Meta Tags: What You Need to Know for SEO

Meta-tags are the most fundamental part of SEO and ensuring that your website pages have a good and solid optimization foundation.

These are the tags you add to your page header to describe the page using syntax that Google understands.

And when it comes to SEO, more often than not, best practices for meta tags are ignored while others take precedence.

Sometimes things like content and links can take precedence over things like meta tags. That’s understandable, because content and links can be more important.

But making sure you optimize these tags correctly can help significantly in how Google understands your page.

For example, a quality meta description can mean the difference between poor website performance in search engine results pages (SERPs) and better website performance, especially in terms of a website’s click-through rate (CTR).

Making sure you include important meta tags can still get results. It all depends on how you use them.

What Are Meta Tags?


Meta tags provide information about the website in the HTML of the page.

Search engines use these pieces of code to help determine what the page is about, and how relevant it is to the keyword being searched for.

Although this data is not visible to visitors, it plays a role in determining where a website appears in search results.

One important meta tag you want to focus on is the page title: the blue link that appears at the top of the snippet in the search results.

Another important tag you may want to focus on is the meta description, which is often used to show page descriptions in search results.

For example, suppose you are looking for a product such as a computer. In that case, the manufacturer’s description of that product (at least, the one they added to the page) may appear in the paragraph snippet below the page title in the search results.

Screenshot of a search for [computers], Google, October 2022

Getting Started With Meta Tags

Meta tags are one of the first things you see in a site audit report. They appear in the header above the page content and provide important information about a page.

The first step to understanding what meta tags do is knowing why you would use them.

You may want to include certain words in the description of your product or service, such as price range, features, size, etc., and you could use the keywords meta tag to help describe that.

Or maybe you want to let people know where your website is located, such as a city, state or country. You could use the location meta tag.

If you’re writing a blog post, you might want to add a category meta tag to help others find it.

Here are just a few examples of what meta tags can achieve.

There are many different types of meta tags, including title, description, keyword, image alt text, robots, language, and even schema markup.

This article focuses on the most common ones; in particular, descriptions and keywords.

Why Meta Tags Are Important For SEO

When it comes to SEO, meta tags are extremely important. Maybe not as important as content or links, but still, they are very important to the overall optimization process.

Better title tags can mean the difference between the success or failure of your page.

Having empty meta tags (such as an empty title or meta description) can mean that Google will choose what it thinks are the best ones for your page. Its algorithm is not perfect and could possibly create less than what you want to see.

That’s why it’s important to make sure you include at least a physical page title and description for your page. Otherwise, you’ll let Google’s algorithm pick it.

Page Title Tags

The page title tag is the main descriptive element of your page.

Your title tag is the one thing everyone sees when they come across your website in Google search results.

That is why it is essential to ensure that it accurately reflects the content of the page. If you’re writing a blog post, you want to make sure the page title accurately reflects the content of the post.

You want people to know exactly where they are and what they’re looking at.

While some websites are still very good despite having bad title tags, others don’t seem to care much about the title tag.

Why do some sites not spend as much effort on the title tag while others continue with their normal optimization? Well, it seems to depend on the type of site. Some sites focus heavily on video, while others focus heavily on text. Some sites focus on a specific topic, while others cover multiple topics.

There are many different reasons why a site might choose not to put effort into its title tags. However, the truth is that having a quality title tag can be a great deciding factor in how Google understands your page.

If you’re building a brand new website, you probably won’t need to worry too much about SEO efforts on your title tag. However, once your website starts getting traffic, you’ll want to track things like bounce and conversion rates.

By tracking those metrics, you’ll be able to determine if the title tag is really impacting your performance, and where to go from there in terms of how to better optimize it.

Google’s Search Essentials documentation explains the following about page title best practices and how to influence them in search results correctly:

What Else Has Google Said About Page Titles?

Aside from their Search Basics, there are several things that Google has mentioned about page titles that should be observed.

