Semalt Explains What Meta Tags Are And How To Use Them
The definition of meta tags is known to all specialists in website positioning. However, the vast majority of Internet users are fundamentally unfamiliar with the concept of meta tags. In this article, we will define the concept of meta tags and discuss in detail the most important of them.
Meta tags - what are they?
We put meta tags in the <head> section of the website. The main task of meta tags is to provide search engine crawlers with the most important information about a given subpage on which they are implemented. Meta tags are also used by social media and web browsers. Most meta tags are not visible to the naked eye to the average user.
Some meta tags have a significant impact on SEO, which translates directly into the visibility of a given subpage in the SERPs (free search results) and its higher position. In this article, you will learn which meta tags to use and how.
Why use meta tags?
Meta tags contain useful information about the content of a given subpage. Some meta tags have a direct impact on how a given search result looks in organic results, additionally supporting marketing activities.
Meta tags also help determine which pages from a given domain should be indexed and which should not. Thanks to this, we have more control over what search engine robots put in the index and what will ultimately be presented to users.
Meta tags - examples
We already know what meta tags are and the advantages of using them. We will now go into the details and discuss the most important of them.
Page title - title
The title tag has a key impact on your website's position in organic results. In the source code, it is placed between the <title></title> tags. Properly constructed, it is often enough to achieve high positions for low-competition keywords. The title tag is also the first element that we pay attention to when viewing search results.
Below are some valuable tips on how to properly create exemplary meta titles:
- Be sure that each subpage on your website or online store has a unique title tag;
- At the beginning of the title tags, place keywords dedicated to the target page
- Avoid excess keywords in page titles (e.g. Shoes, Footwear, women's shoes, men's shoes, women's shoes, men's shoes - Shoe Store);
- At the end of the title, put the full or abbreviated name of the company;
- It is worth adding a CTA element that will encourage the user to click on your link (e.g. Men's watches | Check out the new collection | mysite.com);
- Try not to create titles longer than 60-70 characters, otherwise, the title of the page in the SERPs will be truncated and will not look good.
The meta description tag is a short description of the subpage that Google displays under the title and address of a page.
A meta description is not a ranking factor taken into account when determining the order of subpages in organic results, but ... well written (marketing/encouraging to click) it increases the CTR rate, which in turn translates into a higher position in search results. We should treat the meta description as an additional advertising space that should be fully used.
When creating an effective meta description, remember our valuable tips:
- Make sure that each subpage on the website has a unique description;
- Briefly describe the content of a given subpage - do not forget about its marketing nature;
- Place keywords - naturally changed by chance (if the user's searched keyword is in your meta description - it will be bolded and attract the user's attention, which in turn increases the chance of acquiring a new customer);
- Don't overdo it with keyword stuffing;
- Place a CTA element - encouraging the user to click on your link;
- Remember to keep the meta description between 150-155 characters;
- You can use an SEO tool like The Dedicated SEO Dashboard to generate the best keyword for your business.
Another tag, very important from the point of view of SEO and website positioning, is the meta robots tag. Thanks to its implementation, we can fully control which subpages will be indexed by search engine robots and which will not. However, remember that if you do not implement them - nothing will happen. Search engines will try to index all subpages on the website. The structure of this tag is as follows:
<meta name="robots" content="value">
The "value" field, in turn, may take the following elements:
- All - a directive for search engine robots that allows them to index a given subpage and "follow" all links that appear on a given subpage - equivalent to the value " index, follow ";
- Index - a given subpage can be indexed;
- Follow - search engine robots will "follow" the links on a given subpage;
- Noindex - the given subpage will not be indexed;
- Nofollow - search engine robots will not "follow" the links on a given subpage;
- Index, Nofollow - the page can be indexed, but the search engine robots will not "follow" the links;
- Noindex, Follow - the page will not be indexed, but search engine robots will "follow" the links;
- None - the page will not be indexed, and the robots will not "follow" the links - equivalent to noindex, nofollow.
