What are Meta Tags?

Importance Rating of 8/10

Meta information, also known as meta tags, refers to the elements of HTML code that provide information about a webpage’s content. These tags are placed within the head section of a webpage and are not visible to website visitors.

Instead, meta information is primarily utilized by search engines and other web services to understand and categorize the content of a web page.

<meta> tags always go inside the <head> element, and are typically used to specify character set, page description, keywords, author of the document, and viewport settings. Metadata will not be displayed on the page, but is machine parsable. Website software such as WordPress or using a provider such as Squarespace, this information is auto-generated.

Metadata is used by browsers (how to display content or reload page), search engines (keywords), and other web services. There are several types of meta tags, but the most commonly used include:

Meta Title Tag

<title>Example Title</title>

This tag specifies the title of a webpage. It appears as the clickable headline in search engine results and is displayed on the browser’s title bar. It is recommended to have a unique title that accurately describes the content of the page. An unique title tag is important for SEO as it helps search engines better understand the content of the page, and increases the chances of the page appearing in relevant search results, which can lead to more organic website traffic.

Putting keywords in your title tag helps to improve your website’s visibility in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) since they are used in the same way search engines understand what a webpage is about. It also helps to improve user experience since it shows them what a web page is about before they click it, thus increasing the likelihood of them clicking it.

The optimal character length of a title tag is around 50-60 characters. Any more than that may be truncated by Google, preventing it from being fully visible in search results.

Meta Description Tag

<meta name=”description” content=”Example website that sells the best widgets”>

This description tag provides a brief summary or description of the webpage’s content. It is often displayed as the snippet of text below the title in search engine results. A well-crafted meta description can influence click-through rates by enticing users to visit the webpage.

The ideal length for a meta description tag is generally around 150-160 characters. While search engines like Google do not have a strict character limit for meta descriptions, they typically display up to 150-160 characters in the search results snippet.

Keep your description brief but descriptive, using language that will appeal to your target audience. Use keywords to help with SEO. Only use one meta description per page. Make sure the tag accurately describes the contents of the page; and consider writing a unique description for each page, rather than reusing them.

Meta Robots Tag

This tag instructs search engine crawlers on how to interact with a webpage. It can specify whether to index the page, follow links, or display snippets. Common values for this tag include “index/noindex” and “follow/nofollow”.

In the past, this tag was used to specify relevant keywords for search engines to associate with a webpage. However, search engines no longer rely on this tag for ranking purposes due to abuse and spamming. Therefore, it holds less importance today.

Meta information plays a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO) as it helps search engines understand and interpret the webpage’s content. By optimizing meta tags with relevant and appealing information, website owners can improve the chances of attracting relevant users and encouraging them to click on the webpage in search results.

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