the webpage for search engines and visitors. Keeping it simple, meta tags important, the content descriptors will help both search engines and visitors what the web page is all about.

Meta tags should be placed in the “HEAD” section of the source code.

<head> <meta name=”description” 

content=”The written content will be displayed on search results”></head>

In short, meta tags will make the search engines work super easy to define what your website is about. Hence meta tags play an important role in SEO. Meta tags can influence your CTR (click-through rate).

Why meta tags are important in SEO?

Whether it’s 2021 or 2030, meta tags play a crucial role in search engine optimization. As mentioned above, meta tags are responsible for offering additional information about your brand to visitors and search engines who encounter your website in the search results. These meta tags can be optimized for better results. All you need to do is highlight the valuable keywords or information and make your site stand out from your competitors.

Search engines always respect the sites that have a good user experience. Meta tags are here to offer an excellent user experience. Make sure your website is offering the best user experience to attract search engines. Meta tag will help with additional information that is required for the visitors. Keep your meta tags clean and clear.

Meta tags for SEO are the primary piece of content that is used to decide whether to click on your website or not. So, it’s crucial to use high-quality meta tags on the website.

There are few meta tags for SEO. that plays a key role in search engine rankings. Others might have less impact on your rankings. Let’s discuss the list of meta tags for SEO.

Important meta tags for SEO

In search engine optimization, digital marketing experts tend to concentrate on few major aspects rather than focusing on everything. Among all the aspects, link building is the prominent thing to SEO.

Focusing on a complete SEO strategy can be a win-win solution to boost your rankings and conversions. As part of a comprehensive strategy, concentrating more on meta tags is important for your SEO.

Every digital marketer should know how to write tags for SEO and how to use meta tags for SEO. Because writing and using the meta tags is important. Also, it’s an excellent way to communicate with visitors and search engines.

Let’s discuss in detail how to write and use meta tags for SEO.

Title tags

Many people assume the meta title is simple and straightforward. There is nothing to mess with them. But in reality, title tags will have great potential.

Meta title in SEO is the HTML element that is used to specify the webpage title. The ultimate goal of the title tag is to tell search engines and readers what they can expect from the webpage.

Title tags are the important meta tags to discuss. Because title tag will have a direct impact on your search engine rankings. Users can find the title tag at top of the web browser. The title tag is useful for both search engines and users. Users will get to know about your webpage just with the title and stop them shuffling between multiple tabs on the desktop.

How to write a title tag for SEO?

  • Make sure to write a unique and catchy title that describes your web page content concisely to search engines and visitors.
  • The length of the title should be between 50 to 60 characters. Keep a note, search engines can cut down the long title with the “….” extension. There may be a chance of omitting the primary or secondary keywords. 
  • Never overdo keywords in the title tag. This will have a huge impact on the user experience. Avoid listing more keywords in the title or repeating the same keyword again and again.
  • As per analysis, putting primary or important keywords at the beginning will have a great impact on rankings. It is recommended to add primary keywords first.
  • Add your brand name to the title tag. Yes, you’ve heard it right. Adding the brand name will generate more click-through-rate.

Meta description

A meta description is the important HTML attribute that provides information about your webpage. The content in the meta description will appear in the form of a snippet below your title. Finding the meta description is easy, right-click on the webpage and choose “view source”.

Meta description really matters!!!

The meta description will have a huge impact on SEO efforts. Simply put, the meta description will act just like an “organic ad text”. Hence meta description is important to raise your CTR of your SERPs. It means visitors will see your web page in search results, click on your link and land on the website. Hurray!!! More traffic for your website.

Meta description informs the search engines and visitors about the summary of the webpage. Make sure the meta description is short, clear and relevant. The meta description will convince the visitor whether to click on the page or not.

However, the meta description doesn’t have a direct impact on rankings. But the CTR will gradually increase with the right meta description.

How to write a meta description tag for SEO?

Following are the best practices to write a meta description that generate clicks, traffic and conversions.

  • The meta description should not exceed more than 155 characters.
  • Pay attention to your customers while writing meta descriptions. For example, if you’re writing a meta description for a mobile, you need to focus on how the mobile can make your customer’s life easier.
  • Write short and unique meta descriptions. The content should match the user’s intent.
  • Include target keywords in every meta description. Make sure all the primary keywords are displayed in your meta description. Google will highlight your keywords whenever the user’s query matches your meta description.
  • Write legible and readable content while writing meta descriptions. This is important. The description should look human-written.
  • Don’t stuff target keywords in the meta description. This could be bad practice. Users may assume that your website is spam and untrustworthy.
  • Write meta descriptions that are relevant to your webpage content. Make sure every description is as compelling and appealing to search engines and visitors as possible.
  • Never ever duplicate your meta descriptions in any case. As with your title tags, your meta descriptions tags should also be written in a unique way. Make sure the meta descriptions should be different from one another.

