The Ultimate Guide to SEO Meta Tags in 2022

Aug, 22 | 24 min read
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Optimizing things like your product descriptions and images may be part of your SEO strategy as an eCommerce entrepreneur. However, the meta tags of your web pages must be flawless for your work to be complete. They are essential for on-page SEO, so it's important to make sure you optimize your meta tags for both people and search engines.

The Ultimate Guide to SEO Meta Tags in 2022
Image from Unsplash by Edho Pratama

Search engine optimization meta tags are lines of text found in the source code of a website. In addition to describing the content of a page to Google, these pieces of text provide information to searchers.

Even though readers cannot find it on the page, it performs an essential function behind the scenes. The right implementation of meta tags can significantly improve your site's rankings and Click-Through Rate (CTR).

This article aims to instruct you about meta tags, how they work, and how to optimize them for optimum results. Let's get started!

Table of Contents

What Are Meta Tags

The meta tags describe the content of a page. You won't find them on the page but only in the source code of the page. It helps search engines understand the page's objective by describing the content.

In the context of search engine optimization, meta tags indicate how a web page should appear in search results, such as which keywords should be used to display it.

Meta tags also provide information to internet browsers regarding how to display content on a page. Good meta tags are essential for your content to appear in search results and on the actual page users see.

Importance Of Meta Tags

Meta tags provide more information about your website for search engines and website visitors in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). You can optimize search engines to make your website stand out in search results by highlighting the most critical elements of your content.

Why Are Meta Tags Important?
Source: https://www.metatags.org/

As search engines value a good user experience, you should ensure that your site meets as many user queries as possible. You can accomplish this by ensuring that meta tags provide searchers with concise and relevant information about your site.

Search engines use meta tags to determine which parts of your page are important and which can be ignored, depending on how you use them. A meta tag can make your site easier to navigate or tells search engines which parts are important.

How To Use Meta Tags

Although the head section does not appear on the page, it can be quite lengthy. There are a lot of different meta tags, and most of the usable tags in the head won't significantly improve your SEO.

Some may even cover up more important information, negatively impacting your SERP positioning. Let us look at a few types of meta tags and see how you can use them in your blogs.

Meta Title

This tag specifies a clickable title that you wish to appear on search engine results pages. Meta title tags act as document titles and convey a website's main topic. So search engines use it as part of their ranking algorithms and search snippets.

When Google creates search snippets, the title tag is typically used as the link for the title, but it may also use other HTML elements (such as header tags or internal anchor text).

Meta title tags allow you to persuade users to visit the site listed in search results. Therefore, keeping the user in mind when writing a title tag is always recommended. There should be a call to action, and you should include the most relevant keywords in the Meta title.

Here are some of our recommendations to make your page titles more descriptive and creative:

  • Ensure that each webpage has a title tag.
  • Be careful not to use long headlines (ideally under 60 characters).
  • Avoid generic and vague terms for homepage titles (like "Home" for the homepage).
  • Make use of a title case or sentence case.
  • Beware of clickbait titles.
  • Use a target keyword whenever possible.
  • Make sure your website's title tags are distinctive.

Meta Description

The meta description tag is similar to the title tag as it contains information useful to the search engine and the reader. It follows this general format:

<meta name=“description” content=“[your content]”>

Users should find the meta description helpful in understanding what they will find on the page. With about 160 characters available (including spaces), you can write a more enticing and informative description than the title.

The meta description should not include information not present on the page. Ideally, a marketing writer should write the draft for this meta tag rather than a developer.

Ensure your meta description is click-worthy and effective by following these best practices:

  • Make sure that it does not exceed 160 characters.
  • Provide separate summaries for each page.
  • Avoid using the same meta description on multiple websites.
  • Use sentence case.
  • Ensure that your description is accurate, straightforward, and precise.
  • Make sure your search intent matches.
  • Make sure you only include your target keyword in relevant places.

Meta Robots

A meta robot is a parameter or value added to an HTML tag that informs search engines whether you wish certain site sections to be indexed or crawled.

It is possible to put them together separated by commas or you can place them separately. Once you add the meta robots, you can automatically index all links and pages you create on your site's pages by crawlers and robots. You can instruct the crawlers not to index specific sections if needed.

It is standard for search bots and web crawlers to index the pages and links you add to your website. Here are some of the most commonly included parameters:

Index

An index instructs web crawlers to include the page in their index. When a page is indexed, it is accessible to people using search engines. By default, this is what happens if you don't change anything in the code.

Noindex

The noindex attribute instructs search engines not to add this webpage to their index, as a result, the page will not appear in search engine results.

The following is an example of robots meta tags indicating that crawlers should not index a page:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex"/>

Follow

This feature allows search engines to follow links on your web pages, directing readers to new pages. Similarly, if there are no parameters in the source code, this is what will be used by default.