Other meta tags worth getting acquainted with are meta keywords. Some time ago They were a very important element of code optimization in terms of SEO. The task of this tag is to present keywords relevant to a given subpage.
The structure of the meta keywords tag looks like this:
<meta name="Keywords" content="word 1, word 2, word 3, word 4,…">
Due to the very frequent abuse resulting from stuffing keywords in the keywords meta tag, it is no longer considered a ranking factor.
Verification tag - Google Search Console
The google-site-verification tag is used to verify your website in Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). This is one of the many website verification methods available. Its structure looks like this:
<meta name="google-site-verification" content="verification code" />
The function of the Unvailable_after tag is to exclude pages that are already out of date. The use of this meta tag will be useful primarily on pages with temporary offers or promotional contests.
The meta tag structure looks like this:
<meta name="googlebot" content="unavailable_after: data w formacie RFC 850 format.">
The function of the meta refresh tag is to automatically refresh the page and redirect the user and search engine robots to a different URL address.
The structure of the meta refresh tag is as follows:
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0"; url=http://www.example.com/" />
- The number "0" is the time in seconds after which the page refresh is to be performed;
- This is a simple method (but not recommended) to set up a redirect from address A to address B;
Syndication-source and Original-source
These tags are dedicated to the Google News platform and help to identify the original source of the content.
Previously, an active link to the original content had to be included to indicate the official source of information that was used to write the article. Dedicated meta tags can be used for a long time.
The syndication-source tag should be used in the following situations:
- When we publish a "reprinted" article - we insert the URL specifying the source of the information;
- When we publish a "reprinted" article, but we do not know the URL of the subpage - then we can only enter the domain;
- When we allow others to "reprint" our articles - in this case, you should inform other websites to place the same meta tag on their site;
- We use the original-source tag in the following situations:
- When we point to the source that published the information first;
The original-source tag can be used several times - specifying several sources in each of them.
Open Graph meta tags are based on a protocol thanks to which we can interfere with the presentation of our subpages on social networking sites. Thanks to their implementation, we have full control over how users of social networking sites see the content shared on our website.
Top OG tags:
- Og:title - specifies the title of the subpage. Its structure is as follows: <meta property="og:title" content="Subpage title" />;
- Og:url - a link to the website with the content responsible for the shared resource. Tag structure: <meta property="og:url" content=" https :// domain . com / contact " />;
- Og:type - specifying the type of content presented (article/website/image, etc.);
- Og:description - similar in functionality to the traditional meta description tag. Tag structure: <meta property="og:description" content="Description of your subpage" />;
- Og:image - select an image resource that will be displayed with a link to your website.
Advanced OG tags:
• Og:locale - defines the language of the site;
• Fb:app_id - used to connect the website to the Facebook application;
• Og:video and og:audio - used for additional media resources on the site.
A meta tag used to specify the encoding of a document. In other words, it defines how characters are stored in digital form on our website.
Meta charset structure:
<meta charset="utf-8" >
The Viewport meta tag determines how the page is displayed on mobile devices. It allows you to specify a scaling option - including the default zoom.
<meta name="viewport" content="...">
- Width, height - specify the width and height of the page area;
- Initial-scale - setting the default zoom for the page
- Minimum-scale, maximum-scale - directives specifying the minimum and maximum zoom, as well as zooming out of the page in the browser area.
- User-scalable - directives that allow you to enable or disable page scaling.
The function of the theme colour meta tag is to set the colour of the address bar and the notification bar on the user's phone.
meta theme colour
<meta name="theme-color" content="#A4916D">
It is worth using meta tags because they play an important role in website positioning. Their operation is not very difficult, you do not need an experienced programmer to use them, and they give many benefits. Thanks to them, we have full control over how our subpage looks in organic results, on mobile devices or social networking sites. Of course, there are elements that work better and worse. It is best to opt for testing in this matter. There are a lot of possibilities, and it depends only on you how users will perceive your website.