“We use it for ranking, but it’s not the most critical part of a page. So it’s not worth stuffing it with keywords to hope it works that way. In general, we try to recognize when a title tag is full of keywords because that is also a bad user experience for users in the search results. If they’re looking to understand what these pages are about and they’re seeing a bunch of keywords, then that’s not really helping.” – John Mueller, Google 2016

“I would write natural titles, the way you would want them to appear in search, and how you would want to present them to users. Slash (separators) is fine & can perform well anywhere.” – John Mueller, Google 2020

“Of all the ways we generate titles, content from HTML title tags is still the most likely to be used, more than 80% of the time.” – Google Search Central Blog, 2021

“If your document appears on a search results page, the content of the title tag may appear in the first line of results.” – Google, 2020

“We introduced a new system of generating titles for web pages. Prior to this, titles could change based on the published query. Generally this will no longer happen with our new system. This is because we think our new system produces titles that work better for documents in general, to describe what they mean, regardless of the specific query.” – Google Search Central Blog, 2021

Meta Description Tags

Another meta tag that is important for SEO is the meta description tag.

This is the very short paragraph below the page title in the search results. As long as you use a more accurate description than what you can find from the content on the page, Google will use it.

This meta tag is not much of something used for ranking. Instead, it is something that is used to attract and inform users about the page in general.

It creates a short and relevant summary of what that particular web page is really about. In its simplest form, this is basically a sales pitch for your website. It is meant to convince the user that your page is exactly what they are looking for.

Google explains that there is no limit to the length of the meta description and that it truncates the snippet on the SERPs as needed – and this is usually done based on device width.

Best Practices For Writing Meta Descriptions

Despite the apparent lack of ranking control, writing meta descriptions is still an important part of any SEO professional’s arsenal. This can mean the difference between a significant CTR from the SERPs, rather than substandard CTRs.

That’s why it makes sense to make page titles and meta descriptions the focus of your own SEO efforts whenever you’re optimizing a page.

Google Search Basics explains what it looks for in meta descriptions.

Note that meta descriptions should be visible on the web page. If they are not visible, Google will ignore them in 99% of cases.

Make Sure That Every Meta Description On Your Site Is Unique

Google explains that identical, and even similar, meta descriptions on multiple website pages are not helpful when these pages appear in the SERPs.

He recommends that SEO pros create meta descriptions that are unique and accurately describe the specific page.

On the main home page (or aggregation pages), he also recommends that you use site-level descriptions and then use page-level descriptions on all other page types.

Ensure That Your Description Includes Relevant Information About The Content

Google recommends including relevant information in the meta description that reflects the actual page.

For news and blog posts, he explains that these meta descriptions can list the author, publication date, and byline information that would not otherwise be displayed.

In addition, product pages could be included that have specific information scattered throughout the page that could be helpful to users here as well.

Google adds that any great meta description can provide all the relevant information a user might need to decide to visit that particular page.

Automatically Generating Meta Descriptions

It is possible to generate your web page meta descriptions programmatically. (Not only possible, but Google encourages doing so in its Search Essentials documentation.)

This is especially true for larger websites with thousands of pages.

Google does not expect the average user to be able to manually write meta descriptions on larger websites. He still recommends making sure these meta descriptions are varied and human-readable.

For example, don’t assume that you can programmatically create terrible quality meta descriptions and expect to have a good day from an SEO perspective.

He also recommends avoiding long strings of keywords in the meta descriptions – don’t do that here, either!

Make Sure Your Meta Descriptions Are Of High Enough Quality

Google’s recommendations also highlight the quality of meta descriptions. He also wants to see significantly high quality here – and make sure your meta descriptions are actually descriptive.

What Else Has Google Said About Meta Descriptions?

The Google Search Basics documentation is a good start, but they don’t contain all the information Google might consider.

The following is a compilation of what Google has said elsewhere on the web about meta descriptions:

“You have to balance your time and think is it worth it to like go through a hundred thousand pages and write a new description or should I keep this in mind when I make new pages and not worry so much about this limit of a hundred and sixty characters or whatever it used to be because I think especially when we make changes like this they tend to go back and forth a little bit until we figure it out the right balance.” – John Mueller, 2017

“It is not true that changing your descriptions or making them longer or shorter or tweaking them or putting keywords in them will affect your website’s ranking.” – John Mueller 2017

“Because meta descriptions are usually only visible to search engines and other software, webmasters sometimes forget about them, leaving them completely blank. It is also common, for the same reason, for the same meta description to be used across multiple (and sometimes many) pages. On the flip side, it’s also relatively common for the description to be completely off-topic, low-quality, or outright spam. These issues tarnish our users’ search experience, so we prefer to ignore such meta descriptions.” – Google 2017

“Remember that we adjust the description based on the user’s query. So if you do a website query and see this in your search results for your website it’s not necessarily what a normal user would see when they see a search as well.” – John Mueller, Google 2017

How To Add A Meta Robots Tag To Your Page

The robots meta tag allows you to control the indexing and crawling of your pages. In short, this allows you to take advantage of a more granular approach to managing the indexing of individual pages.

