SEO meta tags are an essential part of your optimization strategy.
They provide search engines with information about your website and can help improve your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
This post will discuss what meta tags are and how to use them to improve your SEO.
We will also provide some tips on how to optimize your meta tags for better results.
Table of contents
What Are SEO Meta Tags?
Meta tags are HTML tags that provide information about a website.
Search engines use them to index and rank websites.
Meta tags can be used to improve your SEO in two ways:
- By providing information about your website to search engines
- By helping you to target specific keywords on SERPs
They are usually placed in the “head” section of a website’s HTML code.
Here’s an example of meta tags used on this blog post:
And here’s how it looks on search engine results:
There are four major types of meta tags:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Robots meta tags
- Meta keywords
Each type of meta tag serves a different purpose.
In order to optimize your SEO, it is important to understand how each type of meta tag can be used.
1. Title Tags
Title tags are the most important type of meta tag.
They are used to tell search engines what your website is about.
Title tags should be placed in the “head” section of your HTML code and should include your target keyword.
Here’s an example of a title tag for this blog post:
The title tag includes the target keyword (“Blog Post SEO”) and tells search engines what the blog post is about.
Title tags are important because they are used in three key places:
- Web browsers
- Social Networks
Title tags are the first thing that users notice on SERPs.
They are also the most important factor in determining your click-through rate (CTR).
That’s why it’s important to make sure that your title tags are descriptive, accurate, and keyword-rich.
Title tags also play a role in how your website is displayed in web browsers.
The text in your title tag is typically used as the title of your page in the tabbed browsing interface.
When you share a link on social media, the title tag is often used as the title of your post.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that your title tags are interesting and engaging.
Keep in mind that social networks like Facebook and Twitter have their own meta tags that give you the opportunity to display a different title than the one used in your page’s code.
Improving Your Title Tags
So, how can you write a better title tag?
Here are some important tips for writing a title tag that can help you increase your organic CTR:
- Pay attention to title length
- Match the content description
- Don’t spam too many keywords
- Write a unique title tag for each page
- Mention your brand name
- Use attractive words
Pay Attention to Title Length
Search engines only show the first 66 characters of a title tag, so keeping your titles short and sweet is important.
While there’s no magic number for the perfect length of a title tag, you should aim for around 50-60 characters.
This will ensure that your titles are readable and clickable in the search results.
Here’s an example of a title tag that’s too long:
And here’s an example of a title tag that’s the perfect length:
And the content is so useful, that Google decided to reward it with a featured snippet position on search results.
Match the Content Description
Your title tags should match the content on your page.
If you’re targeting a certain keyword, make sure that keyword is included in your title tag.
This helps search engines understand what your page is about and can result in higher organic CTR.
For example, you can’t use a title tag that says “Best SEO Tips” with content that is about social media marketing.
This confuses search engines and can impact negatively your organic CTR.
So, make sure your title tags accurately reflect the content on your pages.
Don’t Spam Too Many Keywords
Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO tactic that should be avoided at all costs.
It involves cramming as many keywords into your title tag as possible in an attempt to rank higher in the search results.
Not only does this look spammy, but it can also decrease your organic CTR and can even get you penalized by Google.
So, make sure to use your target keyword sparingly in your title tags.
A good rule of thumb is to use it once or twice at most.
Write a Unique Title Tag for Each Page
Each page on your website should have its own unique title tag.
This helps search engines understand what each page is about and can result in higher organic CTR.
For example, if you have a blog post with the title “10 SEO Tips”, you shouldn’t use the same title tag for a product page on your website.
Instead, use a unique title tag that accurately reflects the content on each page to avoid duplicate titles.
Mention Your Brand Name
Your brand name is an important part of your title tag.
Make sure to include it in all of your title tags, as it can help increase brand awareness and can result in higher organic CTR.
For example, take a look at how Moz includes its brand name in its title tags:
Use Attractive Words
Your title tags should be attractive and make people want to click on them.
This means using powerful words that evoke emotion and create a sense of urgency.
For example, words like “best”, “top”, “secret”, and “free” are examples of attractive words that can help increase organic CTR.
2. Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are used to provide a brief description of your website.
They should be placed in the “head” section of your HTML code and should include your target keyword.
While meta descriptions don’t directly affect your organic CTR, they can influence whether or not people click on your result.
This is because the meta description is what appears in the search results below your title tag.
If your meta description is well-written, it can entice people to click on your result over others.
Here’s an example of a good meta description:
As you can see, this meta description is well-written and includes the target keyword.
