When meta tags are mentioned, two things usually come to mind: a concise description and keywords. Sure, these two are cornerstones of the meta tag optimization, but there’s more to it than the usual keyword use. As much as meta tags are common practice in SEO, a lot of sites misuse them.
The key here is to only add meta tags that you need. This tool might be a staple for every search marketer’s kit, but it can also sabotage your website’s footing if done wrong. When it comes to advanced meta tag codes, you don’t need to make it complicated. The less code the better it will be for your website.
So to guide you, here are some of the great, the good, and the ugly when it comes to meta tags:
These three are ones you shouldn’t go without:
Title. A unique title for every page is important to help Google recognize what your page is about. Usually, titles don’t start with “meta” per se, but it contains juicy details that play a vital part for your SEO.
Meta description. This part is important to catch the attention of your reader even before they click the page. Make it short and simple, around 160 characters will do. You need to sell the page without being too wordy.
Viewport. This is the make-or-break part of the mobile experience. If you don’t specify a viewport size, your website will look odd on mobile devices. Internet users don’t like that.
The following are good stuff that you should consider including:
Robots. Not all sites need the robot meta tag. If you want to change following and indexing commands, that’s the only time you’ll use a robot meta tag.
Social meta tags. Of course, you can share Twitter and OpenGraph data, but it doesn’t always stand as a staple. Use this tag only when necessary and if it will serve a specific purpose for your SEO.
Site verification. Once your website is verified by Google and Bing, there isn’t really a need to keep the verification tag on your homepage.
These are the stuff that you should avoid at all cost:
Expiration dates. What’s the sense of putting an expiration date on your page? If you have no use of it, just take it down. If it’s a page for a limited offer, just unpublish it once it’s done.
Writer/Author. There’s no need to put a separate tag just to name the author of the page. Even if it’s a popular person, it’s not common practice to exhaust this type of tag.
Revisit after. This tag is used so robots will return to the page after a specific timeframe. If you’re thinking of using it as a ranking factor, bad news, search engines don’t follow this type of command.
These are just a few of the meta tags you should be aware of. Use it wisely and never overdo your SEO.