It is important to note that this setting can only be read and followed when the page itself is crawled and accessible to Google.

For example, don’t think that rejecting a page and not indexing it will benefit you.

While there are situations where Google might ignore the robots.txt file, you want to make sure that, in most cases, you allow crawling and indexing of the page so that Google can physically observe that particular rule .

The code snippet above shows how to add the robots meta tag to your pages.

In the general page code structure, this should be added to the top of the page, within the code, between the start and end tags.

How To Add A Meta Viewport Tag To Your Page

The viewport meta tag is an important part of meta tags that are added to the page and it is about making sure that your website is a fully responsive website design.

In short, this meta tag gives the browser specific instructions on how to render your page on a mobile device. This tag also shows Google that the page itself is mobile friendly.

Setting The Viewport

In general, the rule is to include the viewport meta tag on every page you want to optimize for a mobile device. The parameters in this tag control the dimensions and scaling attributes of the page.

First, mobile browsers will render a page at the desktop screen width (at least, around 980px, but this can vary across devices).

Then, they will try to make the content appear better by adjusting it to fit the screen and increasing the font size.

As a result, this may mean that font sizes may appear inconsistent to different users. To remedy this, one could possibly use a system font instead.

The following screenshot shows how to include and configure the viewport meta tag within your code:

How To Add The Meta Charset Tag To Your Web Page

The charset meta tag is a tag that allows you to define a specific character encoding for your page. This tag is important because it helps provide the medium the browser uses to output characters to text.

If you do not have the character set tag defined, a browser may output garbage text due to this lack of understanding of the input text. Without this tag, the browser must quickly make an uninformed guess.

Although not hugely important in terms of SEO ranking factors, it is important if you want to ensure that your page is as cross-browser and cross-platform as possible.

If you don’t add it, it’s not the end of the world. The HTML5 specification includes UTF-8 character encoding by default.

But, if you want to use another type of character encoding for your page – for whatever reason – then, by all means, you might want to seriously consider adding this tag in those situations.

No Sitelinks Search Box Meta Tag

Did you know that specific meta tags can help you control the appearance of your search results?

One such meta tag is the no sitelinks search box meta tag:

If, for some reason, you don’t want the sitelinks search box to appear on the Google SERPs, then you can use this meta tag to remove it.

Here’s how you would implement the nositelinkssearchbox meta tag on pages where you don’t want the search box to appear:

Screenshot of a search for [pinterest], Google, October 2022

Again, this would be added between the header and footer tags of your page.

Adding a simple meta tag can increase clicks from Google Discover by 300%. Here is the code snippet:

Meta Tags Are An Important Part Of SEO

There are those who believe that meta tags are a distant third or fourth on the tier of responsibilities when it comes to optimizing your web pages.

But, when it comes to achieving higher rankings, optimizing your meta tags correctly can sometimes put you ahead.

Don’t think of them as the be-all and end-all of your SEO efforts; rather, they are more supplementary in nature.

Make sure you keep updating your meta tags as needed. For example, if your pages change, you don’t want to have a different page title and meta description than the content reflected on the page.

You also don’t want to have meta tags that are substandard in quality.

In the end, you want to make sure you have some focus on optimizing these tags – because they can take a page from average to great.

Featured Image: BestForBest/Shutterstock

Meta tags are invisible tags that provide data about your page to search engines and website visitors. In short, they make it easier for search engines to determine what your content is about, and are therefore essential for SEO.

Do meta keywords Matter 2022?

Suffice it to say; you shouldn’t be spending any time adding meta keywords to your website in 2022. Google doesn’t use them to determine ranking signals, and they don’t provide any added value to users – making them obsolete in SEO.

Does keyword density matter in 2022? Keyword density isn’t that important for SEO as and most experts don’t think it’s even a ranking factor anymore. While keyword stuffing is still bad for your website, the right keyword density level doesn’t seem to provide any benefit.

Do meta descriptions matter anymore?

So the short answer is: yes, meta descriptions are and still are important for SEO, but carefully creating a 160 character meta tag for every page of your website may not be as important as we thought it would be. thought at one time.

Do meta descriptions matter?

Meta descriptions are still important. They play an important role in helping you both improve your organic search visibility and receive more targeted website traffic.

Are meta description still relevant 2022?