It also provides a brief overview of what the website is about.
This can help increase organic CTR by enticing people to click on the result.
How to Improve Your Meta Descriptions?
Here are some actionable tips that will help you write better meta descriptions:
- No more than 155 characters
- Use your keyword
- Use the active voice
- Include a call to action
- Show details, when possible
- Make it unique
No More Than 155 Characters
Meta descriptions should be no more than 155 characters.
This is because anything beyond that will be cut off in the search results.
While it may be tempting to stuff as much information into your meta description as possible, it’s important to keep it short and sweet.
Use Your Keyword
Your meta description should include your target keyword.
This helps search engines understand what your page is about and can also help increase organic CTR.
Use the Active Voice
Your meta description should be written in the active voice.
This means using words like “you”, “I”, and “we” to create a more personal connection with the reader.
For example, take a look at how the active voice is used in this meta description:
As you can see, the use of the word “you” creates a more personal connection with the reader.
This can help increase organic CTR by making people more likely to click on your result.
Include a Call to Action
Your meta description should include a call to action.
This helps increase organic CTR by telling people what they should do next.
For example, you could include a call to action like “click here to learn more” or “visit our website to learn more”.
Show Details, When Possible
If possible, try to include details in your meta description.
This helps give people a better idea of what they can expect from your website and can result in higher organic CTR.
For example, take a look at how this meta description includes details:
As you can see, this meta description includes details about the product.
This helps give people a better idea of what they can expect from the website and can result in higher organic CTR.
Make It Unique
Your meta description should be unique to each page on your website.
This helps search engines understand what each page is about and can also help increase organic CTR.
Further Reading: 11 Easily Implementable SEO Tips for Beginners
3. Robots Meta Tags
Robots meta tags are used to tell search engines what they should do with a particular page.
They should be placed in the “head” section of your HTML code and they are based on two attributes:
The name attribute of the robots meta tag is used to specify the search engine that should follow the directives.
For example, “Googlebot” is the name for Google’s web crawler.
Like Googlebot, there are several user-agents, but the most popular ones are:
The content attribute of the robots meta tag is used to specify the directive for the search engine.
There are different directives, but the most known are:
The “all” directive is the most common and tells search engines to index and follow the links on a particular page.
The “noindex” directive tells search engines not to index a particular page. This is often used on pages that are not relevant to the website or that are duplicates of other pages.
The “nofollow” directive tells search engines not to follow the links on a particular page. It can be used on pages that contain paid links or that are designed to increase link popularity.
The “noarchive” directive tells search engines not to save a cached copy of a particular page. Use this on pages that are frequently updated or that contain sensitive information.
The “nosnippet” directive tells search engines not to show a snippet for a particular page. For example, on pages that contain sensitive information.
The “noimageindex” directive tells search engines not to index the images on a particular page.
The “notranslate” directive tells search engines not to translate a particular page. It is often used on pages that are designed for a specific audience or that contain sensitive information.
The “unavailable_after:” directive tells search engines when a particular page will expire. Use this one for pages that are temporary or that contain sensitive information.
Further Reading: 11 Actionable Link Building Strategies For 2022 and Beyond
4. Meta Keywords
Meta keywords are used to provide a list of keywords that are relevant to your website.
They should be placed in the “head” section of your HTML code and should include your target keyword.
You need to know that meta keywords no longer affect your rankings. In fact, Google has stopped using them since 2009.
However, they can still be used for other purposes, such as:
- Create an internal tagging system
- Find keywords from competitors
Further Reading: The 15 Best Rank Tracker Tools to Rock Your SEO in 2022
Create an Internal Tagging System
You can use meta keywords to create an internal tagging system for your website.
This can help you keep track of the keywords that are relevant to your website and can also help you find new keywords.
It is also useful to prevent keyword cannibalization.
Find Keywords from Competitors
You can use meta keywords to find keywords from competitors.
For example, if you want to target the keyword “dog toys”, you could use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to find competing websites that are targeting that keyword.
Once you have a list of competitor websites, you can use a paid SEO tool to find the meta keywords they are using.
This can give you a good idea of the keywords you should be targeting.
That’s it! You now know the basics of SEO meta tags and how to optimize them for your website.
Remember to keep your meta tags up-to-date and relevant to the content on your website.
And if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!
Hero Photo by Keila Hötzel on Unsplash
Erik Emanuelli is a digital marketer and the founder of several successful niche websites. If you want to learn more about how to build an online business, be sure to check out his website!