NoFollow

It indicates to search engine bots that you don't endorse the links on the page and do not want them crawled. Some websites use it as a safety net to tell search engines that their links are not spammy.

NoArchieve

The "no archive" tag instructs search engines not to cache the page or show it in search results.

Alt Text

Optimizing your images has become an essential part of modern SEO, as it provides an additional opportunity to rank in the search results by presenting your visuals more appealingly.

You should ensure that your images are accessible to both search engines and humans. The alt text on an image can serve as an alternative to an image that will appear if the image cannot load or if a screen reader cannot display the image. Moreover, it can provide search engines with information about what the image represents.

The alt text for your image can contain keywords, but only if it is relevant. Do not overuse keywords in your alt text, as this will negatively impact the user experience for your visitors with accessibility requirements.

Consider alt text when describing visual content. This is an excellent method for anyone looking to increase the visibility of your images within search engines, as it also helps people to learn more about you and your images.

Let us look at some best practices for using alt text:

  • You may wish to optimize the images on your site that appear most frequently on Google Images (such as product images, infographics, and training images).
  • It's important to keep the alt text precise, descriptive, and relevant so that your keywords fit naturally with the page's overall content.

Header Tag

An important aspect of semantic search is the HTML header tag because it provides Google with crucial contextual information for understanding a site's content and structure.

The Google Bot utilizes header tags such as (*H1>, *H2>, *H3>, or so on) to evaluate a page's relevance and layout. So it is important to ensure that HTML header meta tags are used properly.

The hierarchy of your header tags (from h1 to h6) highlights the importance of each section. As a general rule, h1 tags indicate the page title or headline, whereas h2 tags and below serve as subheadings.

While header tags are important, quality is more important than quantity. Having five different headings on a page will not benefit your search engine optimization. So you should use them strategically to introduce each section's main point and break up your content.

Meta Refresh Redirect

Users can use the meta refresh redirects tag to specify a time interval after which a search engine should refresh a page.

Here is an example of a meta tag that indicates the search engine should refresh the content or a page every six seconds:

<meta-HTTP-equiv="refresh" content="6">

Additionally, you can use meta tags to redirect a browser to another URL for a specified amount of time.

Here is an example of a meta tag that redirects users to https://www.babc.com after five seconds:

<meta-HTTP-equiv="refresh" content="5;url=https://www.babc.com">

Canonical Tag

If you have identical pages, you may need to tell search engines which of your pages to prioritize. Besides, you may also have syndicated content on your website that has been republished elsewhere. Using a canonical tag will prevent you from incurring a penalty for duplication of content.

In contrast to confusing Google and losing your ranking on the search engine results pages, you guide the crawlers to your site's main URL. As a result, the correct URL is highlighted, ensuring a good SEO score.

This is an example of a canonical tag in HTML:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/" />

Viewport Meta Tag

Viewports are the areas of the webpage that are visible to users. Your content may appear differently depending on the reader's device, with laptops and mobile devices being two common choices.

Since 48.6% of internet searches occur on mobile devices, the viewport meta tag has become an important SEO practice. This tool allows web developers to address the size and scale of content on a website, enabling it to be mobile-friendly.

Browsers like Chrome and Firefox use viewport meta tags to display a webpage on different screen sizes, such as desktop, tablet, and mobile.

Let us look at an example of a viewport meta tag:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

Optimizing Your Meta Tags

The use of meta tags can be beneficial to both search engines and users. They can present your business information more effectively and improve the user experience. As a result, you enjoy a higher ranking, enhanced authority, and improved search presence.

This checklist is a quick and easy way to check the performance of your meta tags:

  • Make sure all of your pages and content have title tags and meta descriptions.
  • Consider how you structure your content and your headings more carefully.
  • Be sure to provide alt text for your images.
  • Use robot meta tags to assist search engines in getting the most out of your content.
  • Make sure you are not using duplicate or identical content on your website and dragging down your own content. Keep your own content away from cannibalization by using canonical tags.
  • Create a checklist so that you remember to use the right meta tags whenever you create new content.

Wrapping Up

A meta tag is a powerful HTML element that significantly increases your SEO campaign's success.

Certain tags enable you to control how your content appears in search engine results or on social media platforms, while others modify the behavior of browsers and crawlers on your site. You can increase your rankings and CTR by properly defining your meta tags and implementing them correctly.

This comprehensive guide covered the most important meta tags you need to know about to start your SEO campaign. Are you still concerned about getting a higher SERP ranking? Let RankToday help you.

RankToday will outline your SEO goals and craft a long-term SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaign to ensure maximum visibility for your website. Sign up and double the traffic to your website today!

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