No, Google has not used the meta keywords tag since 2009. Suffice it to say; you shouldn’t be spending any time adding meta keywords to your website in 2022. Google doesn’t use them to determine ranking signals, and they don’t provide any added value to users making them obsolete in SEO.

Are meta tags still relevant?

âThe answer is still no. We do not use the keyword meta tag content in Google Search.â For people who do not know what keyword meta tags are, here is a quick explanation. Keyword meta tags can be placed in a page’s HTML to help search engines understand the overall context of the page.

Are keywords still relevant 2022?

The answer here is a resounding one: Keywords still provide value by providing traffic, conversions, visibility and sales in prime positions.

Is SEO still relevant in 2022?

The fact that SEO works perfectly fine even in 2022 as a means of achieving better commercial results for business websites and their owners, along with the need for ongoing research into what works, makes it still relevant as a digital marketing method, but even more so as a valuable and worthwhile service…

How SEO will change in 2022?

By 2022, expect SEO sites to be more competitive with providing high-quality content that is useful to internet users. Content that only tries to fish for their audience by linking to unnecessary sources will not be effective as it is today.

Are keywords still relevant?

The Importance of Keywords in 2022 Keywords are essential to your content marketing because they give you the ability to improve the user experience and organic search engine rankings of your website or blog. They include details about a business, such as products, services, benefits and education.

Are meta keywords still relevant?

No. âOur web search (the well-known search at that hundreds of millions of people use every day) completely ignores keyword metatags. They simply do not have any effect in our search position at the moment.â Why did Google start to disregard the meta keywords tag?

Are meta keywords obsolete?

Although it is one of the most outdated SEO tactics, people still ask about meta keywords, and whether they are still “worth doing, just in case”. The short answer is no, but read on to learn why they are no longer needed. Although it is one of the most outdated SEO tactics, people still ask for meta keywords.

Do meta keywords Matter 2022?

Suffice it to say; you shouldn’t be spending any time adding meta keywords to your website in 2022. Google doesn’t use them to determine ranking signals, and they don’t provide any added value to users making them obsolete in SEO.

Are meta keywords relevant?

Relevance to search engine optimization Meta keywords are only considered relevant by search engines in a few cases. Google does not use the keywords listed in the meta area of ​​a website for ranking. Even Yahoo and Bing use them only to a limited extent for the hierarchy of search results.

Do meta tags affect SEO?

Meta tags are important for SEO because they make sure search engines know what your content is about. Based on these tags, search engines will be able to display the website in the appropriate results. This way, people can find you easily.

How do meta tags improve SEO? Meta tags for SEO are key because they tell search engines what a page is about…. Here are some good tips for writing a title tag:

  • Keep your title tag under 60 characters if possible.
  • Add words that indicate what your content is about, such as âHow to,âReview,âBest,âTips,âHow to,âTop,ââFind,â or âBuyâ

Do tags Impact SEO?

By themselves, categories and tags are not essential for SEO. However, they can affect other elements that influence your search engine rankings, such as your website’s overall user experience (UX). For example, contrary to popular belief, WordPress tags do not work like hashtags on social media.

Does tagging help SEO?

It can improve your SEO. When you tag your images with descriptive keywords, it helps Google and other search engines understand what the image is about.

What is tagging in SEO?

Tag Description: Meta Description A tag is a significant part of a web page to be optimized and appears as the second line in search engine results pages. It essentially gives the visitor a brief description of your web page and sets their potential.

Do meta tags still matter?

So the short answer is: yes, meta descriptions are and still are important for SEO, but carefully creating a 160 character meta tag for every page of your website may not be as important as we thought it would be. thought at one time.

Are meta tags obsolete?

Google confirms that Keyword Meta Tags are obsolete.

Is meta tags still important?

This is why meta tags can still boost your website’s SEO. They affect Google’s index of your website. Meta tags enable Google to understand the content of your pages so they can appear in relevant searches. Meta tags can boost your keyword ranking.

Does Google still use meta tags?

Get organized with Cadw collections and categorize content based on your preferences. Google supports page-level meta tags and inline directives to help control how your website pages will appear in Google Search.

How can I improve my SEO tags?

Keep your title tag under 60 characters if possible. Add words that indicate what your content is about, such as âHow to,â Review, âBest,âTips,âHow to,âTop,ââFind,â or âBuyâ Use long tail keywords, or keywords with 4 words, like âis my website mobile friendlyâ or âhow to make a mobile friendly websiteâ