Header tags

You’ve written excellent content on every webpage and published it. But wait a moment, how does the content look like? How well the content is organized? Do you use any heading tags?

If you’ve not yet organized your content with the help of heading tags, then you’re at high risk. Users may find your content online but they don’t read it. Heading tags will help users to attract attention and retain the users.

Heading tags are used to outline the content on your website. An H1 tag is considered the biggest heading. It is used while writing the title or important information. Other heading tags such as H2, H3, H4, H5 and so on are used in the form of numerical order. As the size of the heading gets decreased, the importance will also get decreased.

Header tags will serve as the primary function for both search engines and users.

Best practices

Like other SEO strategies, header tags play an important role in website ranking in-direct way. Headings will make your content scannable and easier for users to read.

Following are the header meta tag best practices for SEO

Use headers tags to provide proper structure

Header tags such as H1, H2 and H3 will provide a proper structure for your content. H1 tag should indicate your title. Highlight the title with the H1 tag. Then the H2 tag should describe the important elements in your content. Subsequent header tags i.e H3, H4,, H5 and H6 should serve as sub-heading.

Break up the content

It’s a universal fact that scannable content is easy to read. It means search engines show more value to readable content. As per reports, just 16% of users read complete content on the website, the remaining users just scan the content. People scan the content and share it with their friends. When the content gets shared by lots of people, it will have an impact on search engine rankings.

Add keywords

It’s worth adding the target keywords in the header tags whenever possible. It doesn’t mean you need to stuff all your heading with keywords. Make sure the content is readable and include keywords in a natural way. Don’t make it spam by adding more keywords.

Use only one H1 tag

H1 plays a prominent role in your content. They look bigger and appear in the form of titles. Using more than one H1 tag on your content may look odd. When you use several H1 tags in the article, this may look like every section is important.

Maintain consistency

Keeping your header tags such as H1 to H6 consistent is the best way to improve user experience. When the headings on the webpage are consistent, it will leave a first impression. On the other hand, keep the heading short and sweet. Keep all the heading at the same length. You can limit the heading to upto 70 characters.

Make the heading interesting

This rule is applicable to all content writers. Create an excellent and interesting heading. Also, you need to review the heading before publishing. As the header tags will make your content scannable and readable, make sure they’re interesting. Always, give special attention to H1 tags, because user’s will notice heading 1. Use the header tags in the right way and attract the reader’s attention.

Image alt tag

The alt tag is popularly called “alt description”. The image alt tag is one of the well-used HTML attributes to provide alternative text for images. This is useful for search engines. Always write an alt description for your images to have a positive impact on your rankings.

Purpose

It’s an open fact that search engines such as Google and Yahoo do not interpret images and other visuals. But using images is important to connect your website with the users. Image alt tags are here to rescue you by providing alternative text that can be read by Google and other search engines.

Image optimization plays an important role in SEO. Optimize all your images and drive better organic traffic. Also, there are few users who search Google images for multiple reasons. Adding the images and optimizing them properly will offer a backlink. Whenever users open your image on Google Search, they will redirect to your website.

Keep a note, while optimizing your images, using the right image alt text is important to attract visitors and valuable links from multiple sources. Don’t forget to include target keywords in your image alt tag for better ranking.

Best practices

  • Digital marketing experts optimize their images to improve their page speed by using similar keywords for similar products.
  • Make sure the alternative text of the image is short. This will have a maximum impact. It’s said that short image alternative descriptions are likely to be interpreted and indexed by search engines.
  • Mention the topic name. For example, if the blog is related to “tips to make money”, your image alt description must be “easy money”. Also, you can add the topic name in the image alt tag.
  • Adding one focused keyword is a good practice while writing the alternative description for images.
  • Be aware of keyword stuffing. Search engines can consider your website as spam when you’ve too many keywords in the image alt description. 

Canonical tag

A canonical tag is represented as “rel canonical” in the HTML code. These tags will have the most image on search engine optimization. Keeping it simple, a canonical tag is an excellent method of telling the search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) that the URL represents the “Master” copy of your webpage. In general, these tags indicate which URL needs to be displayed on the search results.

Code sample – <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://zeen.com/seo-checklist”/>

Purpose

A canonical tag is used to get rid of duplicate content or duplicate URLs on the website. Using canonical tags is the better way to stay away from SEO related errors caused by duplicate content that appears on several URLs. Therefore canonicalization does matter in search engine optimization. Let’s consider, when there are several copies of the same content, search crawlers may skip your content. When search engines don’t crawl or miss your content, this will affect your rankings. Canonical tags will rescue and help you to have complete control over similar or duplicate content.

