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SEO: What Are Meta Tags and How Do You Use Them
Knowing the various elements of SEO will continue to help your overall ranking. Meta tags are a key element of the SEO process, and will have a significant hand in how well your content is going to be ranked on various search engines. This article will cover what are meta tags and how do you use them.
What are Meta Tags
Meta tags are a key element of SEO, and provide information about the webpage which is presented in the HTML of your content. Even though your meta data is not displayed on the page, it can be accessed by search engines and web crawlers. Therefore helping to increase your search ranking.
Search engines, and the likes of Google use the data from meta tags to understand any additional information about a webpage. The additional information can help a search engine to rank you above your competitors, and also present your content to the correct searching audience.
Types of Meta Tags
There are four types of meta tag in which you can use within your content. Some you will find are essential to every page and must always be present. Others are on more a flexible basis, but nevertheless, they are really important for SEO and using them properly is paramount. Some of the types of meta tags you may come across are as follows:-
The title tag is the most important meta tag that you will use on the page. Quite simply this is because it will be telling the user what they are viewing. Also, in terms of ranking this will have a big impact on how well you do on SEO. A title tag is also useful for PPC campaigns, as it is what searchers will see when they are presented with your content.
Meta Description Attribute
A meta description is very important, and potentially as equally important as a title tag. Meta descriptions tell the search engine and also the searchers what the article or content is about. You will sometimes see it displayed below the URL link on a search engine.
According to Google however, a meta description does not affect SEO. However if your content is a click through from the SERP then you may find that it can indirectly impact your rankings.
Meta Robots Attribute
This type of attribute you are telling the search engine what you would like done with your page. This is the beauty of SEO: you have the control over what you want to be shown on a search engine as well as the links you have within your content.
Index/noindex will tell the search engine whether to show your page result or not. This is useful if there is duplicate content on a page, and don’t want them to be cancelled out by search engines. Allowing you to rank higher.
Follow/nofollow is associated with the links on the page. This is related to not giving away unnecessary ‘link juice’ and maintaining your audience on your web page. If the links you put are not as ‘trusted’ then you may find this can go against you in your ranking.
Meta Content Type
A meta content tag is used to declare the character set for the page, and should be present on each and every page. If you do not include this tag on your page, you may find that there are issues with how the page renders in the future. A few examples are below. If you are not sure how to use them, then a web designer will have the necessary skills.
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″ />
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; c
Do Meta Tags Help SEO?
Yes, meta tags do help to improve SEO scores, and in turn can help to boost your ranking. However, not all the tags work at the same time, and can all work in different ways. It is important to remember the foundations of meta tags, and use the basics first. Which include the ones we have listed above.
Some best practises which may be good to implement when using meta tags are below. Creating this foundation means you should be using them in the correct way when writing any piece of content.
- Summarise content accurately
- Avoid generic descriptions
- Create something click worthy
- Include your target keywords
- Write a unique description for each page
Meta tags are a key element of SEO and cannot be ignored. Having the correct meta tags can have a really strong impact on rankings and the way content is perceived. Ensuring they are written correctly and are entered in the correct format will see the content quality increase, and your search ranking rise.