You’re probably already familiar with SEO, and maybe even some of the best practices that go along with it. Meta tags however, are one of the foundational elements of SEO. They provide the building blocks of ranking and should definitely be at the top of the SEO checklist for businesses who want to rank higher.
Despite being an element that is overlooked when it comes to SEO, meta tags can mean all the difference to website performance. They help websites have better display opportunities on search engine results pages and even help them become properly indexed.
Today, we’re here to break down Google meta tags and give you all of the information you need to create special tags that Google will understand.
What are Google Meta Tags?
Before diving into all things meta tags, it will be important to have a clear understanding of what they are. ‘Meta’ is the abbreviated form of the word metadata.
Simply put, meta tags are the text within the code of a web page which works to describe the content of that webpage.
This text is created so that search engines such as Google can better understand the content. It includes information such as a short description, the content type, and the title of the page.
There are some common examples of meta tags that are most often used for SEO.
Title tags are important because they are what Google pays the most attention to in terms of SEO. It’s more than likely you’ve seen a title tag before on your Google search results page. It is the text highlighted as a blue hyperlink.
Optimizing the title tag is an important part of maximizing clicks and improving your website ranking.
After the title tag, you’ll see what can be called a meta description. It is the next most important meta tag.
Meta descriptions can help improve your search engine ranking but, they don’t have an impact on it. This description is used to show a snippet of what searchers will get if they click on the title tag.
Meta keywords are a list of keywords that are separated by commas. While they were once one of the main factors to improving ranking, they are no longer a factor at all.
Meta robots work by providing search engine ‘spiders’ with specific demands. They can be thought of as a set of instructions for search engines, telling them what to do with your pages.
This can include following, indexing, noarchive, nosnippet, nocache, and notranslate.
Schema can be thought of as a markup to help label various parts of a website. This is so search engines can have a better understanding of the content that’s going to be available on the website.
Why are Meta Tags Important?
Meta tags pretty much go against the common saying “never judge a book by its cover”. They literally allow searchers to do exactly that – judge a website, or decide if they want to click on it, just from a short preview.
Your meta title and meta description serve as the first impression of your webpage. They can either entice a user to click, or do nothing at all. This is how we view the internet in today’s world.
This means getting your meta tags right is an important part of grabbing searchers interest AND helping your website to rank higher on search engine results pages. A well done meta tag will help to bring the most important elements of your content forward, to both searchers and search engines.
Best Practices for Meta Tags
It’s clear that putting time into creating your meta tags for search engines and users is important. Just as important as creating the content for your website itself!
Be sure to use these tips for crafting the best meta tags and get your website the attention it deserves.
You might also benefit from reading about our favorite 9 on-page SEO factors you need to know to rank higher here.
Title Meta Tags Best Practices
While it might be tempting to stuff as much as you can into the title tag, it’s best to keep things simple. Titles that are too long will most often get cut off by the search engine. Be sure to keep your title to about 50-60 characters.
Create a title that’s easy to read and understand, and be sure to think about what your potential customer would be most interested in seeing. It’s also usually best to incorporate your keyword at the start of your title.
Meta Description Best Practices
Meta descriptions should be kept somewhere between 120 to 155 characters including spaces. Use the description area to elaborate on what the page is about. Be sure to construct your text in a way that entices the searcher to want to click to read more.
Including keywords in your meta description can be great, especially if you use the same keyword you’re targeting in your title. Again, be sure to avoid keyword stuffing and keep things as simple as possible.
Meta Keywords Tags Best Practices
As mentioned earlier, meta keywords tags aren’t as important as they used to be. You can safely ignore taking the steps to optimizing meta keywords tags for search engines.
Meta Robots Best Practices
Using multiple meta tags is something to avoid as a best practice for meta robots. This is because it can cause issues with the code.
You should also try to avoid preventing any pages from getting indexed. There are many available tools that you can use to do a mock scan of your website and search for any incorrect noindex tags.
It’s usually best to go with lowercase attributes and values rather than uppercase as this is something that search engines can recognize. This will help with improving the code readability.
Schema Best Practices
Rather than letting updates go on without making changes, it’s always best to keep your schema updated as the information on your page’s changes over time. This could be relevant to businesses who are offering new products or services, or are going through a brand refresh.
Find a list of the most common types of schema markup for your business and keep it up to date! Also be sure to only markup the content that is going to be visible to those who visit your website.
Putting Best Practices into Practice
Now that you’ve got the lowdown on what meta tags are, why they’re important, and best practices, you’re ready to get started! Use the power of meta tags to your advantage and create great meta descriptions that Google will understand and use to improve your website ranking.
Not feeling up to the task? Or need some help getting started? Blue Water Marketing in Stuart, Florida is here to help! We can even assist you in all of your SEO needs, whether it be keyword strategies to drive traffic or some of our white-hat SEO techniques for higher rankings.Get in touch today to get a free proposal and get started!