Best practices

Duplicate content and similar content problems can be pretty difficult and tricky. Following are a few key points to remember while using the canonical tag for your website.

  • Canonical tags are self-referential. It’s absolutely fine when your canonical tag is indicating your current URL. For example, if URL A, B and C have similar content, you can consider A as the canonical version.
  • Canonicalizing your main page or homepage is a proactive way to prevent unnecessary problems. Many people link to their home page when they cannot control issues.
  • It’s important to check your canonical tag throughout your website. Especially, if you’re running an e-commerce platform, spot-checking your tags are important.

Meta robots

This is something interesting!!! Meta robots are commonly used to indicate to search engines “how the web pages need to be crawled?”

Code sample

<meta name=”robots” content=”index”, follow”>

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

Why are meta robots important for SEO?

If you’re presenting the meta robots in the wrong way, there might be the catastrophic impact when your website is presented in the SERPs. Keep in mind and use the tag in the proper way.

Following are the meta robots values

  • Follow – Indicating bots to crawl your website links.
  • No-Follow – Telling bots to stay away from these links. It means, indicating the bots not to crawl the links on the website.
  • Index – Mentioning bots to index these web pages.
  • Noindex – Indicating bots stay away from indexing these webpages.

Few digital experts use <meta name=”robots” content=”none”>, this is similar to “index and follow”. When you don’t set any meta robots, it is considered as “index and follow”.

Best practices

  • Always use meta robots when you really want to deny or restrict the webpage. Google will stop crawling the restricted web pages according to your choice.
  • Never ever block your web pages with the robot tags in the file “robots.txt”.

Meta viewport

Have you ever heard about meta viewport? No!!! You need to have a look. Meta viewport tag is commonly used to set the visible portion of your web pages. These tags will instruct the web browser on “how to render the web page?”. According to the preference you can render your website on multiple screen sizes. Viewing your web page differently on desktop, tablet and mobile is the best practice to attract an audience.

Code sample – <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.5″>

Purpose of the meta viewport

When meta viewports are presented on your webpage, search engines assume you’ve developed a mobile-friendly website. This will have a great impact, search engines often rank better for the web pages that are mobile-friendly.

Most of the users often hit the exit or back button when they encounter the desktop version on the mobile. This will annoy users and accessing the desktop version could be complicated in the mobile or tablet. When users bounce back, this will send negative signals to the search engines. Therefore make sure your website is properly optimized and designed for mobile, tablet and desktop.

Best practices

  • Apply meta viewport tag on every web page.
  • Make sure to use the “standard” viewport tag unless you have a clear idea of what you’re doing.

Meta charset

Meta charset is one of the effective HTML attributes. The main purpose of the meta charset is to encode the characters in the document. In other words, meta charset tells the web browser “how to display the text on the web page?”.

Surprisingly, there are thousands of different character sets available, but the most commonly used on the website are

  • Unicode (UTF‑8)
  • Latin alphabet (ISO-8859-1)

Why is meta charset important for SEO?

A document is the collection of numbers, characters, visuals and more. Using incorrect or improper character encoding can display errors. Yes, you’ve heard it right, characters can appear in an unreadable format. When an audience encounters unreadable characters on the website, they swap to another website without wasting time. In other words, character formatting errors will have a great impact on user experience. 

That can lead to serious SEO issues such as:

  • Users will never stay on your website.
  • The bounce rate will be increased.
  • Users spend less time on your website.
  • Search engines will never understand your content.
  • People will not show interest in your website or link your website.

Hence it’s recommended to use a meta charset whenever possible.

Best practices

  • Always use the meta charset on entire web pages.
  • Use UTF-8 in required web pages.
  • Never write incorrect syntax on your HTML code.

Hope you have a clear understanding of how to write meta tags for SEO and how to use meta tags for SEO. Now, let’s discuss a few key things to remember while optimizing your meta tags.

Things to remember during optimizing the meta tags

Keywords play an important role in SEO. Using keywords in the meta description, alt tags, title tags around your website is necessary. Don’t use similar keywords in multiple meta descriptions or titles. Use unique keywords, because using similar keywords can hurt your ranking.

Use the keywords whenever required. Don’t stuff the keywords in unnecessary content. Using your keywords in relevant content will sound good. For example, when you use “Mango” as the meta tag, make sure your users are searching for the information that is related to fruits. When the search intent is similar to your meta tag, you can rank well on search results.

Meta tags should be clear, concise and understandable. No matter whether you’re writing a header tag or meta description, make sure they are easy to understand.

Wrapping up

Meta tags are commonly used to provide information about your web page in the HTML language of the document. Understanding and following the best practices of meta tags for SEO is important. The concept of how to use and how to write meta tags for SEO is not complicated. Make sure you’ve understood the above-mentioned meta tags for SEO to prevent SEO issues.

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